COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -Lee Corso delivers his signature line - ``Not so fast my friend.'' - more deliberately these days. He's not quite the bundle of frenetic, pencil-pointing energy he used to be before he had a stroke in May.
Still, there he is stoking a crowd of about 5,000 Buckeyes fans, Trojan helmet on his head, poking fellow analyst Kirk Herbstreit's kids with a plastic sword.
``I can't be anything except what I am now,'' the 74-year-old Corso said Saturday after ESPN's ``College Gameday'' had wrapped up from outside Ohio Stadium, where No. 3 Southern California and No. 8 Ohio State were to play later.
Corso, who coached at Louisville and Indiana from 1969-82, has been doing ``Gameday'' for 20 years with host Chris Fowler. He's become in many ways the Dick Vitale of college football, his passion and enthusiasm making him something of a folk hero on college campuses.
He was at his home in central Florida, where he lives with his wife, on May 16 when he had the stroke.
ouldn't talk. I was rambling,'' he said. ``It really scared me because I couldn't talk.''
There were no warning signs. Corso exercised regularly and was diligent about maintaining a healthy diet.
``It affected my brain, my right side and my speech,'' he said.
But he was determined to get back to his job.
His goal was to be on ``Gameday'' the first Saturday of the season, Sept. 5 in Atlanta.
``When I was going through speech therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy, I kept thinking about, 'I got to get back,''' he said. ``I set a goal. If you set a goal as a stroke victim it gives you something to work toward. You have to set a goal.''
When did he know he would reach his goal? ``September the Fourth,'' he said smiling.
He still can't write, though he did his best to sign numerous autographs after he was done with his show Saturday, and the words don't flow as freely as they did before the stroke.
``I'm still having a hard time talking, the brain to the mouth. What comes out is different some times,'' he said.
Fowler has been astounded by the progress Corso has made in such a short time.
``The show is so challenging and demanding, the concentration you need with the noise and the fans, that fact that we don't have a script so there's is no TelePrompTer, it's very freewheeling,'' Fowler said. ``It requires reacting to three other people on the set, reacting to the fans. Even without ever having a stroke, it's hard to get in focus, I promise you.''
As for his partner's scaled-back pace, Fowler said it hasn't been a problem.
``His delivery has been a pleasant surprise to all of us. I think it's OK that he's slower and more deliberate,'' Fowler said. ``Probably most of us on the set could stand to talk a little more slowly.''
Corso said he gets tired more quickly and he won't be doing postgame spots this season, but he has plans to do every show and has no desire to retire any time soon.
``I plan on doing this as long as I can,'' he said.
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