2009 Breakthrough Candidate: DT Kendall Briscoe
Aug. 18, 2009
By Alfredo V. Moreno - UNM Assistant Media Relations Director
Few people were as excited about defensive coordinator Doug Mallory's arrival at the University of New Mexico than senior defensive tackle Kendall Briscoe. A reserve nose tackle and end in the old 3-3-5 formation, Briscoe was thrilled when he learned that the Lobos would be running a four-man front under Mallory. Fortunately for New Mexico, his excitement has translated into results on the field.
A three-year letterman with 35 games of experience in the trenches, Briscoe broke into the regular defensive rotation as a true freshman in 2006. His debut was no small feat as he was the first true freshman in 12 years to play on the defensive line.
While he showed flashes of ability over the past three seasons, Briscoe's career numbers (43 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks) weren't overwhelming. This spring, however, he looked like a whole new player in the new scheme. Quick off the snap, intense, physical, confident - a rejuvenated Briscoe teamed with junior college transfer Peter Gardner to give the Lobos some real muscle on the interior line.
Though outside observers have pointed to the all-new starting line as a weak point on the defense, breakout talents like Briscoe are eager to prove them wrong.
I caught up with the Dallas native after another uptempo, physical practice today to get his thoughts on the 2009 season, married life and fatherhood.
Lobos are running a 4-3 defense, you're a projected starter at defensive tackle, you've had a great spring and training camp the start of the season can't come soon enough for you can it?
So a lot of college football preview writers see that the Lobos will have four new starters on the defensive line and call the group a weak point on the defense - what would you say to those that don't know what kind of talent we have here?
I would just tell them to come out and watch. It's great to be an underdog. When we come out, have a good game, fly around and play great defense those doubters will come off. Not having a lot of starting experience may be a factor here and there, but it's football. If everybody is doing their job, fly around and play as team, then inexperienced starters won't matter.
This spring we signed the big man, Peter Gardner, to play alongside you in the middle - talk about having him next to you and how you guys work together inside.
You had a unique opportunity when you arrived in 2006, playing as a true freshman, and now we could see one or two rookies in that same position this fall - what advice would you give those guys if they get that redshirt pulled off?
Not too many people know this, but you are a married man. You and your wife Luella tied the knot last year before spring practice started - how did you two meet?
Well your life changed in a major way a few months ago when your daughter Makaela was born (June 6) - what was that day like when you saw her for the first time and officially became daddy Briscoe?
So obviously being a husband and father changes life quite a bit for a guy who's still just a young 21-year-old.
Now you had a different recruiting experience that eventually led you to UNM - how did that go down?
Now you've been here for three full years, you've had a chance to make a life for yourself and enjoy this city - what's the No. 1 thing you think you'll miss about Albuquerque if or when you decide to move on?
I can't argue with that. I'm sure there's plenty of things you miss about home though. What's one of the things you just have to do when you're back in Big D?