Coughlin can relate to Jacobs' desire for more carries

May, 26, 2011
5/26/11
5:31
PM ET
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- When Brandon Jacobs was complaining last season about not getting the ball enough, the one person in the Giants’ organization who could feel his pain was Tom Coughlin.

Really.

Coughlin played wing back for Syracuse in the mid-1960s, and his backfield mates were Floyd Little and Larry Csonka, both of whom went on to Hall-of-Fame careers.

Obviously, Coughlin wasn’t No. 1 or No. 2 as a running option, and that drove him crazy, according to Little.

The reason we bring this up is because Little was introduced Thursday at his alma mater the new special assistant to the athletic director. After his press conference, the affable Little talked about his old teammate and close friend. In fact, they saw each other over the weekend at Coughlin’s charity golf tournament in Jacksonville.

“Tom used to come into the huddle and say, ‘When am I going to carry the ball?’” Little said. “The same answer always came back: Why would we let you carry the ball when we have me and Csonka back here? Are you crazy?”

Coughlin used to get so angry in the huddle, Little said, that it was noticed by the defense, tipping off the play. It’s funny to think of Coughlin, who burns when his current players whine, in that light.

Little said Syracuse’s bread-and-butter play in those days was “Scissors 44,” a chance for the wing back to carry the ball. One problem: When legendary coach Ben Schwartzwalder called it, he usually ordered the backs to switch places.

Coughlin fumed.

“You knew he wasn’t carrying the ball,” Little said with a laugh, “because he was always mad.”

Somewhere, Brandon Jacobs has to be smiling.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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