Leading by example

Senior Beau Viehmann works behind the scenes as captain
Friday, September 17, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 3:50 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

After spending three years working to become a Missouri Tiger, Beau Viehmann earned his teammates’ respect through hard work and determination in his first two seasons as a Tiger.

That work paid off when his teammates named him as a team captain during the spring alongside Brad Smith, James Kinney and Atiyyah Ellison.

While those three have opportunities to show their leadership on game days in front of packed stadiums, Viehmann’s influence on the team comes behind the scenes, setting an example for his teammates during practice.

Viehmann said his leadership style is similar to the others: Be vocal and lead by example.

“We try to take control of the team and point them in the right direction,” Viehmann said. “I just don’t get quite as many opportunities on the field as they do, so I try to take more advantage of that in practice.”

Viehmann, a senior running back, has four carries and one reception in his college career. Those scant numbers don’t tell the story of Viehmann’s contributions on special teams. He earned Missouri’s Hammer Award for delivering the most big hits and coach Gary Pinkel named him a captain for the kickoff return unit because of his solid play.

The responsibility of being trusted to lead one of the Tigers’ special teams was an honor because of the unit’s importance.

“We’re trying to place a lot of emphasis on special teams this year because it contributes a lot to the game,” Viehmann said. “…To be one of those captains, to know that the coaches trust me to make sure that I can get that group of guys ready for the game along with what they have prepared for us. It’s definitely a great honor.”

Pinkel said one of the reasons Viehmann was selected as a team and special teams captain is his knowledge of the system.

“Beau is very good at what he does,” Pinkel said. “He knows what he is doing; he’s a good hard runner… He does things right all the time. That’s why he got a scholarship, and he’s also a great leader, and that’s why he is a team captain.”

Junior Damien Nash, the Tigers’ No. 1 running back, said though Viehmann has not had many opportunities with the offense, he is still always prepared in case they do.

“He is always ready. So anytime he can get in the game, he’s ready to get in there,” Nash said. “I don’t think it has affected his game; it just makes him stronger and better. He knows when they call his number; he’s going to be ready.”

Viehmann said it is a great feeling to know that his teammates have not overlooked his contributions.

“It’s a great feeling and it is definitely a great honor to know that they respect me in that sort of way,” Viehmann said. “And it makes me feel good about the things that I do here in the weight room, out on the field and in practice — that I definitely contribute and people see that.”

Nash said Viehmann deserves to be a captain because of the work he puts in and the leadership he shows.

“Beau, definitely with his energy out there, I mean the energy that he has, just being vocal and just the physical player that he is, he deserves to be a captain,” Nash said. “He shows it by leadership; he does everything a leader should do.”

Smith, a fellow captain, also said Viehmann is a true leader.

“He just does a great job whenever we need him,” Smith said. “He is always talking to the guys and keeping guys up. When he gets out on the field, he gets his job done and that’s the way he leads, by example and whatever the team needs him to do.”

Although Viehmann fills whatever role the team needs him to, he almost gave up the game three years ago because of a recurring back injury.

As a senior at Owensville High School, Viehmann suffered a cracked vertebrae, an injury that caused him to lose Division I scholarship offers. He underwent surgery and rehabbed throughout the 1999 season before joining the Tigers before the next season.

Viehmann, however, suffered another injury to his back and soon thought about walking away from football.

“Well, I thought for a while that I’d be done, but after taking some time off I wanted to come back,” he said.

After spending more than a year away from football, Viehmann missed the game and decided to rejoin the Tigers. He was cleared to play and was a safety during the 2002 season, before moving to offense last season.

“We just had to go through some checks and make sure everything was OK,” Viehmann said. “I didn’t want to miss an opportunity that, I mean not very many people get a chance to do this.”

Once he was back on the team, Viehmann started to make the plays on special teams that have earned him the nickname, “Beauvicious.”

Nash said Viehmann uses the time on the sidelines to build up his frustration, before unloading it on Missouri’s opponents.

“I think it just builds up his anger and he shows it when he gets out on the field because we call him ‘Beauvicious,’” Nash said.

Viehmann said he is not sure where the nickname came from, but would prefer to be called by name or perhaps, captain.

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