Florida defensive lineman Taven Bryan (93) says he's ready to play up to his potential.
Bryan says he's matured, ready to produce on potential
Florida defensive line coach Chris Rumph came up with a pretty cool nickname for defensive tackle Taven Bryan two springs ago. But Bryan will be the first to admit he hasn't lived up to it yet.
“Not good,” Bryan said, when asked about his 2016 season. “I think I showed a lot of potential, but potential is not much unless you use it.”
The “Wyoming Wild Man” has been, well, more like the Wyoming Mild Man in his first two seasons in Gainesville.
He's only been wild in sort of a directional way — in that his career has been a little bit off course so far. He's not been wild on the field in terms of making crazy plays and loudly disrupting opposing offenses.
He's been more tame than wild, and that's difficult to fathom when you look at the redshirt junior's potential, which his coaches and teammates consider to be limitless.
He's big (6-foot-5, 300 pounds), quick, powerful and has a mean streak, something he's flashed at times over the past two years.
And, yet, the potential has not added up to consistent production for the young man from Casper, Wyoming.
Bryan said it might have something to do with the “M” word.
“It's mostly to do with my maturity,” he said. “I wasn't mature enough, ready to play kind of deal.”
Now, heading into his fourth year at UF, Bryan said that missing maturity has finally started to show up, and he expects it to be reflected in his play in 2017.
“Honestly, I think with how much more mature I am this year, I'll play a lot better than I have in the past,” he said. “They've told me I've had tons of potential, but it doesn't mean anything unless you use it. It doesn't matter if you're big, fast and strong. If you just stand there, you're still going to be a bench warmer.
“They've always been trying to get me to be more mature. I've been causing a lot of blood pressure rises for coach Rumph, I know that. But mostly what it comes down to is I started realizing the time ... I don't have much time left. I've been here for three years and I haven't really done much, so I really need to focus on my goals."
His teammates have noticed the difference in him. That immense potential started pouring out on the practice field this spring.
“Taven is a monster, man, he's a monster,” sophomore center T.J. McCoy said. “That dude is quick, he's a high-energy guy. The one thing I can say this year that's different about Taven is his knowledge of the game.
“We'll be running a power play and he'll be, 'Hey, it's power, it's power, he's pulling.' Stuff like that. So it's just the knowledge of the game. He's always been a physical guy and a guy that can get off the ball quick, but the mental part is really taking off for him and is making him a better player and making our defense a better defense.”
Bryan picked a good time to start realizing his potential. With starting tackles Caleb Brantley and Joey Ivie moving on to the NFL, Bryan and fellow junior Khairi Clark have been asked to step up. And they have. They ran with the No. 1 defense throughout the spring and more than held their own.
“Taven Bryan, he's a freak because he's just so strong,” Clark said. “Can't nobody really mess with Taven, man. He's a very strong guy. Me and Taven on the inside, I feel like nobody can stop us."
Said Bryan: "Oh, it's going to be good. I like playing alongside Khairi. He's a very consistent player. He's got some small flaws. Once he figures those out he'll be great. And since I've always played with him, we always know what's going on. We're very consistent, we have a lot of non-verbal communication. We know what's going on."
What's going on with Bryan is the “Wyoming Wild Man” appears to be finally starting to emerge.
“Taven's a very strong guy, and when he doesn't want to be blocked he's just not going to be blocked,” junior defensive end/tackle Cece Jefferson said. “I think he's going to hold his own.”
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out Andreu's blog at Gatorsports.com.
View Full Site
Copyright © 2015 Gatorsports.com — All rights reserved. Restricted use only.