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Catching up with Iowa State All-American Running Back Blaise Bryant

Tom Wallace - Sports Illustrated

Do you have any opening thoughts about Iowa State before we get started?

Blaise: I’m excited about the new coach of the program. I liked the old coach too, though. I’m really excited about the program.

What have you been up to in regards to career, family, where you’re living, etc.?

Blaise: I’m still in southern California, pretty much since I stopped playing football in ‘97. Ever since then I started doing mortgage loans and I worked for a company for about seven years, then, in ‘05, I started my own company, Brymus Capital. I transformed from just mortgage loans to mortgage commercial loans and real estate. So I have real estate agents underneath me, and loan officers, and I do commercial.

How did playing football help prepare you for where you’re at currently in life?

Blaise: Football and sports in general just prepared me with the discipline of it all. For example: being on time, dealing with pressures and deadlines, and having a purpose.

Do you have any good Jim Walden stories or any story in general from your time at Iowa State?

Blaise: I had a great time at Iowa State, I really did. I was really homesick probably just through football season, but once I went back for Christmas break and then came back (to Ames) it was over (being homesick). That point in time I didn’t have so much football. In high school, you only participate during the season about 2 hours a day. It was pretty much the same at community college (Golden West College in Huntington Beach, CA).

I know when I first got to Iowa State, the first thing I told my mom and dad is, “It’s too much football!”

We were literally going all day and night in camp. Once school started, we were pretty much going from when you got out of school from about 1 to 9:30 at night. It was just a lot of football to cope with when you’re homesick too; it was tough. Once football ended, it was great.

(Blaise is now reflecting on his community college experience.)

Community College really prepared me mentally for the college game. I think a lot of freshmen come in and it kind of blows them away. I had a coach who was really about his X’s and O’s, and he gave us tests and I was like “this guy is crazy!”

When I got to Iowa State it was easy, like everything they were trying to teach me I already knew.

Have you met Matt Campbell and staff? If so, what are your thoughts?

Blaise: I haven’t met him yet, however I was near him on the sideline during a game. I went out to the Oklahoma game last year, and I went to go meet him the next day, but he was gone for recruiting.

Brett Favre hands off to Blaise Bryant in the 1991 Senior Bowl.

This year’s team, just like the 1990 squad you were a part of, beat Oklahoma. 27 years later, what lasting memories do you have of beating the Sooners?

Blaise: It was great, but I got hurt right before halftime. It’s a funny story because I didn’t know what was going on, I just had this pain, and I ended up cracking a rib. So by the time we went to halftime, I could barely breathe or sit down or sneeze. They took me in and gave me an MRI, and they said it was my ribs. I had to get on that plane, I didn’t know that anything you did with ribs affected you. So, it was a great win, but I was hobbled after that because the pain was killing me so bad.

It happened on the last catch I had, I went to the sidelines and it just came on me slowly. By the time halftime rolled around, I couldn’t even stand up!

How do you feel about this year’s running corps, specifically David Montgomery?

Great running back; he breaks more tackles than I have ever seen. He’s got an endless motor, and he’s always giving 110%.

You are still second all-time in Winnipeg Blue Bomber history with 249 rushing yards against the Tiger-Cats, what recollections do you have about that game?

Blaise: It was funny because I started off that year strong, and then our quarterback got hurt. Then, our second-string quarterback blew his knee out, so we didn’t know where we were going. We lost two games in a row that we were supposed to win with our third string quarterback. We were kind of in shambles and I remember the coach having a meeting with just the o-linemen and me, and he basically said, “We’re going to win, but we’re going to win ugly.”

We did everything differently, our special teams would try to block everything, defense we were blitzing a lot trying to create turnovers, and they made me step back about two steps deeper from the I-Formation. We started just running a bunch of misdirection to me and they just kept feeding it to me until our number one quarterback came back. It was pretty fun, but I never knew that I had that many yards because I never scored a touchdown. I think my longest run might’ve been 30. I was kind of nickel and diming them.

What is a typical Bryant Thanksgiving like?

Blaise: Just eating too much with the kids and friends and family.

Were you a taco guy when you were here? Because, if so, where could you find the best tacos in Ames?

Blaise: I don’t think there’s such a thing as a good taco in Ames.

You gotta come back and go to Rico’s!

Blaise: Is it authentic?

Yeah man, it’s probably not as good as what you’re getting in California, but it’s the best in the local area.

Blaise: I forget the name of some place we used to go to, but it was terrible. I used to always go to DaVinci’s for Philly cheesesteak, but it’s not there anymore (closed in 2004). It was right off Welch like where that Kwik Trip is. God, they had a great Philly steak and cheese. I still have a couple local spots that I go to. The High Life Lounge with the broasted chicken in Des Moines, and I still go to Hickory Park.

Did you ever hear of Jethro’s BBQ when you were last here? There’s one in Ames now by the movie theater.

Blaise: Is it better than Hickory Park?

In my opinion, no. In part due to the array of ice cream and the goodness that in general is Hickory Park, you can’t beat that. But that’s just me.

Blaise: Now Hickory Park is amazing, and it’s damn near free it’s so cheap. I remember one time I went with seven of us, I think the bill was like $114. We had some beers too.

It’s incredible that we haven’t lost fumble all season, now that I say that, I probably jinxed it.

Blaise: Yeah you did. It’s kinda like saying number “seven” when you’re playing craps, you just can’t say it. Can’t even let it enter your mind. (laughter)

I know @CycloneFB has been tweeting about that stat, and myself, I’m just thinking that “I don’t play that evil stuff.”

Blaise: I remember Jim Walden said that one time, and the next game we played Iowa and fumbled like three times.

Yeah Iowa, we should’ve beat them this year, we should’ve beat Oklahoma State, and should’ve beat Texas.

Blaise: I’ll give Texas the win, they beat us. Iowa? No. Oklahoma State? No. Hands down, Texas beat us. We definitely shouldn’t have lost to Iowa, and we shouldn’t have lost to Oklahoma State. There’s one more that I’m forgetting that we shouldn’t of lost to— West Virginia. Iowa was just so bad because just run the clock out for cripes sake.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our talk with Blaise!