By Laura Madaio
Special to GoHolyCross.com
Now in their fourth seasons at Holy Cross, seniors Mike McCabe and Mude Ohimor have been key parts of the team's success since 2007. With McCabe along the offensive line and Ohimor a member of the defensive front, the Crusaders have a pair of experienced players leading them in the trenches this season.
As members of opposing lines, McCabe and Ohimor know all too well what it feels like to have someone gunning for you. "We've been going against each other for four years now," explained McCabe. "Every day in practice, every rep, it's basically just me against him."
With the exception of an injury in 2008 that sidelined him for the season, McCabe has played or started in every game of his career as an offensive lineman. As a freshman in 2007, McCabe was part of an offensive line which paved the way for the Crusaders to average 35.9 points and 463.4 yards of total offense per game. As a junior last year, McCabe led an offensive line which helped Holy Cross to rank fourth in the nation in passing offense (314.9 yards per game), sixth in total offense (433.6 yards per game) and 13th in scoring offense (32.2 points per game). Also in 2009, McCabe earned second team All-Patriot League honors.
"Mike McCabe is a very athletic tackle who does a great job of protecting the quarterback," said head coach Tom Gilmore. "He is also a great run blocker, and has gained a lot of experience by starting every game the last two years. This season, he is really coming into his own."
His talents, however, are not limited to football. As an FCS Athletic Directors Academic All-Star, a CoSIDA / ESPN The Magazine first team Academic All-District selection and a Patriot League Academic Honor Roll member, McCabe has proven to those around him that it is possible to manage success both on and off the field.
Mike McCabe" width="250"> "When I'm in season it's so much easier to do my work," McCabe said, "I've figured out what it takes to have success here at Holy Cross, and now I use the tools I've learned to help the freshman. It's difficult, but you need to know what you have to do, and time management is what I really try to emphasize. I just tell the younger guys to take study hall seriously and get your work done."
Ohimor has seen quite a lot of success himself these last few years at Holy Cross. He played in 10 games as a defensive lineman as a freshman in 2007, totaling eight tackles for the season. As a sophomore in 2008, he started eight of 10 games on the season and totaled 17 tackles on the year, including 12 solo stops and two tackles for loss. Last season, Ohimor played in all 12 games at defensive end, starting 11 times. He totaled 34 tackles, most among all Holy Cross defensive linemen. Also in 2009, Ohimor ranked fourth in the Patriot League in sacks and seventh for tackles for loss, while leading the team with seven sacks and nine tackles for loss. He was also a first team All-Patriot League selection.
"Mude Ohimor has really developed into a complete player this year," said Gilmore. "He is doing a great job against the run, and has also been excellent at putting pressure on the quarterback. He is someone who opposing offenses have to account for all the time."
Ohimor's numbers prove that he has improved upon things from earlier in his career, and he credits his coaching staff for such improvements. "They've taught me to be a dominant player, and I've recognized and built upon the facts that one can never be agile or strong enough," said Ohimor. "One can never have too high of a football IQ. A player can always get off the ball quicker, and one can always have better technique. Those are all the things my coaches have helped me work on over the years, and even though I have had some success I can still improve tremendously in a lot of areas."
The mind set of continuous improvement is something Ohimor and McCabe share. "There are some days when we get out there when I realize that Mude can make me look like a fool if I don't try my hardest," McCabe said with a laugh. "I think Mude is a great player and we've both made each other better. We've both kind of developed a great respect for each other."
"I really respect how Mike plays. He's smart and we're always pushing each other and trying to make each other better," Ohimor added.
This story originally appeared in the October 9 edition of the Holy Cross Game Day Program, for the contest between the Crusaders and Brown. To order a copy of the program, visit the online store.