Bryant Responds to Challenge

Last week running backs coach Don Soldinger talked about how he had challenged fullback James Bryant. Bryant understands Soldinger's challenge and offered his response.

After practice last week running back coach Don Soldinger offered his opinion on fullback James Bryant.

"If you are running around hitting the wrong guy or going to the wrong area, that isn't good--that doesn't win games for you," Soldinger said. "People look at intensity and think players should be playing, but I am looking at something else."

"When James Bryant puts pressure on James Bryant, then that is when he will be able to take it to the next level. You have 100-200 plays on the offense. I have no idea how many he knows, but not too many. He knows them, but does not know all the fine points of the game. I told him today that I don't want him to be a high maintenance football players. Guys that are good players are not high maintenance--they put pressure on themselves. When he does that he will not only be good, but he'll be a great one. He is the guy that has to put pressure on himself."

Bryant responded to Soldinger challenging him by stating:

"I think growing up throughout my whole life has been a challenge," Bryant said. "Just getting here was a challenge. I think, yeah he tries to challenge me, but I don't think that he can challenge me enough to coincide with the challenges I have already been through. I think he is doing a great job trying to challenge me and trying to get me frustrated, but also make me understand that when I am frustrated that I have to make plays no matter what happens."

Bryant did assess his game in the first two weeks of fall practice stating he needs to resume playing with a high level of energy.

"I have to find my energy again," Bryant said. "I don't think I have had as much energy now as I did in the spring. There are more things going in now than they were in the spring. I think I need to bring back my energy and it will help out the offense."

In the spring Bryant moved from linebacker to fullback after primarily playing on special teams and on the scout team as a linebacker last season.

"I think it was different in the spring because I had just moved to fullback from linebacker and I wasn't going to know everything right away, but if I flew around, made a lot of plays, brought noise, and a lot of action to the offense, then it would coincide for some of the mistakes I would make. Right now there are more things goin in (with the offense) and i have to worry about not making mistakes as well as keeping my energy level up. I'm learning the offense more so I need my energy level to match my focus of learning the plays."

Bryant also came in with tailbacks Derron Thomas, Charlie Jones, Andrew Johnson, and George Timmons. Thomas and Jones are expected to be in the mix this fall with Johnson recovering from an ACL injury and Timmons still looking to improve his game.

"I feel like Charlie and Derron are two hell-of-a-running backs," Bryant said. "Those two guys make a lot of good reads and have made a lot of good runs. Like anyone else, they have made their mistakes. Right now their mistakes are lowering and their success is increasing."

In the spring Thomas made a lot of big runs because of Bryant's blocks in the backfield. It is a good for a fullback to see direct success of his actions.

"It feels good to see one of our running backs get around the corner because of a big block I made," Bryant said. "I think it gives me more confidence when I am putting linebackers on their tail."

The season opener is exactly two weeks away and according to Bryant there are a couple things the team needs to keep in mind for the upcoming two weeks.

"The key for the whole team right now is when we have breaks that we take care of our body," Bryant said.

Bryant also made a point to talk about the attitude around the team.

"I think guys need to understand what is at stake right now," Bryant said. "Our first game is at Florida State--this is not a regular college football game. It is a high-caliber game and a lot will be riding on this game. I think we are a little laxed about beating them six times in a row and a little too cocky and confident about walking in there and doint it for the seventh time. i think we all need to come down a level and understand that we can lose on any given Saturday. "

As it gets closer to game time, Bryant expects the attitude to change.

"I think it will pick up as the game gets closer," Bryant said. "It has been a little rough going through all these long, hot days. A lot of the guys are tired and things like that, but I know all of the hard work we put in now will pay off in the end."

Practice resumes today at 6:00 p.m.

Christopher Stock is a Senior Writer & Assistant Editor for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@canestime.com


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