Former Player Perspective Keif Bryant - UConn

As a new feature, SOR has asked a number of former players to provide their written commentary on each of the Rutgers games. This commentary is meant to give the readers of SOR a view of the game from a former player's perspective. This week's perspective is from former Rutgers and NFL DT Keif Bryant.

Where do I start? Rutgers is 8-0. Ok let's take one step back. Rutgers beat UConn. Being a Rutgers grad in a family full of UConn fans along with living in CT, I now have bragging rights for the next year. There are few better feelings then walking around in Rutgers football paraphernalia and hearing "You played at Rutgers? They're undefeated aren't they?" I am sure many of you can relate to this in some fashion.

Now to the game. Due to a last minute business trip cancellation I was able to watch the game from the comfort of my rec. room sofa. Put the kids to bed, grab a bowl of popcorn, soda and tell the wife "Goodnight, I am going to watch the game if you have anything to say, say it now" this usually results in her standard reply "Your such a dork." I skip down the stairs, yes I skip, plop on the sofa grab the popcorn the remote turn to the ESPNHD (those of you with HD understand) and it is game time.

As I sit waiting for the kick-off I am thinking to myself two things.
1. Please don't sleep on UConn and get beat.
2. Man I hope Teal steps up his game tonight because if UConn's game against WVU is any indication, the running game is going to be spars.

Kickoff: As with everyone for the night, you never know what to expect, the special teams play for the most part this year has been just that, special (and I don't mean that in the DEET DEET DEET way)

Teal came out throwing like a man on a mission. Just exploiting the UConn defense. I thought to myself I can breathe now because my biggest concern is no longer. The world knew that Teal was going to have to win this game and it looked as though he was ready for the challenge. In general the team was running on all three cylinders. Well after the first quarter all that went one of the cylinders threw a rod. None the less the offense kept plugging away, sticking to their game plan.

The second quarter for the offense ------ not so good. Now to the defense. If I seem a little excited and bias towards the defense. I am. GETTING AFGER IT! The defense just kept coming and coming and coming. Oh, they would get burnt, but it didn't stop them. Special teams in particular kick-offs, would leave me a little anxious. Missed tackles on both special teams and defense had me holding my breath. You just knew at some point in time a missed tackle would result in a big play.

All I can really say about the 3rd quarter is hats off to UConn. They came out and went to work. The third quarter was reminiscent of the USF and 4thquarter of the UNC game. Both teams found something to exploit and they rode that pony till it died. As for good ol RU. Adversity was the word for that quarter. It seamed that no matter what they did, they could not stop UConn. Then came the 4thquarter.

The best way to describe the 4th quarter. This quarter made me proud. The entire team, offense, defense, special teams, all kept their head and never thought about defeat. The defense and special teams pulled a Forest Gump. They saw that the offense had been stymied by enemy fire, so they put them on their shoulders and carried the extra load. The tenacity of both special teams and defense reminded me of the kill the carrier games we played in the back yard growing up. Keep your head on a swivel because you are getting hit. You could see that with every play the players were getting more and more hyped (boy was I jealous that I was not playing). As a result they bent but didn't break and it resulted in a victory. Pretty or not it was a win. As the great philosopher Arnold Geter would say" A rose is a rose is a rose/ A win is a win is a win" more Gete's quote to come.

The best part about watching the Rutgers football team this year besides the obvious is the overall team attitude. This team is so level headed, hard to shake up and they never stop coming after you. Players are making plays; everyone is playing with great discipline, enthusiasm, heart and tenacity.

There was one thing that stuck out to me and I am sure other defensive players from my era (1991-1995) noticed this also. The defense hitting the other team as if they were personally offended that UConn even dared step on the same field with them. The have the eye of "The Rock Killer" Also after a big hit, a good tackle, a blocked pass, you would see players make a chopping motion across their hand. This reminded me of another quote by the Great Arnold Geter "Kill a mosquito with an ax". Essentially Play To Win…and they do.

Just for the record the 91' defense was still better. The RU faithful remember, Elnardo Webster, Sean Williams, Jay Bellamy, Andrew Beckett, The Jackson Brothers Malik and Jameel, George Stewart and many others, oh yeah and yours truly. There it has been said and I am sure the above mentioned will back me up on this one. Even if we weren't you will never get any of us to admit it so just accept it.
I hope you have enjoyed my point of view.

"And that's all I have to say about that"…..Forest Gump.

-Keif Bryant Rutgers Football 91' - 94'

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