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The Fifth Quarter: Briean Boddy-Calhoun

In this edition of our The Fifth Quarter series, GopherDigest caught up with departed All Big-Ten senior defensive back Briean Boddy-Calhoun for an in-depth interview profiling his career in Minneapolis and four seasons as a Gopher.

GopherDigest.com: Can you remember all the way back to JUCO and walk me through the recruiting process and how it eventually came down to Minnesota. 

Boddy-Calhoun: "Well I was already cleared through the NCAA Clearinghouse in high school and when it comes to JUCO kids, people think it's a academic program right away. That wasn't the case in my situation. I had zero offers coming out of high school and that was the reason I went to a JUCO. So I had the intentions of only doing one calendar year at Coffeyville and then going to a division one program. Fortunately, it was only one semester for me. However, in terms of picking Minnesota, it was fairly easy. After spending two weeks down at Coffeyville, I told myself that the first school to offer me is where I'm going because I knew it couldn't get any worse than down there. So let's just say Minnesota was a lot faster than all the other schools in America. "

GopherDigest.com: How bad was it truly down there at Coffeyville?

Boddy-Calhoun: "I can keep this answer pretty short. There's a McDonald's, a football stadium, Taco Bell and corn fields. That's pretty much it."

GopherDigest.com: What did Sawvel and Kill say to you on your visit that made you okay with Minnesota?

Boddy-Calhoun: "Well they said they were offering me a full scholarship and I said okay I'm coming up. I committed before I saw anyone's face or the state of Minnesota."

GopherDigest.com: You came in as a sophomore and didn't get a lot of time except on special teams your first year, what was that year like for you?

Boddy-Calhoun: "I've always been one to keep it real with myself and at that time I knew that I was not ready to fulfill a full role and play like how I was capable of playing. So I stood back and took everything I needed from Troy (Stoudermire) and Mike (Carter), and waited until the spring to compete for a starting position."

GopherDigest.com: Why'd you think you weren't ready?

Boddy-Calhoun: "Perfection is always the goal. At that time, I wouldn't have been perfect and I think that could have changed a few things for me. Like my confidence, my coaches confidence in me and my teammates. You just never know how it could have changed my career in Minnesota and as I look back on it no, there's no success without that year under Mike, Troy and coach Melvin Rice. 

GopherDigest.com: How big was Melvin Rice for you?

Boddy-Calhoun: "Huge. Every play I've made at Minnesota can stem from something Melvin told me. Let's take the Wisconsin interception from this past year for example. We were in a Cover 2 concept and two years ago, Rice told me Cover 2 is the best coverage to bait the quarterback into throwing the ball because you have help everywhere around you. Your only job is to help on the run and to cover the flats."

GopherDigest.com: How much time did you spend with Melvin Rice when he was here?

Boddy-Calhoun: "During the season we would meet once a week and watch my previous game to talk about the things I needed to do better. We'd also watch the next opponent and some potential ways I could make plays."

GopherDigest.com: What'd you do in that off-season between your sophomore and junior year that gave you the confidence to compete?

Boddy-Calhoun: "In the off-season whenever I had time off, I was watching film with Melvin or watching film by myself."

GopherDigest.com: What happened in fall camp that year?

Boddy-Calhoun: "That fall camp was when I really started to break out. I was 100% comfortable with the defense, so I started moving faster and knowing which coverages I could do more or less baiting in."

GopherDigest.com: Didn't you start out low on the depth chart that fall camp and end up starting in 2014?

Boddy-Calhoun: "Yeah something like that. In the spring, I started off as a third string guy and in our first spring scrimmage, I ended up making a lot of good plays and they bumped me up to second string. From that moment on, Eric (Murray) and I fought for that other spot next to Derrick (Wells). It just played out that Derrick got injured and that bumped me into the starter spot."

GopherDigest.com: Walk me through that first game as a junior against UNLV at home as you got that pick six off the slant for the touchdown. What did that moment mean to you?

Boddy-Calhoun: "It meant everything, but I just want to say it didn't happen right there. I made a TON of plays like that in fall camp that season, so having it translate over to a game was very gratifying. I felt as though that was a chance to show the coaches I can't only do that in practice, but also in the games."

GopherDigest.com: You went from the highest of the highs on that play, to the lowest of the lows that next game after tearing your ACL, what was that like?

Boddy-Calhoun: "It was the greatest thing that's every happened to me. It tested me in ways I thought I couldn't handle. It also allowed more time to dig into film and my weaknesses. What I mean by all this is the game of football was never taken away from me like that. Knowing that my season was over for that year and having the success I had prior to the injury crushed me. Then on top of that, we go 8-5 that season beating Nebraska and Penn State. Oh I felt terrible. However, I channeled all of those things into back stronger than I ever was."

GopherDigest.com: Who helped you become that stronger man coming back?

Boddy-Calhoun: "God. He was the one that put me through in that situation and he was the one that gave me the strength to make the most out of that opportunity."

GopherDigest.com: Let's move on to your junior year. You come back from the torn ACL and end up on the first team of the All Big-Ten team. What do you remember about your junior campaign?

Boddy-Calhoun: "What I remember most is the competitive practices we used to have. From top to bottom, that was the most skill I've played with on our entire team. The Iowa game is definitely one that stands out to me from that season. Maxx (Williams) getting three touchdowns, (David) Cobb hitting a first pump as he falls into the end zone, Ced (Thompson) plucking the ball out of the running backs hands right before the half, and KJ (Maye) killing them on jet sweeps. I could just keep going on, but it was just a great team effort."

GopherDigest.com: One play Gopher fans will always remember is you stripping the ball against Nebraska, mind running me through that play again?

Boddy-Calhoun: "I just remember seeing the ball in the air. I saw Ced fighting for it and that caused me to start fighting for it. Took one big yank, the balls now in my hands and we're onto battle for the West division."

GopherDigest.com: This past senior year, you managed to pull of an All Big-Ten season despite battling injuries. What will you remember about your 2015 season and mind telling folks your injury story?

Boddy-Calhoun: "I hurt my right knee in captain's practice in July, so I played the ENTIRE season hurt. I was sticking Melvin (Holland) on a post route and came down on it pretty hard. When I woke up the next morning. it looked like I had a bowling ball in my knee. I honestly really don't know what I injured because the pain I was going through, you would have thought it was more than a sprain. I'm probably at 95% right now. All I know is that my knee was hurting and my trainers and I tried to do everything we could to limit the pain. The thing that I will take away from my senior year is the fight we showed as a team. We had many injuries and things didn't go as planned, but we still managed to go win a bowl game. 

GopherDigest.com: How close were you with Coach Kill? Obviously with you being a captain this past season, it must have been tough, but what'd you think when he retired?

Boddy-Calhoun: "I was very close with Coach Kill and we have a great relationship. He would call me up even when we weren't around football just to see how I'm doing. As far as him retiring, it hurt. However, looking at the reasons why he retired, I'm all for it. That man gave everything he had to the game, all in all, it's only a game. I'd say we still talk anywhere from two to three times a month still."

GopherDigest.com: Let's talk about the man, the myth and the legend in Jay Sawvel. What was it like to work with him for four years?

Boddy-Calhoun: "Couldn't have asked for a better position coach. Got coached hard day in and day out. Then on top of that, he's a very knowledgeable guy. The man breathes football and when you're trying to get to the level like 90% of the people in that position room, it's great to have a coach like that."

GopherDigest.com: Any good stories about Coach Sawvel?

Boddy-Calhoun: "Well I knew football wasn't just a game to him when he told me that if I played with that type of effort any energy on punt block again, that he was going to make me redshirt as that way, he would never have to look at anything like that again. That was after my first division one football game too, so I haven't taken a play off since. We also spoke after the bowl game a couple weeks ago and he told me it was an honor to coach our senior class and that his door is always open for anything I may need." 

GopherDigest.com: Another guy you'll always be associated with from your playing days at Minnesota will be fellow corner Eric Murray. What was it like to play with him and know him for your entire career?

Boddy-Calhoun: "It was great man. I can honestly say that he's one of my best friends and we spent a lot of time together on and off the field. I'd say a lot of my success on film is because of him. Eric is also a funny dude off the field. He's always cracking jokes or making a reference to a cartoon show."

GopherDigest.com: So what's next in the life of Briean Boddy-Calhoun?

Boddy-Calhoun: "Kill this pre-draft process good enough to where I get invited somewhere for camp and then try to squeeze this lemon until there's no more lemonade. I'm going to give it all I've got."

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