When senior OLB Serderius Bryant came on the scene at Ole Miss, the football program was floundering and, on cue, he floundered some too with some behavioral issues.
"It's crazy, man. How far this program has come and how far I have come as a person," said Bryant, affectionately known Bird. "we were 2-10 my first year and I was doing things I shouldn't have been doing.
"Now, we have a chance to be 10-3 and I have grown into a better man. Every year, we have grown as a team and as individuals. We are Ole Miss and we are moving up each year. I'm glad I have been a part of this rebirth of Ole Miss football."
Bird is proud of what the program has accomplished during his career, particularly 2014.
"We have done some great things. Game Day was here. We have beaten the only two teams that were number one all year. We have beaten several teams with 10 win seasons. We are in the Top 10," said Bryant. "We are real proud of what we have done, but we aren't finished yet. There's still one more to go and it will be a great one."
And Bryant has done some great things as well, individually, in his growth from an immature freshman to a player helping to set standards.
"I was doing little kiddie stuff when I got here. Dumb stuff. Now, I talk to the younger players and try to tell them what not to do. I did some things I'm not proud of and it didn't work out and I am letting them know they don't need to fall in the same trap," he noted. "The whole time I have been in Atlanta, I've been telling the young guys to take care of their business and be careful in the big city. Don't do anything that will hurt the team. They are listening and that makes me proud that I can be a leader to them."
Bryant is cherishing his last experience as a Rebel football player.
"I will always be a Rebel in my heart, but this is my last shot at college football and I want to make the most of it. I have been taking everything in at the Peach Bowl and taking a bunch of pictures. I want good memories and this team wants to give our fans good memories," he stated. "I want people one day to look back and say 'man, that was a good team.' If we win ten games this year, that will be the case."
The festivities are great, he said, but the game is where it's at.
"It's the Peach Bowl, man. It's a New Year's Six bowl game. If you can't get pumped for that, you can't get pumped for anything," Bird smiled.
Bird knows the challenge the Rebel defense is facing against the number two scoring offense in the country in the Horn Frogs.
"This is going to be a great game, an exciting game. The best defense against the best offense. It's going to be a great game to watch and even better to be in," he noted. "They remind me of Texas A&M but they have better athletes at TCU. A&M is a good team, but TCU is great.
"Their coaches put them in the right positions to make plays and that's what this game will boil down to - players making plays. If we make more than them, we win. If they make more than we do, they win. It's simple."
Bird does have a bittersweet moment here though - his long time LB Coach Tom Allen, who accepted the DC job at South Florida, not being in Atlanta.
"I am so happy for Coach Allen, but I miss him," said Bryant. "When he left, he told us in the LB room that we were the reason he was getting the opportunity.
"It was very emotional to see him leave, but we understood it. He's making a move to be a coordinator, what every position coach wants to do. We miss him, but we are proud of him and happy for him."
Serderius Bryant will suit up for the Rebels for the last time in a few days.
His time at Ole Miss has not always been perfect, but the sure-tackling LB will leave the University football program better than when he arrived and he is leaving as a better person.
What more can one ask?
Enjoying The Last Moment
OM Spirit Top Stories
Little By LittleAfter watching and grading the Georgia game film, the Ole Miss coaches didn't give out a lot of details, but they gave a consensus thumbs up for improvement against the Bulldogs.
OM SpiritYesterday at 3:15 PM
Ole Miss Impresses 4-Star OL Saahdiq CharlesNational 300 member and LSU OL commit Saahdiq Charles returned from his trip to Ole Miss with a lot on his mind. Sunday's news that the Tigers had fired Les Miles made things even…
OM SpiritYesterday at 1:13 PM
Q&A: Baseball With BiancoThe fall baseball season for the Ole Miss Rebels moves into October later this week. Here are some comments from Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco as the Rebels continue fall ball.
OM SpiritMonday at 10:00 PM
RYH: Chris Kiffin, Chris MalloyIn this edition of the Rebel Yell Hotline, Chuck Rounsaville and Yancy Porter are joined by Ole Miss defensive line coach Chris Kiffin and Rebel golf coach Chris Malloy.
OM SpiritMonday at 9:10 PM