They all rave about the redshirt freshman, who has become one of the breakout players this spring.
Coming from Wyoming, the plan was for Taven Bryan to play on the defensive line last season as a true freshman. He enrolled early and got accustomed to college football last spring, and his play earned him a role on the defensive line. However, two bouts with strep throat caused his weight to drop and kept the freshman off the field.
Now a redshirt freshman, the new Florida coaching staff knows it has a gem in the Wyoming native. Bryan and Joey Ivie have spent a majority of the time as the first team defensive tackles in the portions of practice open to the media this spring.
“He brings energy. That’s my big Wyoming wild man,” Florida defensive line coach Chris Rumph said. “He’s a big old cave man and wants to use all his brute strength. But he’s athletic for a big guy. His football IQ is really, really low because he hasn’t played a lot of football. I don’t know how many great players have come out of the state of Wyoming, but he could be up there. If there is one, he could be just as good as those guys once he learns the game.
“Everything right now is just new for him. I got him on Gerber, baby food. I can’t even feed him table food yet, he would choke. But once he learns, his teeth are starting to come in, maybe we will feed him off the table before long.”
Sitting out last season was difficult for Bryan, especially after he expected to play going into the year. It gave him a chance to learn more about the game. He grew up playing football, but Bryan barely watched college or professional football. That’s part of the reason even he admitted his football IQ is low.
"It was pretty disappointing but I think it was good for me and gave me time to develop and learn a little bit more about the game,” Bryan said of sitting out last year. “I think I definitely increased my football IQ. As my coach said it was kind of low, so coach Lawing definitely gave me the opportunity to learn a lot more about football and coach Rumph has taken off where he left off so I can continue to learn."
Bryan’s teammates rave about his athleticism. The redshirt freshman was able to turn heads last spring because of his wrestling background, using his hands actively to get past an offensive line, His 6-5, 275-pound frame has only continued to impress this spring.
“Taven is the wild man from Wyoming,” Florida defensive lineman Alex McCalister said. “The dude is crazy. I love him. He’s a big, big body, young. This fall, Taven going to take off. You take my word for that, Taven’s going to take off.”