August 10, 2006
Next step for Bryant: Being a leader
No one will ever accuse Dorien Bryant of not talking enough, as the junior wide receiver is one of the most bubbly, vocal, fun-loving players on Purdue's roster.
But this season, it is hoped that what comes out of Bryant's over-active mouth will be more productive.
Talent and production are certainly not issues for a player who's snared 118 passes the past two seasons and has factored heavily into Purdue's running game and return game, while even chipping in on defense a few times last season.
This season, though, the next step for Bryant may come in the form of leadership, an area he's prioritizing.
"I think I've always been a leader, but I think I've never really been a vocal leader," Bryant said. "
I'm not the guy who's going to yell and scream, 'Let's go!' or anything like that.I'm kind of hitting on that this season."
Last season was difficult on a player who's known nothing but athletic excellence and success since he was a youth. Bryant felt he played well as a sophomore, but when Purdue began losing - it finished 5-6 and missed the post-season for the first time in the better part of a decade - Bryant found himself experiencing something new, and he didn't know how to react.
Getting lost in Purdue's offense amidst a quarterback controversy didn't make anything easier
The lows were deep, as Bryant, over a three-game mid-season stretch, all losses, became a virtual non-factor in an offense he practically had monopolized earlier in the season. Needless to say, he struggled dealing with struggling, as losing often produced head-hanging - sometimes even helmet-throwing - in response.
Never more so was that the case than at Wisconsin. When a pass intended for Bryant was intercepted deep in Badger territory, Bryant visibly gave up on the play.While Bryant - perhaps the fastest man in the stadium - trotted listlessly, Roderick Rogers zig-zagged his way 84 yards for a pivotal Badger touchdown. Later in that game, Bryant would be benched for the Boilermakers' final drive, following a sideline episode where his frustration clearly got the best of him.
This year, it is hoped that failure is kept to a minimum, but when it inevitably arises, that Bryant will know how to better endure it.
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