In the five years or so that I've been covering BYU football on a full-time basis (I was sort of a backup BYU writer the three or four years before that), not many players have given better interviews than middle linebacker Brandon Ogletree.
'Tree, as his teammates call him, is articulate, frank, and rarely resorts to cliches to get his point across. You can tell his passion for the game of football, and for the school he represents, is deep and strong.
A senior, Ogletree is the heart and soul of BYU's No. 3-ranked defense. Guys such as Kyle Van Noy, Ziggy Ansah and Uona Kaveinga have gotten more pub over the years, but make no mistake about it, there's a reason Ogletree was picked to be the captain of the defense. He's the straw that stirs the drink for this defense -- perhaps the best in school history.
Ogletree is the topic of this profile in Wednesday's Salt Lake Tribune. I wish I had had the space to write more about the undersized linebacker who I believe is BYU's version of Johnny Football -- Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel.
Of course, Ogletree would like to give pro football a shot. If that doesn't work out, he's preparing to take the LSAT and would like to go to law school. His major is American Studies. That was also Jimmer Fredette's major, and the two athletes had several classes together.
Ogletree is married to the former Amanda Dean, who is also from Texas (Houston). The two met when Amanda was dating one of Ogletree's roommates, fellow BYU football player Blake Morgan.
Here are more comments from Ogletree, comments that didn't make it into the story:
On his emotional state about getting close to the end of his career:
"Mainly, I just want to leave it all out there and not have any regrets. Just focusing on playing as hard as I can and helping my teammates any way I can and helping my team any way I can. I want to be able to look back and be satisfied."
On how much he watches football when he's not playing it:
"I am definitely a football junkie. My wife gets annoyed by it, but I try to watch college football whenever I can. I grew up watching football with my dad on Saturdays, after my game on Friday night. So it has been a huge part of my life. Yeah, I love it."
On having seven sisters and what that was like:
"Everyone asks me that, and I tell them I don't know anything different. That's just kind of how my life was. It is cool. They look our for me ... It is cool; I don't know anything different."
On being a psycho on the field:
"I think I definitely play with a chip on my shoulder. The psycho thing -- it is because I am really undersized, and outclassed physically by offensive linemen, or whoever is blocking me. I just go to a place where I find an edge, and that kind of lets me be on par with a lot of people -- just being able to play harder and with more emotion and more passion."
On how much he studies film:
"I live in my Ipad. I carry where ever I go, and I am watching film constantly. I don't know how I compare to other people -- but that's what I do. I just watch film."
On his favorite memory at BYU:
"Don't know if I can single out one play or anything in particular. One thing I will take away is the relationships I have built with teammates. I mean, I feel like these dudes are my brothers. It is hard every year. This year I will be one of those dudes, and it will be rough. That's what I cherish the most, the relationships with others."
On the goal line stand vs. Boise State:
"Yeah, if I had to pick just one play, or series of plays, that would probably be it -- just because of the effort it took and the execution it took."
On his three picks:
"As a linebacker, you really don't live and die for interceptions. I would rather have a big hit than an interception. But that's cool. That's icing on the cake. It is cool to have your buddies see it and say, hey, nice interception."
Here are a few comments about Ogletree from fellow linebacker Kyle Van Noy:
On what Ogletree is like:
"Man, he's a fierce competitor. The coolest thing about him is he's a good guy. He has a kid, and to watch how he interacts with his kid and his wife -- you look up to that.
He is a good guy, but when he steps between those lines he gets to switch into a different person. And he is someone you want to go to battle with every day, because he's like a brother and he's a good guy."
On Ogletree being proud of his Texas upbringing:
"In Texas, they are prideful about their state. Ogletree is his own guy. He's made his imprint on BYU as far as being a great leader and contributing to this defense. He's our spokesman, he's our loudmouth guy -- whatever you want to call him. But he's the core of bringing us closer together and wanting us to play harder.
I think having a guy like that makes everyone around him better. So he lifts everyone, kinda like Johnny Football -- so I would agree in that nature.
As far as bringing up players around him, he's like Johnny Football."
On what Ogletree is like on the field:
"On the field, he is just crazy. He will run through a brick wall if you ask him to. He will do anything it takes to bring a guy down, whether it is hit him hard or scratch and crawl his way to the tackle. He's just a fierce competitor. Off the field, he's genuine, kind of a quiet little giant. I think he's got little man syndrome a little bit. I think he's a fun character. He's always a fun time to be around.
He's a good guy and a great dad. He's kind of an older brother to me and he's a good role model in that aspect."