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When I was learning to play football in the backyard as a child, my family would always say "Oskie" after the quarterback threw an interception. I always thought that it was just some sort of family tradition until I started playing organized football and everyone on defense was trained to say "Oskie" after an interception.

In more formal versions of the game this word is yelled so that everyone on defense knows that there has been and interception and will turn around and start blocking someone for the interception return.

I found an article that discusses the use of the word that says that the term originated with General Bob Neyland at Tennessee. But sadly, the referenced link is dead so I'm not sure about the validity of the article.

Why is the word "Oskie" used instead of a more typical term like "Pick"?

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  • 5
    I've also heard it as "OSCI" meaning "Our side caught it".
    – Zack
    Commented Sep 25, 2012 at 17:28
  • Neyland's dog was named Oskie. I heard this from Barry Switzer in the 1970s.
    – user6341
    Commented Sep 16, 2014 at 18:21

4 Answers 4

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When a interception takes place, the player who intercepted the ball screams "oskie" to make his teammates aware that an interception has taken place. As a result, the team turns around and blocks for the player who intercepted the ball.

"The Seven Game Maxims" originated during the 1930s and "pick" may have not been a common term. "Interception" doesn't roll off the tongue as well as "oksie." As Neyland was a general in the Army, the term "oskie" may have also originated from his time in active duty that he carried into coaching football.


Beginning in the 1930s, General Robert Neyland had his team, the Tennessee Volunteers, recite what is known today as "the Seven Maxims of Football." or "the Seven Game Maxims."

  • The team that makes the fewest mistakes will win.
  • Play for and make the breaks and when one comes your way - SCORE.
  • If at first the game - or the breaks - go against you, don't let up... put on more steam.
  • Protect our kickers, our QB, our lead and our ball game.
  • Ball, oskie, cover, block, cut and slice, pursue and gang tackle... for this is the WINNING EDGE.
  • Press the kicking game. Here is where the breaks are made.
  • Carry the fight to our opponent and keep it there for 60 minutes.
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  • So you are premising that players still say Oskie after an interception?
    – Coach-D
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 14:35
  • 1
    Where did I say that? If you're caught up on "do" rather than "did," then perhaps you can take that up with the OP.
    – user527
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 14:58
  • Well that is the question - "why do". They don't. You are giving origins.
    – Coach-D
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 15:03
  • Also the origins should really mention what oskie means, not a reference to it being used.
    – Coach-D
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 15:30
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O-Other S-Side C-Caught I-It

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  • This would be a great answer if you could provide a reference for it.
    – Philip Kendall
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 6:57
  • So you are saying that offensive players used to yell this?
    – Coach-D
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 14:37
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I played defensive back for a D1 school in the early 80's. I think most teams then practiced yelling an alert word when interceptions occurred (e.g. Oskie, Bingo, etc...). Ours was "WETSU" which stood for "We Eat That Shit Up". We loved using it in every practice during drills and even referred to interceptions as WETSU'S or SU'S in off field conversations, but I never remember hearing it used in a real game and doubt many other teams used their's either.

-1

Neyland had a dog named Oskie. "Ball, Oskie!" would be something he'd yell to the dog before throwing a ball for him.

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  • 2
    Need a link to authenticate this piece of information.
    – TrueDub
    Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 16:57

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