Casting ‘FNL’ With Real Characters of College Football
The recently finished “Friday Night Lights” TV show about high school football in Texas might not have scored big with ratings, but it has a cult following that might just lead to a big-screen version (yes, another one). That got us to thinking: If the parts were cast with real members of college football, who would snare the biggest roles? We examine.
Eric Taylor is ... Will Muschamp
This is a no-brainer. Not only does Muschamp look like actor Kyle Chandler, the new Florida head coach and Taylor are legendary for their white-hot tempers and tough love. After earning their stripes in Texas, both have left the state in shocking fashion, with Muschamp leaving as head-coach-in-waiting at Texas for Florida this offseason and Taylor off to Philadelphia.
Tami Taylor is ... Layla Kiffin
Hey, y’all. The wife of USC head coach Lane Kiffin, Layla has turned heads since her husband was named the head man at Tennessee in 2008, appearing all over the internet as fans drool over her. That’s a perfect fit for the role of Tami Taylor played by Connie Britton; grown men go gaga over her and the players can’t help notice that the coach’s wife is hotter than their girlfriends.
Julie Taylor is ... Nicki Meyer
Just like Taylor, Meyer is the coach’s daughter who the players can’t help but notice. However, they both get themselves caught up in a bit of controversy - albeit for different reasons. Meyer has been in the news for having her father’s back when it comes to coaching rumors. “Stop txting me abt my dad. HE IS NOT repeat NOT, GOING TO OHIO STATE. thanks,” she tweeted earlier this year. Taylor, well, she’s had an affair with a married TA and was known for acting like a brat.
Tim Riggins is ... Trent Fisher
Fisher, the son of former NFL head coach Jeff Fisher, is a walk-on redshirt freshman safety at Auburn, where he reportedly has impressed coaches. Riggins is the bad-boy running back for the fictional Dillon Panthers. But here’s what makes this different: Fisher and Riggins are dead ringers for one another, making it much easier for us in central casting. But let’s hope that in real life Fisher doesn’t act how Riggins does off the field.
Jason Street is ... Andrew Luck
Yes, the two “Golden Boys.” Street had it all as the star player at Dillon and the fiancee of Lyla Garrity. But after he was paralyzed during a game in his senior year, Street had it all taken away. He helped coach the Panthers and had an interest in quad rugby in the meantime. Hopefully Stanford’s Luck, who is the consensus top QB in the nation for 2011, stays injury-free in his senior year before going first overall in the 2012 NFL draft.
Matt Saracen is ... Ryan Tannehill
Saracen was always overlooked and under-appreciated. During his time on “FNL,” Saracen split his time between quarterback and wide receiver for the Panthers after getting benched in favor of J.D. McCoy. For his part, Tannehill moved to wide receiver after losing the starting QB job to Jerrod Johnson. But when Johnson was benched last season, Tannehill led Texas A&M to a 6-1 finish. All Saracen and Tannehill needed was a chance.
Vince Howard is ... Robert Griffin III
The parallels aren’t exact here, but we like where this is going for the two Texas natives. While Howard never played football before joining the Panthers, Griffin has played as if he was born to play quarterback for Baylor. A dual-threat QB for the Bears, Griffin is the offense in Waco, where the former track star shows off his other-worldly athletic talent. And that’s what reminds us of Howard, who was so talented athletically that he overcame his lack of experience.
“Smash” Williams is ... LaMichael James
“Smash” reminds us of James, the cat-quick running back who also hails from Texas and helped Oregon reach last season’s BCS Championship Game. At 5-foot-8, 185 pounds, James could be swapped with “Smash,” and no one would notice with a helmet on. Now James just needs to start speaking in the third person to prepare for the role.
Lyla Garrity is ... Amanda Pfulgrad
Sometimes, the most obvious choice is the best one; trust your first instinct, we’ve always been told. In this case, we need a smoking hot cheerleader to play the role of Garrity, who was played by Derek Jeter’s girlfriend ... er ... Minka Kelly. So we chose an Oregon cheerleader. Pfulgrad appeared on SI.com as a Cheerleader of the Week in 2008 and has been dubbed “The Hottest Cheerleader of All Time” on the internet. With some dyed brown hair, it’s a perfect fit.
Tyra Collette is ... Fax girl
Collette is one of the popular girls at Dillon. By that, we mean that she has a long dating history, including Riggins, Landry Clarke and some dude named Cash. Alabama’s fax girl, also known as Briana Baisden, was the Alabama cheerleader who retrieved faxes on National Signing Day on a live web cam while showing some leg in a mini skirt. We aren’t accusing Baisen of being promiscuous, but she has a flare for scandal.
Luke Cafferty is ... Rex Burkhead
Nebraska’s Burkhead is a 5-foot-10 white running back from Texas - he certainly can be college football’s version of Cafferty, an undersized white running back who leads his team to unexpected success. Cafferty did it for East Dillon after he was forced to transfer due to zoning issues regarding his home address. Burkhead will have no such problem in Lincoln.
Buddy Garrity is ... Willie Lyles
What, you don’t think a black actor can play Buddy? Shame on you. Garrity is the car salesman/bar owner who also is an influential Dillon booster. We think Willie Lyles, who works at a liquor store in Houston and is at the center of the Oregon scandal, would be perfect. He owns the perfect amount of sleaze, though he’s technically a “scout,” much in the same way Buddy went around the state looking for the best future Panthers and Lions.
J.D. McCoy is ... Tate Forcier
You’ve heard the stories over the years. Tate Forcier’s father groomed him to be a quarterback and - let’s put it this way - is very involved in his son’s life and career. That sounds a lot like McCoy, who struggles throughout the series with an overbearing father. Forcier left Michigan and is now a quarterback at San Jose State. McCoy also disappears from Dillon’s program in the final season without a trace.
Landry Clarke is ... T.J. Moe
Both guys don’t really look the part of a football player and prove one should not judge a book by its cover. Clarke is a bit nerdy as a freshman and doesn’t really seem to break out of that pigeonhole as the series evolves. Moe doesn’t really look like a top-performing player on the gridiron, either. But he led Missouri in receiving in 2010 while Clarke kicked the game-winning field goal for East Dillon in Season 4. Both of these guys get it done.
Ray “Voodoo” Tatum is ... Jordan Jefferson
“Voodoo” was a displaced victim of Hurricane Katrina, and we bet Jefferson wished he was a million miles away from his home state of Louisiana right about now. According to reports, the LSU quarterback was involved in a bar fight that may or may not have involved him kicking a
mMarine in the head. Now, we know the first concern here isn’t about Jefferson’s public image, but he’s in a world of trouble. Tatum was always ready to brawl. Hopefully things will turn out better for Jefferson in real life.
Dallas Tinker is ... Jerel Worthy
This is another match made in heaven. Both Tinker and Worthy are big defensive tackles with oversized personalities. Worthy isn’t shy about sharing his feeling about rival Michigan; he has a tattoo that shows a Spartan warrior crushing a Wolverine with a block ‘M’ on the helmet. It’s definitely something that Tinker would do. Come on, admit it!
Billy Riggins is ... Nevin Shapiro
Riggins is Tim Riggins’ older brother. He acts as his protector and guardian, but in reality lives his life vicariously through his younger brother. Just the same, Shapiro lived his life through big-time Miami athletes by trying to pay his way into their lives. While Riggins doesn’t have that kind of money, it was the outside-looking-in principle. In addition, both look like they are 12-years old. Face it, for different reasons, both Billy Riggins and Nevin Shapiro are colossal screw-ups.