for entire Bruschi Article Archive
Tedy and his
University of Arizona "Desert Swarm" defense appear on the cover of Sports
Illustrated College Football Preview issue August 1994.
Click the thumbnails to read the article.
WILDCATS' BRUSCHI PROVES TO BE FAST LEARNER
Arizona Republic - WEDNESDAY September 16, 1992
By: Marcia Hammond, The Arizona Republic
TUCSON - There is so much about football that Tedy Bruschi wants to learn
that he is like a computer just waiting for data.
Bruschi, who plays defensive end for Arizona, has learned enough and executed
enough since his arrival in 1991 to earn a starting spot this season.
A red shirt freshman, Bruschi has nine tackles (four unassisted) and 1.5
sacks in the two games.
In last week's 23-20 loss to Washington State, Bruschi zeroed on Cougars
quarterback Drew Bledsoe, ran him down, knocked him down, caused a fumble and
And he wasn't satisfied after the game.
"The longer I'm on this team, the more I learn," Bruschi, 6-foot-1, 255
"I get mentally stronger every week. I'm so inexperienced, but I learn each
play. 'Oh, I get it, I'm supposed to go that way.' Or, 'Oh, I go like that
instead of like this.' "
Part of Bruschi's eagerness to learn is his competitiveness. Part of it could
be from feeling like he's playing catch-up.
Last year, Bruschi earned a starting role midway through the season, but he
broke his thumb in his second start.
Bruschi had impressed the coaches during preseason camp that year. His skill
and ambition pushed him to the forefront of the depth chart. Then pinched
nerves in his neck kept him out of the first three games.
Though he doesn't worry about getting hurt again, Bruschi does acknowledge
that he thinks about improving his strength.
"The coaches tell me I need more conditioning. I'm working on it, because I
want to get to the point where I can go full out every play. I can't do that
yet, but I will."
That determination was what Coach Dick Tomey first saw in Bruschi.
"Even on high school film, he played harder than most guys in the country,"
Tomey said. "He's got a motor that just goes and goes. So I'm really not
surprised at how quickly he's developed."
This week Bruschi is learning how to defend against the option, the offense of
choice for Oregon State. The teams play Saturday at Corvallis, marking
Arizona's first road game.
"That's what is so great about football. Week to week you get all this
different stuff," he said.
WILDCAT BRUSCHI STANDS TALL
San Francisco Examiner - Sunday, October 18, 1992
By: ART SPANDER
STANFORD - The ball was sitting there, a brass ring for a carousel rider,
a bulging wallet for a pickpocket, sitting on the outstretched fingers of
Stanford backup quarterback Mark Butterfield. But not for long.
Tedy Bruschi came flying out of some place east of Hayward, or considering
the effect he would have on this game, perhaps east of Eden. People used to
tell Bruschi he was too short to play major college football. But as he would
laugh later, "You don't fill holes vertically, you fill them side to side."
When Bruschi (pronounced the old Italian way, BROOS-key) got to
Butterfield's side on this warm Saturday at Stanford Stadium, the quarterback
had his arm cocked, ready to throw.
"I was going to sack him," said Bruschi, "but he was holding it out there.
So I just slapped at it." And the ball bounced free, and Bruschi, the little
big man from Arizona, bounced on the ball, on the Cardinal 1. And one play
later, Arizona scored to go ahead, 7-6.
NO. 8 in the country and No. 1 in Tedy Bruschi's sights.
Already he had helped knock out the Cardinal first-team QB, Steve
Stenstrom. Then in the second quarter he knocked the Cardinal out of the game.
Final score: Arizona 21, Stanford 6. The only roses Stanford will see next
January will be in a florist's shop.
Arizona calls its defense "Desert Swarm." The Wildcats get high marks for
creativeness, low marks for accuracy. Tedy Bruschi has as much to do with the
desert as sourdough bread and cracked crab. His heart is in San Francisco. So
is much of his background.
The man with the gray mustache and wire-rim spectacles playfully massaging
Tedy's back in an Arizona locker room of joyful noise was Tony Bruschi, Tedy's
dad. He was the last football coach at Poly High in San Francisco, George
Seifert's old school, before Poly shut down in 1970.
TONY WOULD move over to become junior varsity coach at Balboa High, and in
1973 his second son was born. And the name chosen for the baby was Tedy. "It
was my grandfather's nickname," Tedy Bruschi explained. "His given name was
Teodorico, but it was too long to write, so he would sign Tedy."
Tony and Juanita Bruschi drifted apart and divorced. "I lived in downtown
San Francisco with my mother," said Tedy, "Market Street and Laguna. I would
have gone to Galileo. But my mother was afraid of earthquakes."
So, having gotten remarried, to tennis pro Ron Sandys, Juanita moved 110
miles northeast to Roseville in the Sacramento Valley, where the only tremors
are from the big rigs rolling on Interstate 80. And Tedy played his football
for Roseville High.
"He's a player," said Tony Bruschi, coach and father. "I knew he was going
to be a player. When he was a little kid, all he wanted to do was hit, hit,
hit. By the time he was 10, all he wanted to do was play football.
"This is a guy on a mission."
THIS IS a guy Cal and Stanford and Washington wouldn't or couldn't recruit.
He won various honors but the big boys were unimpressed. "They told me I was
too short," said Tedy Bruschi.
He is 6-foot-1, having grown half an inch since graduating from high school
in the summer of '91, and 250 pounds. And like everyone on the Arizona squad,
including a 361-pound offensive lineman named Vincent Smith, is remarkably
"I wanted to play Pac-10 football, but the only Pac-10 schools that
recruited me were Washington State and Arizona."
Wildcats coach Dick Tomey is a man who knows how to search. He was coach at
Hawaii, and great athletes didn't just drop over on their way to, say, Guam.
Tomey had to dog paddle to the mainland to get them.
"That's what recruiting is," reminded Tomey. "At Hawaii, we had to evaluate
for our survival. We liked Tedy Bruschi because he played harder than anybody
else we saw on film that year.
"OUR FIELD position had been horrendous in the first quarter and a half.
We're trailing, 6-0. Then Tedy makes the play. That was such a huge play. It
got us going in the right direction."
Bruschi arrived at Arizona a year ago. He pinched a nerve in his neck. He
finally got into a game, against Long Beach State, then another game, against
Washington, a 54-0 loss, and broke his thumb. The Pac-10, as benevolent as can
be, allowed him to replay his freshman season.
"Me and Rob Waldrop are always fighting about who's the shortest guy on the
defensive line," said Bruschi. The media guide lists Waldrop at 6-2. That
should end the argument. Or does it?
"He's still growing," said Tony Bruschi of his son.
So is Arizona's defense. A month ago the 'Cats could only tie Oregon State,
king of the bottom feeders. Since then Arizona lost by only a point to Miami
and did your basic finger in the eye job on UCLA and Stanford.
"I WISHED I could have picked up that ball I knocked loose and got it into
the end zone," said Bruschi. "I've never scored a touchdown, high school or
college. The closest I came before this was when I picked up a fumble in high
school and ran it to the 10 against Lindhurst."
This time he ended up a yard away. As always, Tedy Bruschi was a little
Arizona Clamps Down on Stanford
Los Angeles Times
October 18, 1992
Pacific 10: Wildcats get eight sacks, limit Cardinal to minus 33 yards rushing
in 21-6 win.
From Associated Press
Arizona's defense grounded Stanford's offense by keeping its quarterbacks on
The Wildcats racked up eight sacks and forced a key fumble on the one-yard
line to upset No. 8 Stanford, 21-6, Saturday.
"That's what we wanted to do, put pressure on them. We couldn't just let them
sit back there or they would pick us apart," said Arizona defensive end Tedy
Bruschi, who helped swing the game in Arizona's favor by forcing the crucial
fumble from backup quarterback Mark Butterfield.
"We are for real. We were on a high two weeks ago against UCLA and now this win
here, we just want to take it higher and higher, get better every week."
Arizona, 3-2-1 overall and 2-1-1 in the Pac-10, has hit its stride since
being tied, 14-14, by Oregon State, the week before a near-miss against then
The Wildcats, who pushed Miami to the brink before losing, 8-7, on Sept. 26
and then beat UCLA two weeks ago, never gave Stanford's offense a chance to get
going. That allowed Arizona's running game to wear down Stanford's defense,
top-ranked in the Pacific 10.
"We were beaten rather soundly today," said Stanford Coach Bill Walsh, who
saw his starting quarterback, Steve Stenstrom, forced from the game three times
by Arizona's punishing defense.
"Arizona demonstrated a lot more speed and we didn't cope with it. The
offensive line had problems with their quickness."
Arizona piled up 256 yards rushing, with Ontiwaun Carter gaining 97 yards in
20 carries. Billy Johnson had 80 yards in 12 carries and Chuck Levy had 72 in
"Our start wasn't what we wanted so we've been striving to gain some
recognition," Arizona Coach Dick Tomey said. "I think we'll get it now."
Bruschi helped swing the game in Arizona's favor when he stripped the ball
from Butterfield as he cocked his arm to throw. Bruschi recovered the fumble at
the Stanford one, and quarterback George Malauulu went into the end zone on a
keeper on the next play to give Arizona a 7-6 lead at 10:09 of the second
Levy took a pitch and went 45 yards for a score that put Arizona in front,
14-6, at halftime. Johnson had a 33-yard run with 10 minutes remaining in the
The Wildcats' defense, ranked second in the Pac-10, sacked starter Stenstrom
and Butterfield eight times. Running back Glyn Milburn, averaging just under 100
yards rushing per game, was limited to six yards in six carries.
Stanford netted minus 33 yards rushing, its lowest total since the school
started keeping records during the 1955 season. Its previous low was minus 16
against USC on Oct. 7, 1972.
"When they took apart our running game early, we were doomed," Walsh said.
Though forced out of the game three times, Stenstrom returned each time and
was on the field at the finish.
He missed all of the second quarter and the final three minutes of the first
after suffering a concussion when spun to the ground and sacked by nose guard
Rob Waldrop. The back of Stenstrom's head hit the knee of Bruschi, who had come
in to assist Waldrop.
Stenstrom spent nearly 10 minutes on the ground and a stretcher was wheeled
out but he managed to stagger to the sidelines, leaning on two members of the
Stanford staff for assistance.
Butterfield, who had attempted only three passes all season, came on for
Stenstrom. At the time, Stanford was holding a 6-0 lead on field goals of 38 and
39 yards by Eric Abrams.
Stenstrom started the second half but was forced to leave again briefly after
taking hits during the third and fourth quarters.
MOTHER HELPS BRUSCHI MAKE BIG PLAYS
Arizona Republic - MONDAY, August 16, 1993
By: MARCIA HAMMOND, The Arizona Republic
TUCSON - Selling houses and football seem to have nothing in common.
But the self-motivational techniques Arizona defensive end Tedy Bruschi
learned from his real-estate agent mother helped him have an outstanding
Bruschi expects those methods, combined with a spring and summer of extra
conditioning, to push him to a better year.
"Coach (Dick Tomey) is telling us this preseason about seeing yourself being
successful on the field and in the classroom, get that mind-set and you will
be," Bruschi said Sunday, the third day of the Wildcats' preseason.
"The funny thing is, my mom has always told me that. She's always used
visualization. All the stuff you hear about visualization -- if you can see it
in your mind, you can be it -- my mom has been telling me that ever since I
Although she's not a threat to the big-money, self-help industry, Juanita
Sandys' powers were on display via her son last year.
Bruschi, who played end and outside linebacker last year, had 20 tackles,
including seven for losses, and 4 1/2 sacks coming off the bench.
The game in which he alerted the country to his ability and quickness
occurred at Stanford.
In the second quarter, Bruschi chased down quarterback Mark Butterfield and
knocked loose the ball. Bruschi recovered the fumble on the Cardinal's 1 and
the Wildcats scored on their first play from scrimmage en route to a 21-6
win over Bill Walsh's eighth-rated team.
He will be better this year, Bruschi said. Already Bruschi, 6-foot-1, 258
pounds, feels better than last year.
The neck pains that caused him to take a redshirt freshman year are gone. He
spent most of the summer here working out.
"I had a very productive summer and accomplished the summer goals I set. I
got in better shape running-wise, I got stronger. I don't need any injuries to
slow me down."
He played through persistent neck pain last year.
"I was getting a lot of stingers. Now I've got my neck in shape," he
The training staff put him on a program that included manual neck resistance
and a neck-resistance machine, designed to limber and strengthen those
And this time he won't waver in his commitment to the exercises. "I did them
during preseason last year but then when the season started and we were playing
I stopped. I won't do that again."
Bruschi can't afford it. Not when he's a starter.
"Now that I'm starting and getting double the playing time, it should be
twice as much in results," he said. "I like to push myself."
Something he learned while watching his mother sell houses in the Sacramento
"It's tough selling houses. Working on commission, getting up every morning
and having to sell," he said. "And she does it. My mom has provided me with a
lot of confidence."
Sunday no day of rest
The Wildcats finished the campus phase of preseason. They make the trip to
Camp Cochise in Douglas after this morning's session.
After three days of two-a-days in the heat, fatigue is paying a visit to the
players and the staff. But it's no reason to take it easy.
"We can't let that stop us, we've got to keep pushing," Tomey said. "They'll
get a break (today) with only one practice."
LEVY, BRUSCHI SHINE UA STARS LEAVE ILLINOIS GASPING
Arizona Republic - SUNDAY, September 19, 1993
By: Marcia Hammond, The Arizona Republic
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Arizona running back Chuck Levy knows how many yards he gained
Saturday. There is proof, in black and white.
His teammate, defensive end Tedy Bruschi, probably ran just as far, but he
never will know for sure.
Levy, in his first game back since a preseason knee injury, accumulated 182
all-purpose yards, most of them in kickoff returns, as the No. 15 Wildcats
beat Illinois, 16-14.
Bruschi caused 40 yards worth of losses for the Illini on four of his six
tackles, three of them sacks. He also did a lot of chasing of Illini
quarterback Scott Weaver without catching him.
Healthy knees and speed worked to the advantage of Levy and Bruschi.
Levy definitely showed that his left knee was fine when he returned a
fourth-quarter kickoff 46 yards.
Just as important as the length of that return, was that he played most of
the game without incident.
"I feel great," Levy said. "I went out and played as hard as I could, and I
didn't worry about my knee. I didn't feel pain or anything."
He has tried not to worry about his knees for a year. After reconstructive
surgery to his right knee (it gave him trouble last year) in February, Levy
healed and was looking forward to a good start this season.
Then he suffered a strained ligament in his left knee in camp.
Rehabilitation went well. He wanted to play in last week's victory over
Not yet, he was told.
"I thought I would be a little rusty. But I got warmed up and jumped right
in there, and it didn't feel like I had missed anything."
Bruschi didn't miss much, either. Five of his six tackles were solo efforts.
"Tedy has amazing ball awareness," Wildcats Coach Dick Tomey said.
That ball awareness often led him into the Illini backfield where he chased
tailback Clinton Lynch and Weaver.
"I'm not psychic, so I don't know if I'm going to do that all season,"
Bruschi said. "But I hope we can play like this all year."
The Illini are sorry he can play like that.
Taking care of a 16-14 lead, Bruschi sacked Weaver for a 13-yard loss on the
Illini's final possession with about a minute to go in the fourth quarter.
Bruschi shoved them from second and 5 at their own 21 and put a damper on
thoughts of rallying.
"I don't know if I have all that much speed. Maybe it does make a difference. I
don't know. I just run," he said.
About the only thing he didn't do was score, but others on the defense did,
and they were the only points UA claimed.
"That was our goal. We wanted to score," Bruschi said. "The first week
against Texas-El Paso, we had a terrible effort, so our goal against Pacific
was take away (the ball).
"This week the goal was take away and score."
The defense scored on two fumble recoveries and a safety. The offense
ventured into Illinois territory four times.
The effort from Levy and Bruschi helped keep the Wildcats unbeaten in three
games, heading into the start of Pac-10 action at Oregon State next weekend.
DEFENDER BRUSCHI IS UA'S MVP
Arizona Republic - TUESDAY, December 7, 1993
By: The Arizona Republic
Sophomore defensive end Tedy Bruschi from Roseville, Calif., was named the
team's most valuable player at the annual Arizona football banquet Sunday
night in Tucson.
Sophomore defensive back Brandon Sanders of San Diego was selected the
team's Wildcat of the year as the player with the most winning performances.
The Martin Gentry Award, which honors the team's outstanding lineman, was
won by junior tackle Joe Smigiel of Newberry Park, Calif., for offense and
senior end Jimmie Hopkins of Brawley, Calif., for defense.
The team captains selected were running back Billy Johnson of San Jose,
Calif., cornerback Jey Phillips of El Paso and linebacker Brant Boyer of
Junior Chuck Levy of Compton, Calif., won the Bronko Nagurski Award for
playing more than one position.
Junior linebacker Pat Curtis of Tucson and junior offensive lineman Marcus
Romero of Tuscon won the Champions Award as the top scout team players.
Freshman free safety David Fipp of La Jolla, Calif., captured the Ball Hawk
Johnson and Troy Dickey each won Smith Project for Substance Abuse
Education Speaker's Bureau Special recognition awards for the senior student
athletes who have exhibited outstanding dedication to the youth of Tucson.
Johnson and Dickey spoke to more than 2,000 children in the community.
BRUSCHI'S VOLCANIC PASS RUSH TIED TO MOTHER: HER FEAR OF QUAKES LED TO
MOVE, PLAYING GAME
Arizona Republic - TUESDAY, December 28, 1993
By: Marcia Hammond
In a roundabout way, those ground-churning forces of nature
helped Arizona defensive end Tedy Bruschi become
one of the best pass rushers in college football this season.
Bruschi, a redshirt sophomore, will step on to
the field of the IBM OS/2 Fiesta Bowl on Saturday against No. 10
Miami in possession of 27 1/2 tackles for loss and 19 sacks.
His tenacity and speed made him one
of four Wildcats selected to the All-Pac-10 first team and a
second-team Associated Press All-America choice.
In 1992 he played part time.
And while Bruschi, 20, finds "what if" scenarios to be a useless exercise, he
thinks his life would be different if his mother, Juanita, had not
moved her family from San Francisco east to Roseville,
Calif., because she had grown weary of living in fear of earthquakes.
"If we hadn't moved, I wouldn't have
played football and gotten a scholarship, and
I wouldn't have my girlfriend," said Bruschi, who dates UA volleyball
player Heidi Bomberger.
"I'd probably be working on roofs putting in air conditioning ducts. And
I'm not saying that's bad."
The football that Bruschi had played until moving to the
Sacramento suburb his freshman year of high school was the
let's-get-a-bunch-of-neighborhood-guys kind and that was good enough.
"I enjoyed playing in the streets. It was San
Francisco. I didn't want to move. And then to Roseville? I was expecting to see
cowboys in the streets."
There were no cowboys but it was the
suburbs: strip malls and car dealerships; a
place on the way to somewhere along Interstate 80. Reno and Lake
Tahoe to the east and the Bay area to the west.
Before school began, though, something happened that changed
Bruschi's mind about the move.
At freshman orientation, he saw a couple
of guys walking around with something he hadn't
seen up close -- cleats. He stopped and talked to them. They encouraged him to
try out for the team.
"The next day I was out there in tennis shoes running
40-yard dashes," he said.
Bruschi was small. Well, short, to be specific, getting
manhandled by his older brother regularly. He still is short,
his solid 250 pounds covering a 6-foot-1 frame.
"I feel sorry for tall guys. I like being short. I want my kids to be
short. And I got my brother good over the holidays."
His height didn't bother Arizona recruiters.
"Out of high school, we saw one of two top guys in terms of
all-out effort when he was playing," defensive
coordinator Larry Mac Duff said. "He was a
wild man and he has the same kind of intensity now."
When UCLA and Brigham Young told him they wanted him to play inside
linebacker since he was vertically challenged, Bruschi bid them adieu.
"I felt insulted when some of the schools wanted me inside, like I wouldn't
be good enough to play outside."
His being on the outside every game this season makes All-America defensive
tackle Rob Waldrop relax.
"I always feel better with Tedy in the game," said Waldrop, the Outland
Trophy and Football Writers' defensive player of the year.
"I really thought he should have played more last year. He's just a wild
There is no doubt in Bruschi's mind that the double-teaming Waldrop endured
left a clear path for him. And he realizes it's possible he could be the next
man opponents double-team.
"If they do it to me next year, it'll leave (Jim) Hoffman open. Let them,
bring it on. I'll find a way around it. They can't double-team me every down."
Besides earning national and conference attention, Bruschi earned a
postseason award of greater value than any of the others. He was voted by his
teammates as the defense's most valuable player.
"That means more to me than anything I've ever accomplished. It means respect
from my teammates. My (teammates) voted for me and they know me as a player
and a person better than any reporter."
The only thing that has gone wrong was a late-season arrest for trespassing
and possession of alcohol (beer) as a minor. The trespass occurred after he,
Hoffman and their dates climbed the fence surrounding Arizona Stadium after
losing to UCLA.
"My life is going so well right now. I don't want anything to stop it.
". . .My mom made the right decision."
Sports Illustrated, Jan 10, 1994
Author: Bruce Newman
When late-blooming Tedy Bruschi began his football career in
high school, he was so innocent of the game's conventions that he put on his
shoulder pads over his jersey. Bruschi's family had just relocated from San
Francisco to Roseville, Calif., north of Sacramento. "We moved because Mom was
scared of the earthquakes," Bruschi explains. His mother's fear of natural
disasters did not, however, include Hurricanes, a fearlessness evidently shared
by her son, who, now all grown up and a sophomore defensive end at Arizona, put
the extra D in the Wildcats' 29-0 humbling of Miami in the Fiesta Bowl.
Arizona's defense reduced the Hurricanes, who had not been
shut out since 1979, to a mere tropical depression, holding them to a measly 35
yards on the ground and 147 in the air. Much of the damage was done by Bruschi,
whose name is pronounced BREW-ski and who, fittingly, once spent a summer
advertising displays for Budweiser. "Some people thought that was pretty funny
because of my name," he allows.
The Hurricanes demonstrated an almost total lack of feel --
and feeling -- for the Fiesta from the moment they won the coin toss and smugly
chose to kick off. Arizona drove the ball 75 yards in eight plays. "I think they
were expecting another 8-7 game, and our offense shocked them," said Bruschi,
referring to the single-figure loss in Miami during the 1992 regular season that
so traumatized the Wildcats. "I was kind of in awe myself actually. I'm like,
`Whoa, we scored.' "
Bruschi's own first order of business in the game was to help
dispose of the Hurricanes' starting quarterback, Ryan Collins. On Miami's third
play from scrimmage, Bruschi chased Collins into the arms of defensive tackle
Jim Hoffman for a five-yard sack. And on the next play Bruschi cut off Collins's
escape avenue and dumped him on his south beach for a 16-yard loss. That was the
way it went all day for the Hurricanes, who snapped the ball 12 times in the
first quarter and either stood still or went backward on 10 of those plays.
Before the quarter was over, all of Miami's swagger was gone. "I think they just
came out and intimidated our offense," said Miami defensive end Darren Krein.
By the start of the second quarter, Collins was gone, too,
replaced by the more experienced but less mobile Frank Costa. Soon Bruschi and
the Wildcats' Outland Trophy winner, noseguard Rob Waldrop, were swarming into
the pocket and leveling the hapless Costa. "I was happy to have Costa in,"
Bruschi later said. "We knew he was a drop-back kind of guy, and we just lick
our chops when we see a guy like that."
Nothing personal, of course. Bruschi had 55 tackles during
the regular season, and half of them were behind the opponent's line of
scrimmage. He led the Pac-10 with 19 sacks and had twice as many traps in the
backfield as Waldrop. "I'm always coming off the ball with my ears pinned back,"
Bruschi says, although you'll have to take his word for it, because his flowing
dark hair obscures his ears. He is only 6 ft. 1 in., but he more than
compensates by launching himself like a missile directly at quarterbacks. "He's
possessed," says Arizona coach Dick Tomey.
When Illinois had a chance to get close enough for a
game-winning field goal against Arizona on Sept. 18, Bruschi stopped the Illini
cold with a pair of sacks. And when Arizona was struggling to hold off
Washington State on Oct. 23, Bruschi sacked Cougar quarterback Chad DeGrenier
twice in the final two minutes. "You rarely see a defensive lineman with that
kind of speed," DeGrenier said.
When you do, just about the only thing that can be done is to
raise your glass and say, "This Bruschi's for you."
CATS' BRUSCHI WON'T REST ON HIS LAURELS
Arizona Republic - SUNDAY, August 14, 1994
By: BOB JACOBSEN, Republic Columnist
TUCSON - For Tedy Bruschi, the 1993 football season was one to remember.
His Arizona Wildcats went 10-2, tied for the Pac-10 title and capped their
season with a 29-0 slamming of Miami in the IBM OS/2 Fiesta Bowl. He led the
Pac-10 in sacks with 18. He was voted the team most valuable player by his
teammates. And he was a second-team All-America pick by The Associated Press.
So is this 6-foot-1, 255-pound junior defensive end satisfied? Can he
improve on his outstanding statistics? Can he possibly be a better player?
Oops, wrong question.
"No doubt," he said, looking as if he's wondering how could one ask that
question. "Twice as good. I'm not out here to be just good. That would be a
cop-out goal. My goal is to surpass what I did last year. I always want to
Sounds like a young man trying to forget, not remember.
"Our goal as a team is to improve every week," Bruschi said. "What kind of
men would we be if our goal was to do just as good?"
Good question. One for which defensive coordinator Larry Mac Duff has an
"Our challenge as coaches to all our guys coming back, and especially our
starters and best players, is to have a better year this year. And Tedy is at
the very top of that list. "We just expect more out of those guys.
They're a year older, more mature, more experienced and have had a year more
to develop. We're going to coach them like we want them to do it, and the neat
thing about it is so far they've all prepared like they want to do it."
Mac Duff knows statistically Bruschi had a tremendous season last year.
Since the first day this Roseville, Calif., native walked on the Arizona
campus, he has been an impact player who made plays.
"He did it as a redshirt freshman two years ago," Mac Duff said, "and last
year he made a tremendous amount of plays.
"I would anticipate and expect he is going to have an outstanding year for
us. He's the feature guy on our defense. We try and give him some
opportunities because he's a guy who can take advantage of situations on the
field. Some guys are playmakers, and he's surely one of them."
One would think with Outland Trophy winner Rob Waldrop gone, Bruschi would
inherit the defensive leadership role. Not so, Coach Dick Tomey said. Bruschi
already had it.
"He and (junior safety) Brandon Sanders," Tomey said. "Tedy was a great
leader for us last year. He has the personality that just rubs off. Our team
plays with a certain intensity that comes from both Tedy and Sanders."
After talking to Bruschi, who chatted with the media no fewer than 90
minutes on media day, one can understand why.
"His motor runs all the time," Tomey said. "It runs in practice, and it ran
in high school. When you looked at film of him, you wanted to keep watching
because it was so great. He's just a wonderful kid."
There is the theory that this defense could be better, yet not achieve the
outstanding statistics its predecessors possessed. Some might think so,
"We don't care what people think," Bruschi said. "Writers can write what
they want, TV reporters can say what they want, but everything depends only on
what we do ourselves."
The Wildcats will get an early chance. They open Sept. 1 on ESPN against
Georgia Tech at Atlanta.
"I am only looking forward to that game right now," Bruschi said. "I want
everybody to see what this team is all about. ESPN is going to help us because
we're going to be ready."
UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA'S BRUSCHI CARRIES ON DEFENSIVE TRADITION
Phoenix Gazette - WEDNESDAY, August 31, 1994
By: Bob Crawford, THE PHOENIX GAZETTE
Paper or plastic?
For Tedy Bruschi, any old sack will do.
Just so long as it's filled with a quarterback.
"I thrive on rushing the passer," he said, in a masterpiece of
Nobody in the Pac-10 does it better, and nobody in the world better
typifies the University of Arizona's Desert Swarm defense.
He is the Wildcats' emotional leader, a demonstrative tackler who
celebrates every sack with uninhibited joy.
And he spends a lot of time in other guys' backfields.
Last year, as a sophomore, he led the conference in sacks with 19, earning
a second-team spot on the AP All-America list and a first-team spot on the
This year, as the Wildcats prepare to open their season Thursday night at
Georgia Tech, he has an appetite for more.
"Our goal for the defense is to improve on last year," he said. "We allowed
30 yards rushing a game or whatever (actually 30.1). Our goal is to beat that.
"Our goal is to improve in every single aspect, because if it wasn't, what
kind of men would we be?
"What would we be if our goal was to come close?"
He started seeing double-team blocking in the season's seventh game, and he
is looking for more of the same this year.
"I welcome it," he said. "If you want to bring the double team, give it
your best shot, because I'm coming in.
"Sometimes, you're going to get me. But sometimes, I'm going to get you."
His spectacular sophomore year was a prime reason the Wildcats finished
with a 10-2 record and a 29-0 Fiesta Bowl win over Miami.
But you will forgive Bruschi if he chooses not to think about the good
When he needs motivation, he looks instead to his first year on campus,
when an inexperienced band of Wildcats stumbled to a 4-7 record in 1991.
He remembers being stepped on by Washington running back Napoleon Kaufman
during a 54-0 loss. It ended his season, but gave him an extra year of
eligibility as a medical redshirt.
The week after, it was UCLA, 54-14, then Miami, 39-6.
"So now everybody asks how we're going to handle being favorites all the
time," he said. "But they don't remember that all the juniors and seniors were
here during that 4-7 season.
"We remember the butt-kickings we got. We know what it's like to lose, and
we don't want to feel that way again."
DEFENSIVE END BRUSCHI A MAN ON MOVE FOR UA
Arizona Republic - SUNDAY, September 18, 1994
By: Marcia Hammond, The Arizona Republic
TUCSON - The car sits for now, but by wintertime everything Arizona defensive
end Tedy Bruschi went through to get it here will have been worth it.
And he's been through a lot, literally, for the 1967 midnight blue Buick.
Through mountains, deserts and mechanics, Bruschi has shown the same
determination getting his first car to run properly as he does getting around
blockers on the football field.
He doesn't give up, which is why the junior pass rusher had a
conference-record 18 sacks last season and 27 1/2 tackles for losses.
And that is why despite all the things that have gone wrong with the car
his older brother, Tony, gave him, Bruschi will be driving it soon.
"It gets cold on a scooter," Bruschi said of his primary and favorite mode
of transportation. "Now I've got a winter vehicle.
"It's always tough carrying stuff on the scooter. I put stuff at my feet,
on my shoulder, over my back, strapped to the little tandem on the back."
Scooters and cars aside, Bruschi is a young man on the move.
Last season, the 6-foot-1, 255-pounder was a second-team All-America
selection and Fiesta Bowl defensive most valuable player.
His rushing ability is surpassed, perhaps, only by the zeal with which he
plays and practices.
"I've never seen people who are bad practice players go out and have a
great game," Arizona Coach Dick Tomey said. "There's no better practice
players in the country than Tedy and (safety) Brandon Sanders. Our personality
on defense is pretty much defined by them. I heard the guys say that when
those two were freshmen. They rub off on everybody else they're so positive
Upbeat probably is not the word the Stanford Cardinal thinks of when
Bruschi comes to mind. No, Stanford, where the No. 9 Wildcats (2-0) play
Saturday afternoon in their Pac-10 opener, probably thinks "beat up," because
that's what he has done.
In the two years Bruschi has faced the Cardinal, he has nine tackles (seven
in last season's victory) and two sacks. He has given quarterback Steve
Stenstrom a couple of concussions and broken his face mask.
In 1992 as a part-time player, Bruschi knocked the ball away from a reserve
quarterback and recovered it at Stanford's 1. It led to UA's first touchdown,
en route to a 21-6 upset.
He's no secret anymore. Bruschi is double-teamed sometimes or, when
officials aren't watching, he's held. Still, he has five tackles and two sacks
through the first two games.
On the field, Bruschi can anticipate what is going to happen. As opposed to
the minefield owning a car can be. Even Richard Petty can't foresee every
hazard behind a wheel. There have been problems with the alternator, charging
system, a leak, and the electrical system seems to be run by a poltergeist.
The car didn't pass its first roll through emissions a couple of weeks ago.
He took care of that and it passed the second time.
"The guy at the shop said, 'Man, your car kicked my butt.' But now it's
fixed," Bruschi said.
None of it has dampened his enthusiasm for the auto.
"Oh, it's sweet. Black top, black interior. It gets really hot inside but
not on touch because it's cloth, not vinyl. You can't escape the heat anywhere
in Arizona, anyway," he said.
Heat hasn't been the trouble, even though the car doesn't have
air-conditioning and has a tendency to overheat.
"Now I need insurance. You know, that's expensive," he said.
Getting the car was cheap and easy. Home in Roseville, Calif., just outside
of Sacramento, for a summer break, Bruschi and his brother were talking about
the scooter. And how Bruschi gets cold in the winter riding it.
"He said, 'Well, do you want my car?' I said, 'Yeah, sure.' He said, 'It's
It needed a little work, but Tony had done
some work to it already. "He, said, 'Hey, it'll get you there, no worries."
That part was true. All the repairs occurred after he got the car here and
had nothing to do with the one worrisome episode of the trip. That was caused
"We almost ran out of gas in the Grapevine," he said.
The Grapevine is a desolate, rugged mountain area of the Tehachapi Range,
which marks the end of California's Central Valley and the beginning of
southern California. California 99 runs through these mountains, where the
incline would frighten mountain goats.
Drivers pass from sea level to about 4,200 feet within a 20-mile stretch
and getting to the other side takes roughly half an hour. Eighteen-wheelers
and other trucks lose their brakes going down, so there are sand pits where
runaway trucks can hurl themselves.
Many cars overheat in the summer during that drive and there are no stops
along the way.
Whatever the gas gauge said as the Grapevine loomed in his windshield,
Bruschi ignored it -- much the way he ignores bigger offensive linemen who are
trying to protect their quarterback.
"I figured I got it covered, no problem." So while his girlfriend, UA
volleyball player Heidi Bomberger slept, Bruschi kept driving.
Even though they had a cellular phone in the car, he began to wonder.
"I didn't want to say anything because she was asleep," he said. Or because
of the likelihood that Bamberger, who had done her road stint without any
problems, would not be pleased with the situation.
He bought gas and maybe Rolaids, as soon as possible.
In the 1 1/2 years Bruschi has owned his beloved scooter, he hasn't had
many problems. Just one, really -- start-up in winter.
He missed a 7 a.m. final examination one December because the scooter
wouldn't start. His roommates, offensive guard Warner Smith and linebacker
Charlie Camp were already on their way to campus. He was stranded.
"But I talked to my teacher and he let me make it up." That has been the
scooter's only failing. Chief among its all-star qualifications are it is
easy to park and it has carried Bruschi and defensive tackle Jim Hoffman (6-4,
"And we pushed it to 45 mph," Bruschi said.
He pushes himself, too, and so does defensive line coach Rich Ellerson.
"I still say I have a ways to go. Coach Ellerson sees parts of my game I
can do better in, techniques I can perfect. I understand that because I just
want to be the best I can."
Wheels optional, hard-driving nature included.
Bruschi Swarms to the Occasion
College football: Defensive end comes up big as leader of vaunted Arizona
Los Angeles Times
October 20, 1994
You can have your technology. Bob Jellison will take common sense and give you a
few Tedy Bruschi stories.
"In his senior season, in the first round of the playoffs, we were playing
Cordova and were down, 18-14, in the last few minutes," said Jellison, who
coached Bruschi at Roseville High, just outside Sacramento. "We go down and
score, and we put Tedy at the point of attack on every play."
Bruschi, who has picked up a few stories of his own as the leader of
Arizona's Desert Swarm defense, remembers.
"If the quarterback called '47 power' or whatever, and it called for the left
tackle to pull, I'd tell him, 'let's switch,' and I would play tackle," Bruschi
said. "Then I would play guard, or wherever the play was run."
For 10 plays and 80 yards, he played up and down the line.
"After that, the other coach said, 'I knew what you were doing, but what the
hell could I do about it?' " Jellison said.
But the story is not complete.
"Well, when we scored, there were about 30 seconds left, so they had time to
come back," Jellison said. "One of our cornerbacks fell asleep on a play, and
they completed a long pass and lined up for a field goal.
"Tedy blocked it."
The stories linger. They were often told in 1990 to recruiters who dismissed
them as high school lore when they looked at a 6-foot-1 lineman who didn't fit
"(Wildcat assistant) Mark Lunsford said, 'I can't believe that everybody's
not here. You just don't see a guy that plays like this,' " Jellison said.
"There were a lot of people to look and they were interested, but they said,
'Well, he's only 6-1, and he's only 240 and. . . .' "
Sarcasm is mixed with disgust when Jellison remembers Bruschi's senior
season. Jellison thought America's colleges would beat a path to his door.
"It's the old computer game," Jellison said.
"He was 6 feet 1. Computers tell most of those colleges to look for 6-4, 6-5,
6-6 defensive linemen. That way, if they can get a 6-6, 275-pound guy who runs
4.7 or 4.6 (in the 40-yard dash) and the guy doesn't pan out, they can tell the
alumni, 'Well, look, he had all the tools.' If you take a chance on a 6-1 guy
and he doesn't pan out, it's harder to explain."
Nobody has to explain Bruschi, Arizona's defensive end and spiritual leader.
He is happy to explain himself. Bruschi likes to talk almost as much as he
likes to hit quarterbacks--and he likes to hit quarterbacks.
Bruschi led the Pac-10 in sacks last season with 19 1/2. He played alongside
Outland Trophy winner Rob Waldrop, who faced blockers from every direction in
his senior season, freeing up Bruschi to roam. Now Bruschi has the reputation
and gets the attention, and Chuck Osborne, who replaced Waldrop, leads Arizona
with seven sacks. Bruschi has six.
"The first thing you do when you come up to the line is to find out where he
is," said UCLA center Mike Flanagan, who has been looking at Bruschi since their
high school days. They will meet again Saturday in Tucson.
Though he moves from side to side on the defensive line, Bruschi isn't hard
"He has that look in his eyes that says, 'I'm crazy,' " Flanagan said.
It also says that he's a player on a mission.
"Mark Lunsford, the guy who recruited me here, and Larry Lewis, the guy from
Washington State who recruited me, those guys looked beyond the height and
weight and saw what I was doing on the field," Bruschi said. "You've got to have
people like that in your program. If you just recruit for numbers, a defense
like ours is going to come along and we're going to put your numbers in the
That, Arizona has done.
The Wildcats are eighth in the nation in total defense, fourth in rushing and
scoring defense and regard all of those numbers as a sign of a down season.
"We are offended when people score against us," Bruschi said.
They are second in the Pac-10 in all three categories, behind Washington
State, which they defeated, 10-7, last Saturday.
Bruschi made six tackles, one of them a sack of Chad Davis, while facing
double-team blocking all day long.
It's nothing new.
"I can understand (Waldrop's) situation," Bruschi said. "Guys were focusing
on Rob last year, and he took the pressure on like a champ. He realized what he
had to do and played his role and let the other guys have their time in the sun.
I'm not saying I'm getting less numbers because they're putting more guys on me.
I'm not making excuses. I'm saying I want to win, and if it takes my getting
fewer numbers for us to win, so be it."
The numbers are not that far down. Bruschi has eight tackles for losses
totaling 55 yards, has recovered two fumbles and blocked a Georgia Tech
field-goal attempt in the Wildcats' opener. He has 29 1/2 sacks in 31 college
games and has tackled opposing players for losses totaling 296 yards.
Bruschi had a sack in 15 consecutive games, the streak being blown by
wishbone-running Oregon State.
Two of those sacks came against UCLA last season, and one caused a Wayne Cook
fumble that Arizona recovered. The Wildcats scored on the next play.
Another came in the Fiesta Bowl, when Arizona built the momentum that it took
into this season by beating Miami, 29-0.
Bruschi, a communications major, naturally, was the defensive MVP in the
Fiesta and waxed loquacious at game's end. His comments have lingered.
"I guess I've been known to throw some one-liners at the press that they
really caught on to," he said, laughing. "After the Fiesta Bowl, they were
telling me good job, and I said the Desert Swarm will be back for more in '94."
Arizona's sports publicists recognized a good thing. "Desert Swarm will be
back for more in '94" is on a poster, near the telephone in a Tucson apartment
Bruschi shares with two teammates.
The phone rings a lot. Bruschi is a reporter's dream.
"Hey, I just have fun," he said.
That, and the crazy look he affects in games, have given him a reputation as
something of a wild child. Long hair and a 255-pound body dwarfing his
motorcycle add to the effect, particularly when his girlfriend, Arizona
volleyball player Heidi Bomberger, is riding, too.
He dismisses it all as perception. The motorcycle is a way to beat the
university's parking system. "I get the best spots in town," he said. "Drive it
right up to the classroom door." Besides, he has a car now. "My brother got it
for me," he said. "It's a '67 Buick, a sporty one."
And the talk? It's mainly inspiration, aimed at teammates, Bruschi said. "I
don't taunt the opposition. Well, there is talking, but that's just part of the
game. I don't talk to the point where people say that guy needs to shut up. If
something needs to be said, I'll say it. I'd rather lead by example."
He has done that at Arizona, where he's getting the last word about the
things that kept him from being a hot commodity in the recruiting class of 1990.
Bruschi selected as one of four Lombardi Award
By Patrick Klein
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Arizona junior defensive end Tedy Bruschi was
named one of the four finalists for the 1994 Lomardi Award, given annually to
the nation's best lineman.
The four finalists were announced yesterday by the
Rotary Club of Houston, which administers the award.
Derrick Brooks of Florida State, a finalist last
year, Warren Sapp of Miami (Fla.) and Zach Wiegert of Nebraska are the other
finalists for the award, which will be given out Dec. 1 at a banquet in
"I just play hard," Bruschi said after learning of
his selection. "I'm not the biggest guy in the world, I just go out there and
give it my best."
"No one has had more of an impact on this program
from their sophomore year on then Tedy Bruschi," said UA coach Dick Tomey on a
cellular phone during the Wildcats' practice.
Bruschi, also a finalist for the Football News
Player of the Year, has seven quarterback sacks this season, to go with 32
total tackles and two fumble recoveries. Last season, Bruschi led the Pac-10
with 19 sacks.
BRUSCHI IS AP ALL-AMERICAN
Arizona Republic - THURSDAY, December 8, 1994
By: Marcia Hammon
Between studying for finals and accepting football awards, Arizona defensive
end Tedy Bruschi has been as busy off the field recently as he is on the
Bruschi, a junior, on Wednesday was selected to The Associated Press
All-America team. The selection elevated Bruschi to consensus All-America
"They picked one member off one of the best teams in the country, and I'm
fortunate to be the one," Bruschi said. "It was a (defensive-line effort) that
helped me get this recognition."
Before the regular-season finale against Arizona State on Nov. 25, Bruschi
had been picked to the American Football Coaches and Football Writers
All-America squads. Consensus requires selection to three of five designated
Bruschi, 6-foot-1, 255 pounds, was one of only two Pac-10 players to make
the AP first team. He was joined by Southern Cal offensive lineman Tony
Boselli. Both were all-conference first-team selections.
The team was dominated by seniors. Bruschi, also a finalist for the
Football News defensive player of the year, was one of seven juniors.
Among them are likely Heisman Trophy winner Rashaan Salaam of Colorado, who
rushed for 2,055 yards and scored 24 touchdowns, and Miami defensive tackle
Warren Sapp, who beat out Bruschi for the Lombardi Award as the top lineman.
It is the third straight year that the No. 15 Wildcats have had a player
attain consensus status. Defensive tackle Rob Waldrop, who played at Horizon
High, was consensus his junior and senior seasons. Wildcats place-kicker
Steve McLaughlin, who last week won the Lou Groza Award as outstanding kicker,
was selected to the third team.
The senior out of Tucson Sahuaro High finished behind the two kickers he
beat for the Groza, Brian Leaver of Bowling Green and Remy Hamilton of
An integral part of the "Desert Swarm" defense that was second in the
country against the run and 10th-best overall, Bruschi finished the regular
season with 39 tackles.
He had a team-high 15 tackles for losses totaling 86 yards and had 10
sacks, giving him at least one sack in 21 of his past 23 games. He also
recovered four fumbles.
Last season as a second-team AP selection, Bruschi had 55 tackles and a
conference-record 18 sacks.
He was named the 1994 Fiesta Bowl's most valuable player on defense.
The All-America team will make its annual TV appearance on the Bob Hope
Christmas Show on Wednesday on Channel 12. The show was taped last Sunday.
WILDCATS' BRUSCHI MAY JUMP TO NFL
Phoenix Gazette - SATURDAY, December 10, 1994
By: Bob Crawford
Ask Tedy Bruschi if he will be coming back to the
University of Arizona football team, and the answer is straightforward.
"I have to," he said Friday. "We have one more game to play."
That would be the Freedom Bowl in Anaheim, Calif., against Utah on Dec. 27.
Beyond that, the All-American defensive end is noncommittal.
"I'll tell you in the locker room after the Freedom Bowl," he said.
Bruschi and his teammates began practice for their third consecutive bowl
game today, with the distinct possibility that the junior pass-rush specialist
might decide to renounce his senior year of eligibility to enter the NFL
If he does, it will be the second consecutive year the Wildcats have lost a
key junior to the pros. Last season, it was tailback Chuck Levy, who bade
farewell after Arizona's 29-0 win over Miami in the Fiesta Bowl. He became the
Cardinals' second-round pick.
If anything, Bruschi's credentials are better. He was a consensus
All-America selection this year and was one of five finalists for the Lombardi
Trophy, awarded to college football's most outstanding lineman. He had 10
sacks among his 39 tackles and recovered four fumbles.
If Bruschi refuses to talk about specifics before the Freedom Bowl, he does
not mind talking in generalities.
In that case, what would it take to lure a hypothetical junior away from a
hypothetical school in the desert? "If they flashed the hypothetical
million-dollar bill in my face, I might have to follow it," he said with a
Bruschi doesn't deny the idea of leaving has crossed his mind. "Ever
single player in Division One - or Division Two, Three, Four, Five or Six -
dreams about playing on Sundays," he said.
'94 HYPE IS HISTORY AS WILDCATS GRIP
Arizona Republic - FRIDAY, August 11, 1995
By: Marcia Hammond,
TUCSON - The Sports Illustrated issue
that proclaimed Arizona and its cover boys the No. 1 college football team in
the country last summer is in a dresser drawer, underneath a pile of Tedy
"We're not top dog this year and that's fine with me," the senior
All-American defensive end said Thursday.
Being top dog at the start of last season brought hollow barking --
underachieving for a second-place tie in the Pac-10, a No. 20 ranking, and a
season-ending loss to Utah in the Freedom Bowl.
When preseason camp opens here today, hype will not make an appearance, a
predicted fifth-place finish by conference watchers aside.
Like a dieter who walks away from second servings, the Wildcats plan to do
what is healthiest for them -- just play and forget the rest.
"We're not on the cover, who cares? This is a totally different year. What
happened last year is irrelevant," Bruschi continued, his voice rising with
irritation, sentence by sentence.
Finally, the tiny hallway echoes with this statement: "I'm not answering
any more questions about last year! Ask me about this team -- this offensive
line, about (quarterback) Danny White and how he's good, the next game. I
don't want to talk about an 8-4 season that I don't think about anymore."
Bruschi will have at least 11 games this season to use as replacement
Getting to a 12th game -- postseason -- will take the concerted effort of
Coach Dick Tomey's 10 returning starters plus a slew of newcomers.
The school's all-time leading rusher, Ontiwaun Carter, is gone. So is the
entire starting offensive line and integral parts of the defense -- linebacker
Sean Harris, free safety Tony Bouie and end Akil Jackson.
"We've got a lot of guys who have worked awfully hard and a lot of
outstanding senior leadership," Tomey said. "We have to hope that's going to
parlay itself on the field."
Off the field, there has been some trouble. Police are investigating (no
charges have been filed) a fight at a party last spring attended by several
players, including all-conference strong safety Brandon Sanders.
On the field there is White, who passed for 2,181 yards last season, which
put him fifth on the all-time single-season chart.
He will operate behind an inexperienced line after bidding farewell to his
regular protectors, but he should have strong receivers, led by Richard Dice.
The offensive front, which was supposed to be among the best in the
conference last season, didn't come through in big games.
"The offensive line obviously is a question mark, and it will be until we
face a good defense," Tomey said. "We just need to be able to run the ball
against a good team, which we were unable to do last year and that makes it
tough (on a quarterback)."
White doesn't complain about pressure or burdens but will confess he
doesn't miss the commotion that surrounded last season's efforts.
"When you have people patting you on the back, telling you you're awesome,
you tend to slack off," he said. "It's human nature. There wasn't a time a
player here slacked off, but not being rated so high is positive. Arizona
plays better as an underdog."
Source: Sports Illustrated, August
Author: Tim Layden
On a visit in June to central New York State, where his son,
Rich, was pitching for an independent minor league baseball team, Arizona coach
Dick Tomey took a side trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. "I was
like a kid in a candy store," says the 57-year-old Tomey, which is no surprise
because he still plays baseball in the Tucson City League with players half his
age. At the Hall of Fame, at a booth that measures the velocity of pitches,
Tomey threw baseballs for 20 minutes, until he clocked the fastest pitch
ever--64 mph--for a person his age.
All this makes Tomey sound like a stubborn man with something
to prove, and it's an apt description. Apt for Tomey's team, too. A year ago SI
picked Arizona to win the national championship, and most other prognosticators
thought the Wildcats would finish in the Top 10 and play in their first Rose
Bowl. Instead, they lost to Colorado State early, to Utah in the Freedom Bowl
late and to Oregon and USC in between. Arizona wound up 8-4.
The Wildcats never adjusted to the role of being the hunted.
"A lot of us are unrecruited guys who never got credit for anything," says
senior All-America defensive end Tedy Bruschi. "All of a sudden we wake up one
day last year and everybody says, 'You're top dog. How are you going to handle
it?' Looking back, not very well." The
season wasn't entirely a disaster. The Wildcats' 6-2 Pac-10 record matched their
conference best, and had they reversed the 10-9 loss at Oregon, they would have
gone to Pasadena. Nonetheless, the sudden vulnerability of the Desert Swarm
defense, which baffled and intimidated Pac-10 teams the three
previous years, was a major source of concern around Tucson. Arizona remained
tough against the run (second in the nation), but gave up an average of 220
yards a game in the air.
The falloff was partly due to league opponents' having
learned the oddball tendencies of the Wildcats' double eagle-flex defense.
"Sure, they understand it better now," says Tomey. "But we understand it better,
too." Expect only minor changes in how the unit operates. "Good defense still
beats good offense," says Tomey.
Heading the defense once again will be Bruschi, the 6'1",
245-pound Tasmanian devil who has 51-1/2 tackles for losses, including 37-1/2
sacks, in three years. Constant talk that he is too small to play in the NFL has
obscured his brilliant college career. "I've never heard another player get
asked so much about his weight," says Bruschi.
He bulked up to 255 pounds in the off-season only to find
that he was slowed by the extra weight. This year he's back to his old playing
weight, a sure headache for offensive coordinators. Most often he'll be up front
with junior tackle Joe Sala ve'a and senior nose tackle Chuck Osborne. No team
has a better front core.
Senior strong safety Brandon Sanders, the 5'10", 177-pound big-hit
specialist, anchors a secondary that was burned for 13 touchdowns last year.
He's duly embarrassed. "The wheels came off, I don't know why," Sanders says.
"But I do know we'll be much better." Senior quarterback Dan White, who
completed 57% of
his passes in '94, will be expected to do what Tomey's quarterbacks are always
expected to do: Play it safe and not lose games. He will work with a rebuilt
The Wildcats' most useful weapon may be the perception that
they blew their chance last season. "People either slap you in the face or pat
you on the back," says Bruschi. "I don't like being slapped, but I really don't
like being patted on the back."
That won't be a problem this year--at least until the
Wildcats start winning games.
expectations high for season opener
By Arlie Rahn
When senior Tedy
Bruschi walks on the field at Arizona Stadium tomorrow night, he will be
entering the final season opener of his illustrious college career. And he
wants it to be one to remember.
"This is going to
be my last opener here, and I want it to be the best," Bruschi said. "I want
everyone in Arizona Stadium to get up when the game is over and say, 'That was
a hell of a football game.'"
But trying to rain
on Bruschi's parade will be a University of Pacific team that has given
Arizona fits in the past. The 1993 meeting between these teams ended in a
hard-fought, 16-13 Arizona victory. The Tigers were also one of the NCAA's
most improved teams last season, as they bettered their 3-8 mark of 1993 to
6-5 last season.
"Pacific is a
gritty team; they never give up. Therefore, they play a lot of very close
games," said UA coach Dick Tomey. "We can't overlook them; we have to play
hard and take care of the ball."
Pacific team will be all-Big West Conference tailback Joe Abdullah.
ignore the run when we have Joe in the backfield," said Pacific coach Chuck
Shelton. "He's our big-play guy and has consistently come through for us."
1,166 yards last season and had four straight games in which he rushed for
over 100 yards. He is recovering from a toe injury and might not be at 100
percent, but his ability still makes him a formidable opponent.
"They have a pretty
good running back in Abdullah," Bruschi said. "He's got good speed, so we're
going to have to shut him down to be successful."
Nick Sellars took over the quarterback duties last November and never looked
back. He finished the season on a good note, throwing for 403 yards against
San Jose State. But junior college transfer Chad Fotheringham should put
pressure on Sellars for time.
"Sellars is an
outstanding quarterback, but we got Chad for insurance," Shelton said. "At
6-foot-6, Chad also has a height factor over Nick."
But for Bruschi and
company, it doesn't matter who Pacific throws out against them.
watching a lot of tape and it seems they do a lot of misdirection and boot
stuff," Bruschi said. "We've prepared more for this game than we will for
Georgia Tech and USC. We've been focused on it since (Camp) Cochise."
One of the players
that had a high amount of success in Arizona's last meeting with Pacific was
starting tailback Gary Taylor. Taylor, a freshman at the time, ran for 175
yards and was the difference in the game. It is a little ironic that Taylor
now will get the call as a senior against the team that launched his career.
"Gary had a
terrific camp and is ready to have a fabulous year," Tomey said.
But even when this
game is over, Pacific will not be out of the woods. The Wildcats are just one
of three top 30 teams this school of 4,000 people has scheduled. Two of them
are defending national champion Nebraska and Rose Bowl runner-up Oregon. So
why would such a small school schedule such big-time teams?
Fresno State coach Jim Sweeney. "Pacific has to do that so it can maintain its
program. It's that simple."
receive $800,000 from the nonconference teams it visits, including $400,000
from Nebraska, $250,000 from Arizona, and $150,000 from Oregon. That money
pays for travel expenses and helps fund $20,000-a-year scholarships.
And while the
Tigers will probably begin the year 0-3, some things cannot be measured by
wins and losses.
"It's a diffucult
thing to have to face," Shelton said. "But the financial returns are too great
to turn down."
'Swarm' alive and well
By Arlie Rahn 9/01/85
Arizona Daily Wildcat
With the loss of two
defensive line starters to graduation, one question the Arizona faithful may be
wondering this season is, "Is 'Desert Swarm' dead?"
If that's the case,
senior All-American Tedy Bruschi is here to respond with an emphatic "No."
"As long as Tedy
Bruschi is here at the University of Arizona, along with Brandon Sanders,
Charlie Camp and Thomas Demps, Desert Swarm is here and it's not going to be
gone until we leave," Bruschi said.
And the main reason
that Desert Swarm is here to stay Ÿ at least for one more season Ÿ is on the
shoulders of the Wildcats' four defensive linemen. The unit stifled opponents to
just 65 yards a game last season with an average of 1.9 yards a carry. They also
recorded a league-high 47 sacks, costing teams over 300 yards.
"Tedy Bruschi, Chuck
Osborne and Joe Salave'a give us a tremendous start on the defensive line
entering this season," said UA coach Dick Tomey. "Through last season, they know
what it takes to be successful and they know how to give that effort."
One of last year's
biggest surprises was Salave'a's development into a big-time player. He was
second among interior linemen with 27 tackles, including five for losses and
three for sacks, and had won a start by the fifth game of the season.
What was not a
surprise, however, was the fact that last year's line did not allow an opposing
runner to gain 100 yards, moving its streak to 34 games, dating back to 1992.
Teams have tried everything from double-teaming to using two tight ends Ÿ the
end result, however, has been the same: frustration for the opposing offense.
"If other teams
double-team us, that's just fine with me," said Osborne, the starting nose
guard. "Because if they do that, they'll just leave one of us open and that is
quite a gamble with our line."
Osborne could be a
main force this season when teams concentrate too much on Bruschi and Salave'a,
forgetting about the man in the middle.
"Chuck has a great
work ethic," Bruschi said. "I'm going to have to push myself just to keep up
with him in sacks."
Still, Tomey is
hesitant to compare this unit to those of previous installments of Desert Swarm.
"This year's line has
the potential to be as good as any we've had," Tomey said. "But we won't make
any comparisons until we can evaluate this season's performance
Last call for Bruschi
By Craig Sanders
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Skateboarding down Golden Gate Street
in San Francisco, a kid could travel around the city all day, a quarter for a
trolley ticket taking him from Fisherman's Wharf with its biting cold ocean
winds and lapping gray sea to Chinatown or Lombard Street.
Tedy Bruschi could go out with his
friends every day and find a new challenge to satisfy his self-proclaimed
reckless abandon. He could come home and fight with his sister Natalia or
brother Tony or see if he could skateboard down a long set of stairs, the sound
of the wheels knocking against the concrete.
When Bruschi moved to Roseville, Calif. a small city north of San Francisco and entered high school, it could easily
have become a culture shock for the 14-year-old. The small town of Roseville
lacked the San Francisco's flavor, but Bruschi soon found other distractions.
One day he walked into the cafeteria
and saw his friends lined up, their cleats sitting on the floor next to them. He
asked them what they were for.
"Football," one of them said. "There
are tryouts today. You should come out."
"Heck, why not," Bruschi answered.
He showed up for practice that
afternoon, wearing an old pair of sneakers. The coach came out, whistle blowing,
watching the boys line up in their chosen positions. Bruschi stood in the middle
of the field and looked around as everyone else trotted off. He had played
football before, on the long green lawns in a park in San Francisco, but it was
like most children's games: throw the ball and tackle whoever catches it.
The coach looked over and saw Bruschi
"You, get over there with the defensive
lineman," he said.
Fate made the first spin of its wheel.
Bruschi never left the line.
Bruschi, 22, will play his last game at
Arizona Stadium on Saturday against Oregon. It has been a long voyage for him
with Arizona, five years in the making. He helped guide his teams to three
straight winning seasons and the best record among Pacific 10 Conference teams
in his four playing years with the Wildcats. He has 49.5 sacks in his career at
Arizona, leaving him only 2.5 behind career sack leader Derrick Thomas (Alabama
1985-88). But for Bruschi, his final home game will bring far different feelings
than any of those accomplishments.
"I've never been nervous about a home
game before like I am about this one," Bruschi said. "I know it's my last home
game. I know it's the last time I'll hear the fans go 'Bruuuschi.' Mostly I'm
excited because it is an opportunity to win and get the team back in bowl
Sitting in McKale Center, Bruschi,
fifth-year communications senior, recounts how he has changed from that lost
youth standing alone in the middle of the field to the all-time sack leader in
Pac-10 Conference history.
A white cap was pulled backward over
his shaggy black hair, his wide shoulders stretching his T-shirt. He told his
story with a laugh, a smile, an occasional grim expression on his darkly tanned
face that spoke of his half-Italian, half-Filipino heritage.
He had come into the Arizona program
wearing that trademark black hair.
"He looked like Jesus when he got
here," senior linebacker Charlie Camp said.
Bruschi has earned his share of awards.
An All-America player, a two-time finalist for the Lombardi Trophy, given to
college football's best defensive lineman, the top-rated defensive player in a
number of college magazines Ÿ they are all individual accomplishments he shares
with his team.
"Everything I earn, everything I get,
is just a reflection of what the team has accomplished," Bruschi said.
When he recorded three sacks Sept. 16
against Illinois, he broke the Pac-10 sack record. For the 6-foot-1, 243-pound
defensive lineman, it was a moment when he entered the record books.
Unfortunately, no matter what he accomplishes, the football world will always
judge him on his size. At his weight, he is simply not a giant among defensive
"The thing that bothers me the most is
that people would pay so much attention to a guy's physical attributes," Bruschi
said. "It's not about that. They don't measure the desire to play the game."
It is Bruschi's reckless abandon on the
football field that has characterized his play.
"He has a motor that never quits,"
Arizona head coach Dick Tomey said. "He has such an incredible intensity.
Bruschi will do whatever it takes to win. He is also one of the best leaders
that I have ever coached."
Bruschi has garnered respect from
coaches and players around the league as one of the nation's premier pass
rushers. His name and face have shown up everywhere from the front of Sports
Illustrated to the inside of Playboy magazine in its college football issue to
Bob Hope's Christmas special.
In the process, Bruschi has been
transformed from a person to a name and face. Fans know him for the passion he
shows on the field as he runs down quarterbacks, big number 68 turning around
the edge of the offensive line and violently introducing himself. He is
identified with his bushy hair, his interesting quotes, the way he seems to
encompass the very heart of Arizona's Desert Swarm defense.
Yet there is more to Tedy Bruschi than
that, just as there is more to any athlete. There is the Tedy Bruschi who walks
from practice and signs autographs, or gives countless interviews or still can't
beat his brother Tony in arm wrestling. There is the Tedy Bruschi who wouldn't
talk about himself to reporters as a freshman because he thought he hadn't done
anything to deserve the recognition. There is the Tedy Bruschi who huddled
around team members to offer them support after the death of teammate Damon
"The biggest change I've undergone
since coming here is that I've grown to be a man," Bruschi said. "I would tell
anybody who wanted to come here, 'You're 18 years old when you get here. You'll
be about 21, and you'll be a man when you leave.'"
His mother, Juanita, and stepfather,
Ronald Sandys, supported Bruschi, though he says his mother didn't exactly
understand the game at first. They helped him through high school, and when it
came time to make a decision about college, it wasn't whether he could play
collegiate ball, but whether he wanted to.
"Actually, the decision at the time was
between playing football and playing the saxophone," Bruschi said. "I think I
made the right decision."
Bruschi's change began when he first
arrived on campus in 1991 as a recruit of UA running back coach Mark Lunsford.
At the time, the defensive lineman had three options: He could have gone to
Washington State, Brigham Young or Arizona. BYU wanted him to convert to
linebacker, which he was unwilling to do at the time, and Washington State never
got a chance. He fell in love with Tucson.
"The whole city just has a kind of
atmosphere," Bruschi said. "When I visited colleges I asked myself if I could
spend the next five years of my life there. When I came to Tucson, I knew I
Injuries among the Wildcat players that
first season pushed Bruschi from practice squad member to second string to
starter in short order. He played in three games that season, breaking his thumb
and receiving a medical redshirt. At the time, Bruschi was disappointed, but he
would unknowingly find himself thankful.
"It was just like the time the coach
said, 'You, go over to the defensive line,'" Bruschi said. "I wouldn't be here
right now if it hadn't been for that broken thumb."
Bruschi will leave Arizona Stadium
forever after tomorrow's Homecoming game, shaking his black hair and walking
from the field. He will most likely head to the NFL, to a big city with trolleys
or a lapping gray sea.
Tedy Bruschi will be prepared for
whatever challenges await. The five years at Arizona may have transformed him
into a man, but Bruschi still attacks life with the same reckless abandon of his
BRUSCHI'S NEXT CHALLENGE ASU, THEN NFL
Phoenix Gazette - THURSDAY, November 23, 1995
By: Mark Armijo
Ready or not Arizona State, here comes Tedy Bruschi. And, boy, is this guy
ever on a mission.
"I learned after my first game against them (the Sun Devils) the animosity
between the universities and the two towns," said Bruschi, Arizona's senior
All-America defensive end. "There's not a lot that we like about each other.
The thing is, I just want to finish the season with a good taste in my mouth.
And I'm telling you, we're ready.
"I know they are, too. They've won four in a row, but (the wins) haven't
been against us. We don't care how many they've won, who they've played,
anything like that.
"It's just ASU vs. UA, and the UA is going to come out (on top)."
There. Case closed. End of subject.
Next topic, please.
"It's just that there's a lot of pride and respect that goes on with this
game," Bruschi said. "This game means everything to a lot of us. I haven't
lost to them a lot (once in three tries), and I don't believe that will happen
again this Friday."
On Friday at Sun Devil Stadium, the teams will meet for the 69th time.
Arizona leads the 96-year-old series, 39-28-1, and has won the past two.
If it becomes three straight, you can bet Bruschi (pronounced BREW-ski, not
BRUISE-key) will have much to do with it.
Not only is Bruschi one of four finalists for the Lombardi Award for the
second straight season, the 6-foot-1, 243-pound lineman needs only three more
sacks to pass Derrick Thomas and become the all-time NCAA leader.
With 12 sacks this season, Bruschi has 49.5, which already is enough to put
him atop the all-time, Pac-10 ladder.
"The guy has a zest for playing and he probably has a zest for life," ASU
Coach Bruce Snyder said. "When you're looking at a recruit, you ask, 'Does he
really love football, wouldn't quit if it was the last thing on earth?'
"Well, Tedy Bruschi would rank very high on that list. He loves football.
He loves playing. He doesn't become fatigued."
Yes, that's exactly what UA coaches scribbled in their note pads when they
became one of the few schools to court Bruschi out of high school in
"Tedy has set the standard for practice and playing in games," UA Coach
Dick Tomey said. "There's a youthful exuberance and excitement about him.
"But he was that way the first day he got here, which wasn't a surprise
because anybody who looked at him on the high-school tape had to know that's
what he was going to be. That's why it's so amazing that some people looked at
him and decided not to go with him."
Bruschi recalls only Arizona and Washington State making a hard push for
his signature on the dotted line. Now, he wonders whether he will receive the
same treatment next April in the NFL draft.
"I know (NFL) people are going to have their doubts just like some people
did coming out of high school," Bruschi said. "Not a lot of colleges were
after me, but I only needed one college and Arizona was my one college.
"Now, I only need one pro team to be interested in me, too. I not only feel
like I can play there, but I feel I can succeed at the next level. If it takes a
position change, fine.
"I've heard talk about maybe I might be moved to outside linebacker, but
that's OK. I can cover man-to-man and make zone drops. I can run backwards,
sideways, up and down, anywhere.
"I'm not super fast, but I've got confidence in my ability. I always do
everything to try and meet the challenge in front of me."
Bruschi's next challenge after trying to take care of business against ASU
will be to impress NFL scouts.
"Can he play in the NFL?" Tomey asked. "You bet he can. People may disagree
and say Tedy's too small or too slow, but if he can't play up there, then they
need to change the game."
Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. projects Bruschi will go somewhere between the
fifth and seventh rounds.
"The question mark is how will he adapt to the pro scheme," Kiper said.
"Will he be used as a down lineman in third-and-long, pass-rush situations. Or
will teams try to play him up and move him around like (linebacker) Bryce Paup
"Tedy's got good numbers (in college) and he's got great closing speed. But
he's not tall. That works against him. And he just doesn't have that great raw
physical ability. I think he would be a dynamic special-teams player. He's a
Perhaps. But Bruschi likes to believe he will create more of an impact.
"That's just me," Bruschi said. "I believe in myself.
"I came to (Arizona) as an 18-year-old, young and sort of scared. I didn't
know what to expect from college football, much less life. But Coach Tomey
taught a lot. He taught me to be a good player and a good person.
"Then, this year, I felt like I needed to step it up even more. And I feel
like I did. Now, I lead the Pac-10 in quarterback sacks and all that blah,
blah, blah. Sure, it's a personal goal to become the all-time (NCAA) sack
leader, and I plan to get some more (against ASU), but it's more important for
my team to win.
"If we get the win and I don't get the sack record, fine. Beating ASU is
what we all want the most."
ASU TRIO NAMED ALL-PAC-10 UA'S BRUSCHI
PICKED LEAGUE'S TOP DEFENDER
Phoenix Gazette - TUESDAY, November 28, 1995
By: Bob Eger
Arizona State placed three players on the All-Pac-10 football team Monday, but
once again, the Sun Devils were upstaged by Arizona defensive end Tedy
Bruschi, who played a major role in Arizona's 31-28 come-from-behind
victory over ASU on Friday in Tempe, was named Defensive Player of the Year in
balloting by the conference's coaches. Southern California wide receiver
Keyshawn Johnson was chosen Offensive Player of the Year.
ASU's first-team selections were quarterback Jake Plummer, wide receiver
Keith Poole and offensive tackle Juan Roque.
Bruschi, a senior from Roseville, Calif., was one of four Wildcats selected
to the 27-man first team. USC and Oregon also had four first-team selections
Bruschi is a two-time first-team All-American and one of four finalists for
the Lombardi Award, which is given annually to the nation's top lineman.
Bruschi, who led the Pac-10 with 14 1/2 sacks, finished with 52 career
sacks, tying the NCAA record.
Bruschi is the only three-time selection on the all-conference team.
Arizona Coach Dick Tomey said Bruschi "knows what it takes and he always
gives the effort. His motor never stops running."
Other first-team selections from Arizona were defensive lineman Chuck
Osborne, defensive back Brandon Sanders and Armon Williams in the
ASU's three first-teamers all are juniors. ASU will have more first-team
picks returning next season than any other school.
ASU defensive back Mitchell Freedman was named to the second team as was
teammate Pat Tillman in the all-purpose category. Arizona defensive back Kelly
Malveaux was a second-team pick.
Arizona State had six honorable-mention selections -- inside linebacker
Justin Dragoo, tailback Chris Hopkins, kicker Robert Nycz, cornerback Jason
Simmons, inside linebacker Scott Von der Ahe and flyback Ryan Wood.
Five Arizona players earned honorable-mention honors. They are wide
receiver Richard Dice, center Mani Ott, punter Matt Payton, defensive tackle
Joe Salave'a and quarterback Dan White.
Bruschi repeats as AP All-American
By Craig Degel 12/7/95
Arizona Daily Wildcat
As if there was any doubt.
The Associated Press All-America football team was announced yesterday and
heading the defense was Arizona defensive end Tedy Bruschi, the only returner
from last year's first team.
Bruschi had 14 1/2 sacks this season to tie Derrick Thomas' NCAA career record
of 52, which he did in his final game, against Arizona State Nov. 24.
Bruschi was in Houston Wednesday for the presentation of the Lombardi Award
and was unavailable for comment.
Two of the other three Lombardi finalists Ÿ UCLA's Jonathan Ogden and Ohio
State's Orlando Pace Ÿ were first-teamers. The third, Illinois' Simeon Rice,
was a second-team selection.
Bruschi, who was also a finalist last year, is the third consecutive Wildcat
to be among the top four considered for the award, given to the country's top
lineman. Rob Waldrop was a finalist in 1993.
Arizona coach Dick Tomey, who will join Bruschi in Houston for tonight's
presentation, stopped short of offering a prediction but made it known who he
thought deserved the award.
"To me it's a no-brainer," Tomey said. "What he's done is so measurable. For
him to be nominated twice and for us to have three in a row is unprecedented."
The question now remains whether Bruschi's numbers can overcome what Tomey
called "regional bias" Ÿ the tendency of the Eastern voters to choose the
players they've seen play the most.
Nebraska quarterback Tommy Frazier moved a step closer to the Heisman Trophy
with his selection as first-team quarterback. Frazier's closest competition Ÿ
Ohio State running back Eddie George and Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel Ÿ
were first-team and second-team selections, respectively.
Wuerffel and Frazier will go head-to-head when their schools meet Jan. 2 in
the Fiesta Bowl in Tempe.
BRUSCHI ON AP ALL-AMERICA TEAM FIESTA BOWL-BOUND FRAZIER,
GEORGE LEAD OFFENSE
Arizona Republic - Thursday, December 7, 1995
By: Associated Press
Arizona defensive end Tedy Bruschi, who tied the NCAA career sacks record,
made the Associated Press All-America football first team Wednesday for the
second straight season.
Bruschi, the only repeater from last year's team, had 14 1/2 sacks to tie
the NCAA career record of 52 set by Alabama's Derrick Thomas.
Tommie Frazier, who led top-ranked Nebraska to its third straight
undefeated regular season and an appearance for the national title against No.
2 Florida in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, led the offense. Joining him were
rushing champion Troy Davis of Iowa State and scoring leader Eddie George of
Davis is only the fifth runner in NCAA history to gain more than 2,000
yards in a season. He finished with 2,010 yards, including an Iowa
State-record 302 against Nevada-Las Vegas.
George led Division I-A with 24 touchdowns and was fifth in rushing with
152 yards a game.
Along with George, the Buckeyes had wide receiver Terry Glenn and offensive
lineman Orlando Pace. Frazier was joined by Nebraska center Aaron Graham and
defensive lineman Jared Tomich.
Glenn caught 57 passes for a school-record 1,316 yards and 17 touchdowns.
The other wide receiver is Southern California's Keyshawn Johnson, who set a
Pac-10 mark with 90 receptions and an NCAA record with 12 straight 100-yard
receiving games. Tight end Marco Battaglia of Rutgers led everyone at his
position in receptions (69), receiving yards (894) and touchdowns (10).
The all-purpose player is Leeland
McElroy of Texas A&M, who rushed for 1,122 yards, caught 25 passes for 379
yards, returned nine kicks for 208 yards and scored 16 touchdowns.
Joining Pace and Graham on the offensive line are Jonathan Ogden of UCLA,
Jason Odom of Florida and Heath Irwin of Colorado.
Running back Darnell Autry of Northwestern, a Tempe High graduate, was on
the second team.
2 Wildcats picked in draft
By Arlie Rahn
The waiting has finally ended.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
April 22, 1996
When the New England Patriots used their late third-round
pick in the NFL draft (No. 86 overall) Saturday to take Arizona defensive
end Tedy Bruschi, the NCAA's most prolific pass rusher could finally relax
and enjoy the rest of the draft.
"I knew in my mind all year that I was one of the top
defensive players in college football," Bruschi said. "That's the way I felt
about it and that's the way I still feel about it. But it's different in the
pro ranks. I realize that. I realize that people put a lot of emphasis on
looks and size."
Bruschi's teammate on the defensive line, Chuck Osborne,
was selected yesterday by St. Louis with the 13th pick of the seventh round
(222nd overall). Coincidentally, Osborne is the Rams third pick from Arizona
in the last two years. Last year, the Rams, who are coached by former Oregon
head coach Rich Brooks, selected kicker Steve McLaughlin and cornerback Mike
Arizona quarterback Dan White and safety Brandon Sanders
were considered possibilities but were not drafted.
Bruschi, a two-time All-American, found Saturday that his
NCAA record-tying 52 sacks were not enough to overcome his relatively small
size (6-foot-2, 250 pounds) at the defensive line position.
Yet a successful college career that included a 1993
defensive MVP award in the Fiesta Bowl and 74 career tackles for losses
helped Bruschi to attract the interest of the Patriots.
"I don't think there's a question about his capabilities
or any question that he'll make everybody around him better," UA head coach
Dick Tomey said. "So many teams were concerned about his physical stats in
terms of height and weight, but in terms of productivity, I wouldn't trade
him for anybody in the draft. Obviously, his impact on our team was
Earlier in the week, some NFL scouts had said that
Bruschi would probably be best suited to a role of being a rusher in nickel
and dime formations. And with the passing attack of the New York Jets, Miami
Dolphins and Buffalo Bills of the AFC East, it would seem that the Patriots
will be utilizing multiple defensive back settings, which would allow
Bruschi to zero in on the opposing quarterback.
In addition to New England's 3-4 defensive scheme,
Bruschi will have an opportunity to learn from two of the best teachers in
football in head coach Bill Parcells and defensive coordinator Bill Belichek.
Parcells helped groom one of the league's most successful core of
linebackers in the mid-1980s, consisting of Lawrence Taylor, Carl Banks and
"That [system] gives him a chance to be a rush
end-outside linebacker, where he can rush a lot, drop back a little," Tomey
said. "That's what he's best suited for. I'm really happy for him. I think
he'll play forever."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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