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Kyle O'Brien Senior Profile
Updated: Monday 10/31/2011 (ET)
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What's your full name?
Kyle Robert O'Brien.

Where are you from?
I'm from Cockeysville, Md.

Is Cockeysville known for anything in particular?
It's just a small, suburban town outside of Baltimore.

Your father, Terry O'Brien, was the Head Athletic Trainer at Towson University for how long?
For 30 years.

Did you are ever consider any part of the field that he was in, or are you still?
No, not at all.  I kind of saw the ins and outs of it, and it just wasn't something I wanted to do.   I don't think wanted me to go to a good school and get into something like that, even though he loved it.  It's just not something I was ever interested in.

How about growing up around an athletic program like you did?  What may be some interesting stories of times spent on practice fields or in arenas?
I went to almost every Towson football game when I was little and almost every basketball game and most of the lacrosse games, too.  I grew up playing lacrosse, so lacrosse was bigger for me when I was little; I'd go to all the games.  But I'd also be able to hang out on the sidelines of the football games.  It was a lot of fun.  I got to see the ins and outs.  I was exposed to college coaching early, so it wasn't too much of a shock getting yelled at or anything in high school or college.  I'd already seen other people get yelled at pretty badly when I was little.  It was a good experience to be around that when you were younger.

What other sports did you play in high school?
In high school, I played football, lacrosse, and I wrestled.  I wrestled my last two years, so I had 10 varsity letters in high school-four in football, four in lacrosse, and two in wrestling.

Were you a pretty good lacrosse player growing up?
Yes, I was pretty good.  I grew up with a team that probably had 10 to 12 players go onto to have careers in college.

What was the team called?
It was a Cockeysville travel team, and then I played for the Baltimore Lacrosse Club in like eighth grade and ninth grade.  And then of course in high school, my team was pretty good.  We ended up being ranked #1 in the nation my junior year.

Did you have an opportunity to play lacrosse at other schools?
Yes, I got a couple opportunities-Duke, Georgetown, Army, Towson, Virginia.  But I just decided I liked football a lot more.

I'll assume that there were scholarship opportunities in lacrosse?
Yeah, there were some.  Lacrosse has a lot fewer scholarships than football, so most all scholarships are partial.

So partial offers were there in lacrosse, but you didn't come here for football on scholarship?
No, I did not.

What made you decide to come to William & Mary?
I had heard it was a great school, and seeing Towson when they first entered the CAA, they got their butt kicked by William & Mary a couple times.  Just seeing the quality academics, and when I came here, I fell in love.  It was a smaller place, which is what I wanted.  I didn't want a big college campus, and it was pretty down here.  And it's close enough that I can go home, but it's far enough away that I'm definitely away from home.

What did end up choosing as your major?
I was an economics major and graduated last May with my B.A.  Now I'm just non-degree seeking, just taking a few classes-one accounting class to try and help me with hopefully finding a job in the financial advising field.

What's your dream job?
Right now, probably working with Joe Montgomery and his group at Wells Fargo Advisors. I'm trying to at least start there, but I'd love to be a financial advisor anywhere.  Working some place around Williamsburg would be even better.

What is it about the area that makes you want to stay?
It's quiet, and the cost of living is down.  It's a lot lower than New York-places like New York are not for me.  I don't think I could do the whole New York finance, busy city thing.  It's quiet; it's close enough to be around home.  I just love being in the South.  That's a big thing for me, staying in the South.

Let's detail out a year-by-year position look at your career.
I was a school start walk-on linebacker (in the fall of 2006).  From there I eventually moved to the defensive line, playing end and tackle from 2007 through 2010.  Unfortunately, I missed two entire seasons with knee injuries (right ACL in 2007 and left ACL 2010).  I was able to come back from the first one (2007) and eventually become a member of nearly every special teams unit from 2008 until last year.  During the 2009 season, I got some spot action on the defensive line and played a little fullback in short yardage situations.   Anyway, I tore my left ACL in my senior season, and it was really frustrating.  I had to figure out what I wanted to do-if I wanted to take a shot and came back and try to get a sixth year or if I just wanted to hang it up.  I felt like if I had the opportunity to come back and I didn't, I'd be letting my teammates down; I'd be letting everyone down.  I thought I could help out, but I asked Coach Laycock if I could move to fullback, and he eventually agreed to it. 

So basically you conceded that playing inside on the defensive line would just lead to more injuries, most likely?
Just playing defensive line was a lot rougher on my knees than playing fullback.  You're constantly pushing on 300 pounds guys when you're playing defensive end or defensive tackle, and you kind of get to run a little more freely playing fullback, but you still get to be physical.  So that was a big part of my request to move to fullback.

Did you lean on your dad a lot during your rehab from your two knee injuries?
Yes, he actually did all my rehab for my first ACL, and he did the initial rehab right when I had surgery for my second ACL.  Then I had to come back to school and finish that whole thing, but yeah he's been awesome.  He does so many things for me.  Even when I have little boo-boos, I ask him about it instead of going down and getting treatment.  I'll just ask him and see if it's something that I really need to get taken care of or if it's just a little something.  And I'm glad he's there.  He's retired now, so all he does is play golf and listen to me on the phone complain about my old body. 

Compare defensive line and fullback.  How different is the mentality?
Fullback is probably the closest you can get to playing on the defense.  You're always attacking.  You don't get to tackle anybody, but you get to run full speed.  You have to have a certain personality to be able to do that, but I love it.  It's something that's fun for me.  I had already done it the 2009 season a little bit, so I kind of knew what I was in for.  It was something that I liked.  It was a lot easier to come back from my injury.

You've gotten seven games of experience at the position.  How do you feel like you've fit in to this point?
I think I fit in pretty well.  It took me a lot a reps to learn the offense.  When I played it a couple seasons ago, I only knew four plays.  I know the entire offense now, and I'm a lot more comfortable with it.  I've eliminated mental errors as far as assignments and alignments.  I think I do pretty well.  We've noticed so far this year that people will scheme when I come in the game.  They'll substitute personnel, they'll bring in an extra linebacker, or they'll play me a lot differently than you'll see them play a lot of other people.  I'm also a 250-pound fullback, and you don't see 250-pound fullbacks a lot in I-AA football.

Is there truth to the rumor that playing fullback is like smashing your head into a brick wall every play?
I wouldn't say that.  If I smash my head into a brick wall, I think the brick wall will do more of the damage.  I like to think that I cause a little bit more damage to the defender, so maybe it's like them running into a brick wall.

What is your idea of a perfect play?
Scoring a touchdown.  They've been hard to come by so far.  We're trying to get to the point where we're scoring a lot, and it's coming along slowly.  A perfect play would be an 80-yard touchdown run for Grimes.

You're the oldest player on the team, correct?

You haven't been around the offense for six years, though, because you've been mostly a defensive player.  Do you feel like you're able to meaningfully bring the rest of the team along with you?
Now I do.  Initially when I was still learning the offense, I struggled a little bit.  It was hard for me to try and tell people what to do when I wasn't completely comfortable with my responsibilities.  But, I now I feel very comfortable trying to help the younger guys gain experience.

We came into the season with extremely high expectations, and have experienced ups and downs that potentially could lead to some frustration.  What are the team's leaders doing to counter that right now?
We're working our butts off.  We keep plugging along.  We try to have our best practice every day; we try and get better every day.  When we can tell we're not getting better, everybody picks everybody else, and we just keep plugging along, plugging along, and plugging along.  And hopefully eventually something'll click.  We are 4-4 right now and have a chance at seven wins.  My first year, we were 3-8.  When you get used to winning, losing magnifies the frustration and the disappointment, makes it seem a whole lot worse.  But we're not in terrible position.  We probably have to win out to make the playoffs. We still think we can play with anybody. 

What other interests do you have now outside of football?
I like to go fishing.  I like to golf.

What kind of fishing do you like to do?
Any.  Deep-sea fishing is probably my favorite just because the fish are a whole lot bigger.  But I still like to go out to the pond across the street and do some bass fishing or go out when I'm down in Virginia Beach, I'll see Chase Hill and we might go cat fishing or crabbing. 

What's something on your bucket list that you'd like to do before you die?
If I could score one touchdown this season, that would awesome, but it's not what I play for.  Beyond football, probably going on a world tour of deep-sea fishing hot spots.  Maybe something like that.

What teammate do you think will have the most interesting job in 10 years and why?
Well, he isn't currently on the squad, but I'd have to say [2011 graduate] Chase Hill because Chase is just a weird dude, and I mean that in a good way.  He always ends up doing something different.  Right now, he's at Sentara, but I can him starting his own thing and just doing something completely out of the box because that's just how he is.

Do you have a favorite food?
Crabs.  Maryland blue crabs.

Favorite movie?
There's a lot.  Recent movies...The Book of Eli.  That was a great movie, and then Inception.  Or Shutter Island, just those kinds of movies that leave you hanging where you don't even know how it ended or what they were trying to tell you-it's just kind of cliff-hanger.

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