“It was kind of a big shock to see so many dedicated guys on the same team. Plus its Division II football. In Division I you get a lot more natural talent. I think D-II is more about guys who worked hard in high school and really love the game. It’s a great group.”
—Brady Conner, Moffat County High School graduate and Adams State University football player, about the differences he’s noticed between high school and college football
Brady Conner felt there was a small difference between himself and many of his teammates at Moffat County High School.
The MCHS graduate said on most high school teams, only a handful of guys are there to put their absolute most into the sport.
“In high school a lot of guys get involved to just come out and play football,” Conner said. “It isn’t a bad thing, but most guys are there to be doing a sport, have something to do or be with friends.”
For Conner, that wasn’t the case. He spent the time and put in the work to rehab from a serious knee injury, and has exhibited a strong work ethic on the field.
That is why he has felt at home after one year on the football team at Adams State University.
“It was kind of a big shock to see so many dedicated guys on the same team,” Conner said. “Plus its Division II football. In Division I you get a lot more natural talent. I think D-II is more about guys who worked hard in high school and really love the game. It’s a great group.”
Having such good teammates has been helpful for Conner, who said he had to adjust to the more complex college game. Adams State runs mostly spread offense, and even when in power formations, there is more nuance to it than in high school football.
“We run a no-huddle and that’s challenging,” he said. “In college every time you go to the line you have two plays to work from. So you have to be able to read the defense and run a different route or block differently based on that.”
With over 100 players on the Grizzlies roster in for the 2011 season, it can be challenging to get playing time as a freshman. So Conner was okay with being red-shirted by the coaches for his freshman year.
With four years of eligibility still available to him, Conner was looking forward to making waves in the offseason and then the fall. But he was concerned when a new position coach was hired in the spring.
“The guy who was originally my position coach is the one who recruited me, so I wasn’t sure what would happen when Billy came in,” he said.
As it turned out, Conner had nothing to worry about. Billy Lindquist came to Adams State as the new backs and tight ends coach in April, and Conner said he came with an open mind about all his players.
Lindquist said he wasn’t as worried about meeting the players as Conner was about having a new coach.
“I got (to Adams State) in April for spring football and haven’t had a lot of time with the guys, but I strive for a good player-coach relationship always,” Lindquist said. “Brady and I have a good working relationship.”
Lindquist, who coached football at Michigan Tech University in Houghton, Mich., before coming to ASU, said right off the bat he liked Conner’s work ethic.
“I was excited and liked what he brought to the table,” Lindquist said. “He’s a hard-working kid, we like that about him.”
Conner said he had a great season of spring football in his hybrid position of tight end and fullback. His position comes from the no-huddle offense’s constant flow.
“I have to be there to block or catch a pass, and with so many guys coming in and going out with the no-huddle, sometimes I’m in the backfield and sometimes I’m on the line,” Conner said. “You have to be able to fill multiple roles on this offense.”
Heading into next season, Conner said he is looking to get some playing time as a red-shirt freshman.
“I’ll hopefully be playing next year, hopefully some special teams,” Conner said. “Even as a second or third string tight end in our offense, you’ll be seeing the field plenty.
“I’m feeling much more confident with our offense. The game slowed down for me in the spring so hopefully it will slow down even more this fall.”
Click here to have the print version of the Craig Daily Press delivered to your home.