Entering college, a student can feel out of place and struggle in his first semester. But someone forgot to give Brendan Pidgeon that memo. The freshman linebacker has been a star amongst the football players this season.
Pidgeon was a force for the defense against St. Lawrence University this past weekend, helping UR win, 20-7. He had a career-high 15 tackles and leads the team with 51.5 overall.
UR’s last game against Hobart College is on Saturday at home, where they’ll have a chance to take third place in the Liberty League.
With Pidgeon performing at his peak and leading the UR defense, the football team can look forward to many years of success.
When did you start playing football?
A long time ago, probably third grade. It has been in my family; my dad played in the NFL. Just knowing that at such a young age, I wanted to try it and loved it ever since.
If you had to pick snowy or rainy weather to play in, what would it be? Why?
I am going to have to say rainy just because it is a little bit easier to see everything. As for with snow everything is really fuzzy. The rain doesn’t bother you as much.
If you were able to play any position what would it be?
I am pretty happy with linebacker, but I think it would be kind of cool to play quarterback. I used to play back when I was in pee-wee, and I always wondered ‘what if I still played quarterback.”
What is your favorite play to make?
Definitely a big hit at a big time, [like] a third down stop. A big hit [and] a tackle for a loss.
What goes through your mind right before you make a tackle?
Other than, ‘Yes! I’m about to crush this kid,” probably just making sure that you are in a good position so you don’t miss.
Do you have a mentor on the team?
I would have to say [senior outside linebacker] Trent Tully. They assign freshman buddies on the very first day and he plays the same position as me on the other side of the ball. So I was pretty fortunate to have a senior leader help me get adjusted. If I ever needed anything I could call him or text him. He definitely helped me get adjusted to college life and college football.
What was the key to your team’s defensive success against St. Lawrence?
Playing together. Everyone was doing their responsibility, their one-11th. We really stress that for every game. This week it just clicked for us. Everybody was doing their responsibility every play. It makes it really easy when you only have to do your job and not someone else’s.
That fourth-quarter sack was a huge play. Would you say it has been your biggest play so far at UR?
I still think my biggest play was the 32-yard interception return I had against [U.S.] Merchant Marine a couple weeks ago.
How does the team stack up against Hobart College in Saturday’s Centennial Cup?
Very well. As far as leagues are concerned we are in very similar situations with a couple losses early in the season and a late push of wins towards the end of the season. I think we stack up very well. They run a lot of different formations but nothing we haven’t seen before.
With three more years ahead, how can you help this team reach its highest level?
Get ready, work hard in the offseason, obviously keep my grades up, prepare each week, watch a lot of film and be ready to do my part week in and week out. That should help us get all those wins in the coming seasons.
Manrique is a member of the class of 2012.