Unsung Heroes Of The Gridiron Rewarded For Their Hard Work
April 3, 2008
By Trevor Brasfield, USU Athletic Media Relations
LOGAN, Utah - Walk-on athletes play a pivotal role in any college football program. While not all walk-on athletes become a Rudy Ruettiger or Vince Papale from movie lore, they do provide a fire and hunger for football that is contagious and spreads amongst their prospective teammates.
A pair of athletes on Utah State's football team are no exception to this rule. Patrick Scales and Adrian Bybee are two walk-on athletes that have come to Utah State and are making a difference on a team that went 2-10 last season.
Bybee, a 5-10, 193-pound junior defensive back from Pocatello, Idaho, is the type of athlete that makes an immediate impact on the field due to his level of play and he attributes this to his attitude about being a walk-on in general.
"You always have to come out and prove yourself," Bybee said. "I felt like coming out here I had a chip on my shoulder because I was not really getting looked at, but you have to be out ready to always prove yourself and be ready to out-work the next guy."
According to Bybee, when stepping onto the field you have to make yourself the most valuable person out there, each and every time. "You have to have the desire inside you to be the best one out there on the field," said Bybee.
Scales is a 6-4, 231 pounder from Ogden, Utah and if he had the choice of playing any position on the field he would play quarterback, much to the chagrin of special teams assistant coach Tony Flores.
In his own words Scales says, "Big-time players make the big-time plays, and what more of a big-time position is there except quarterback."
With Scales being a big-time player, Flores believes he is the best snapper on the team. "Scales getting this scholarship shows that someone who works hard can be rewarded and become a full scholarship athlete," said Flores.
"Never give up, it's always out there. You can earn one," Scales said.
This attitude is mirrored by USU head football coach Brent Guy, who himself was a walk-on at Oklahoma State.
"I have a special place in my heart because I was a walk-on player at one time," said Guy. "They bring a passion that everyone should have, they are out here everyday practicing, they are paying their own way, and they are out here to see if they can play Division I football."
These two are playing Division I football and they have done it well enough to no longer have to pay their own way as they have both been awarded scholarships. Adrian Bybee has already been awarded his scholarship, while Patrick Scales, who took every snap at long snapper last season, has been awarded a scholarship for next fall. These two athletes add depth to the team as well as heart.
Not only do they have to compete for their positions on the field twenty hours a week, according to coach Guy, they also have to go into the classroom and compete with the best students in America.
You may not of heard of Patrick Scales but that is a good thing, for he plays a position that is as unsung as any position on the field. That position is long snapper and most likely the only way you would ever hear his name is if he snapped the ball over the kicker's head and caused a tremendous amount of anguish on the fans and coaches. Therefore Scales has idly done his job all last season as a walk-on without getting recognized by the fans. He has done this well enough to earn him a full ride for the next three years.
Bybee came to Utah State mostly for the educational experience but also to come to a football program that was moving to a new conference and a new coaching staff. He felt as if he could come here and make an immediate impact on a program that he hopes is better when he leaves the field then when he first stepped on to it.
Both Scales and Bybee have come to Utah State for similar reasons, to improve a team that has struggled and to make an immediate impact. Although they have many similarities, when they begin to talk about their favorite sports and athletes the similarities fade away. Bybee is a fan of Jeremy Bloom the two-sport star who not only played wide out at the University of Colorado, but also is an Olympic skier for the United States. Scales prefers baseball and Peyton Manning to his favorite sport and athlete. Yet both players possess an amazing work ethic.
This type of work ethic can be summed up by Scales himself, "Never give up, it's always out there. You can earn one if you just work hard enough," Scales said.