Sam Webb: First let’s talk about Sione Houma. How did his senior season go?
Brody Benson: “It was alright. We lost Sione and our quarterback in the fourth game. Our quarterback suffered a femur fracture and we didn’t get him back until the first round of the playoffs. Sione was out for three weeks with a high ankle sprain, then when he came back teams were just keying on him. We were very one-dimensional, you know, running the ball. Our backup quarterback doesn’t throw the ball that well, so a lot of teams keyed on him. He still rushed for almost 800 yards missing basically 3 ½ games. But injuries happen. You kind of just have to adjust to that. We got knocked out in the second round of the finals by the team that went on to win it, and we played ‘em tough, but just a little bit disappointing. It was good from the standpoint as a team we battled all year trying to work without our two studs, but still a little disappointing."
Sam Webb: What kinds of growth did you still see in Sione despite the obvious limitations due to injuries?
Brody Benson: “More so just his leadership, you know. With our quarterback being out he kind of had to fill that role. I know that he put that pressure upon himself to really be the guy and to go out and compete. He put the team on his back, so I really see some good leadership development from Sione. I’ve seen how hungry he is still to play the game just by how upset he was after the season. Basically, he was in the weight room the following Monday. So he’s definitely focused and driven. He wants (college) to be a positive experience and he wants to be successful, so I see that hunger in him to get to a level which he can go play in the Big Ten.”
Sam Webb: Now, you mention he’s in the weight room. Did he get bigger? What are his updated height, weight, and forty time?
Brody Benson: “We haven’t tested his 40 since spring. As far as height, weight, he’s about 215 right now. I’d say he’s about six foot, maybe a hair over, you know, close to 6’1”. Looks good though. Physically he’s looking good, and like I said, right now he’s focused on the next thing, which is going (to Michigan) to compete at a high level.”
Sam Webb: So tell me about Bryan Mone. We’ve heard that Michigan has offered him a scholarship. Tell me about his game and what he brings to the table.
Brody Benson: “Well, he’s just a sophomore. He played up last year as a freshman, but teen limited time. He was on a lot of special teams last year, but really he was a two-way starter for us this year -- at guard on the offensive side, and then he played D-tackle for us. I see him as a defensive player. Bryan right now is probably 6’4” maybe 6’4 ½”, 255 pounds. He’s a kid who put on about 15 pounds during the season. He’s real long – big strong, physical kid. He’s a smart football player; just phenomenal character. He’s a lot like Sione. In fact, the church that both of them go to is run by Bryan’s dad. He’s a Methodist minister. So, he comes from a great family and he’s of good moral character, which you love to have that on your team. Truly, he was a leader on the line this year. He’s young, he’s raw, but he’s really developed over the season into a force defensively. He’s 255 right now, I see him next year being probably close to 280. He has that ability to put on that kind of size. And he’s a good athlete… he’s a real good athlete. He runs well, he changes directions, he’s long, got huge hands, huge feet, so he’s definitely still a puppy. That’s part of his growth potential. We’re going to center around him on the offensive and defensive lines. So he is great kid. He’s got offers from Michigan and he’s got offers from the University of Utah and that Utah State University. So that’s pretty impressive as a sophomore.”
Sam Webb: Did the Michigan coaches talk to you about why they decided to jump in on him as early as they have?
Brody Benson: “Well, they’d seen him last spring when they were recruiting Sione and basically Coach Montgomery and Coach Ferrigno just said, ‘we want to see film on him.’ After we had a couple games under our belt, they wanted to see film. We just kept talking to them about him, and then Coach Ferrigno came out before our first playoff game and seen him again. He was very very excited to see him and watch some film. Coach Montgomery came out – oh, it was the night before Sione’s visit so he went out on the 19th of November, and then Coach Montgomery came back – I think what, week and a half, two weeks ago, to see Sione. Brian played on the basketball team and they were playing upstairs. They were watching the basketball game, and I got a call from Coach Montgomery, and he just said ‘hey tell me about the kid again.’ He said ‘am I going to make a mistake by offering him?’ I said ‘hey, Utah offered him yesterday, and you’re not going to go wrong with this kid.’ He’s a great athlete; good leader; as a sophomore he’s not afraid to be vocal, which is sometimes tough to get younger kids to step up and take charge. He has no problem doing that, and obviously what he does on the field. He was a first team all-region kid and we play in a tough region, so that’s a huge accomplishment for him as a sophomore. They jumped on it and pulled the trigger, and I know that Coach Montgomery was interested in doing that before the season started, but he just kind of wanted to see how he played. They liked what they saw on film, and like I said, he’s a great kid. Good character. If he says he’s going to do something, he’ll do it.”
Sam Webb: At the next level – is he a defensive end or a defensive tackle?
Brody Benson: “Depends on how big he gets. If he gets up to 300 pounds, obviously I think he’ll be inside. If he can stay around 280 then and keep his quickness, then he has a chance to play on the edge. He’s so long, and he is a good athlete, but we’re going to play him at D-End next year as well. We’ll play him at D-End, three-technique, so we’re going to move him around and not let teams get comfortable with him.”