Bujnoch Now the Old Man

In his final preseason camp as a member of the University of Cincinnati football team has Austen Bujnoch feeling like an old man. Bearcat Insider spoke with Bujnoch about his final camp, fighting through injuries and more.

It may seem like Austen Bujnoch has been a Cincinnati Bearcat for the past ten years and in some ways he has having followed older brother Digger to Clifton following his prep career at Elder High School.

Now, on the verge of his final year as a Bearcats player, Bujnoch has grown up a lot on and off the field and feeling the highs and lows of knowing his career is almost over.

"Right now things are awesome," said Bujnoch. "You work all summer, and it was a long summer for us as it was something like ten weeks. But now we have the new freshmen here and it's awesome just to get back out here as everybody is anticipating it.

One thing the elder statesman is trying to get across to the younger players is how to pace yourself for camp and the season.

"The key thing about summer camp since I have been through five of them, is can you keep the same anticipation and energy going into practice 15. The younger guys are all hyped up on day one, but it's a grind and they will learn that."

As camp approached Bujnoch started to realize his days are numbered and knows he'll miss some things about being a Bearcat.

"I'm going to miss it," he said. "Just getting out here with the guys and hitting a little bit here and there. But I'm going to miss the locker room a little bit more cracking jokes and just laying back."

Bujnoch was able to lean on both his father and brother during the recruiting process and still remembers what his father told him about the selection process. The advice has proven to serve him well as during his career he's seen change more than once.

"Like my dad said when I was looking at colleges, don't pick a college because of a head coach and he was right," said Bujnoch. "This is my third head coach, but I can honestly say this is the best change that I've seen out of the guys.

"Everybody has bought in and everybody is in and doing extra work. I'm excited for it because I've seen coaching changes not be so great the first year. But I feel this year it is totally different than all those years."

As a key veteran Bujnoch knows he must take his game and leadership to a new level.

"It's crucial for me especially with the offensive line as we're the focal point in the offense," explained Bujnoch. "It we go the offense goes, especially getting the young guys in to some new roles. I was a leader last year, but I need to up it some this year and get to know the younger guys so they can trust me and have them listen to some of my knowledge.

"I never thought I would be able to say that, but I'm an old man now. But it is fun seeing the younger guys grow up."

One thing Bujnoch has fought during his football career has been injuries. How has he kept the drive and passion to keep playing and coming back after each injury?

"It's a grind and every day you are going to face some kind of adversity," he said. "But football is a game of life and you have your ups and downs. But it's how you recover.

"Injuries will happen and I've had a couple here and there. But it's the love of the game, if you really love the game and invest a lot of your time it's hard to quit. The more time you invest the harder it is to quit and I think that is crucial.

"Some guys get injuries and get down and some guys get stronger. That is what happened with me and Mitch Meador after our shoulder surgeries. We got stronger and worked together as we love the game."

When asked to look back to his own freshman year and how fast the clock has ticked, Bujnoch could only shake his head.

"I remember sitting there with Jeff Linkenbach and Chris Jurek," he said with a laugh and grin. "They were saying how this all goes so fast and we were just looking at them and going no it doesn't.

"But each year it goes faster and faster, in fact, I was just telling the freshmen it flies by and they kind of rolled their eyes at me. But it's amazing how fast it goes as it seems like only yesterday I was moving into the freshmen dorms. That is the one thing I have to regret knowing that it does go by so fast as I thought it was taking forever my freshman year."

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