Matt Reynolds a Rising Star

Former Timpview All-American offensive lineman Matt Reynolds is now home from a mission to Germany and right in the thick of the action. The big 6-foot-6-inch, 321-pound freshman is a rising force among the Cougar trenches, so much so that greater competition was forced so that changes could be made.

Sure, everyone is aware that Matt Reynolds' older brother Dallas Reynolds has been named as a preseason All-American, Outland Trophy and Rotary Lombardi Award candidate. However, Dallas may switch from offensive tackle to center this year partly due to the outstanding play of his younger sibling.

"Well, Coach [Weber] has said right from the beginning that he wants the best five guys out on the field at all times," said Matt. "One of our main focuses this fall was to secure an assigned position and then build trust and gain confidence. With Tom [Sorensen] having shoulder problems and with other questions on the line, we tried out the line that we have out now and it's worked out really well. I think the o-line is gaining a lot of trust and confidence with the new alignment."

As a freshman player it is tough to develop confidence is one's abilities, let alone gain the trust of teammates that have together as a unit weathered through game adversity and have learned to rely upon one another through years of success and failure.

"One thing that has been huge for me is gaining confidence in my play," said Matt. "This is something that I know I can do, having done well in practice against some of the best talent in the conference, so I feel that it has worked out really well for me. The offensive line has been really good in helping me to understand what's alright to do and what's not right to do, and they've been good in letting me go forward and work on those things to become better each and every day."

There is no question Matt Reynolds already has the physical size to compete at this level. He comes in at 6 feet 6 inches and 321 pounds, and is extremely light on his feet. The question is weather or not he could compete technically and excel in protecting Max Hall's blindside if called upon to do so. It only took one practice session for this reporter to see the freshman's dominating play on the offensive line as he consistently neutralized any opponent he faced. Reynolds has the athleticism of offensive lineman Ray Feinga and the work ethic, effort and heart of defensive lineman Jan Jorgensen.

"I don't feel I was so good at the beginning of spring camp," said Matt modestly. "I know I'm not all the way there yet, but the idea that I had was to pick something every day and get good at that one thing correctly every day. That's one thing that Dallas, Coach Weber, my dad [Coach Reynolds] and Jan Jorgensen have really good at helping me out with seeing what I need to improve on. It's been a quick process at times and a slow process at times. Playing with the first string during spring really helped me, along with the coaching I've received and the players I've practiced against."

Matt is quick to deflect any personal credit for his rapid rise and success. The future offensive line star - and make no mistakes about it, Matt Reynolds will become just that - places his dominating abilities at the feet of a few key influential people.

"My success has been a combination of Coach Weber, my dad and Jan," said Matt. "I don't know if there has been one person that's been more helpful in any one way. They've all been helpful in their own specific ways. Dallas has given me inside tips that helped him more and that I can do to help me. Coach Weber is very specific and very observant and a teacher of applying technique. My dad is very observant when watching film and he'll come home and give me some tips. Then Jan, he keeps me on my toes with his effort and strength all the time. They've all helped me in their own way and I think the combination of them all have been a key factor as to why things have gone the way it has for me."

With Reynolds the younger playing at such a high level of execution, the offensive coaches believed that Dallas Reynolds could then be a great alternative to a questionable Tom Sorensen. Despite the possible move to center, Dallas has had no qualms about taking on the leadership role of the o-line as possibly the Cougars' newest center. The move has caused no brotherly bitterness or rivalry among the two.

"Well, Dallas has had a great attitude about the whole thing," said Matt. "He felt this was the best move for the team and made the move. One time I asked him if he even wanted to play center or would he rather play offensive tackle. He said he came into fall camp thinking he was an offensive tackle, having the mindset that he was an offensive tackle, but was willing to do whatever was necessary for the team. He said he wanted to do whatever the coaches wanted and what would generate the most success for us as a team, and so far the results of the move have been exactly that. It has been a real help to us."

Future quarterbacks can have confidence and rest assured that their blindside will be well protected from pursuing defenders with rising star Matt Reynolds on the line.

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