A Look At Senior Safety Andre Bala
Nov. 9, 2005
By Haleigh Munson Athletic Media Relations Student Assistant
Wouldn't you think that growing up in Texas your first love would be football? That was not the case for Utah State senior safety Andre Bala, who grew up in Houston. His first love was basketball
"When growing up, all I played was basketball," Bala said. "I absolutely loved it. I had dreams of playing in the NBA, but when I stopped growing I figured I should choose a different sport and that is when football came into play."
Bala started playing football in junior high school and just loved the fact that he could run around tackling people and not get in trouble for it. He attended Willowridge High School in Houston, Texas, where he was three-time all district selection and was also named to the Texas 100 club as one of the best 100 players in a football-rich state.
" In high school, football was such a rich tradition and you had to work your hardest to stand out. My coaching staff was very supportive and always taught me that if I wanted something I needed to work 110% for it," Bala said. "I learned dedication and hard work in high school and I believe I have carried my work ethic to Utah State."
Bala has worked his hardest at Utah State and standing out is exactly what he has done. It started his freshman year when he played in three games in his first season on the USU campus. He recovered one fumble and knew then he wanted to see more playing time.
"Looking back on my freshman year, the thing I have learned the most would be getting adjusted to the speed of the game," Bala said. "The game is much faster in college than high school and that was my biggest adjustment."
Bala saw a little more action as a sophomore, playing in nine games and making eight tackles. He then missed the 2003 season with a foot injury but returned in 2004 and became a starter in his junior season. He had an impressive junior year and shared the team's most improved player award with Nick George as he started eight games as a safety and finished the year with 64 tackles, second most on the team. In his first career start, Bala had 10 tackles against Utah and he recorded at least five tackles in eight games during the year.
"I enjoyed my junior year a lot and I knew I had worked hard, but there is always room for improvement and that is why as a senior I am working harder than before," he said.
That hard work is paying off as he has started each of the last four games and been named a team captain this week in recognition of his efforts. He currently has 34 tackles to rank sixth on the team and is just two stops short of ranking fourth. Bala is a player who is never satisfied with his performance. He is someone who knows that a better job can be done the next game. He keeps his team's motto in mind every time he steps on the field - "BTB" - which means Better than Before. That is what Coach Brent Guy tells his team before each game. It has stuck with Bala and he puts "BTB" into action each and every game.
While in his senior year Bala enjoys teaching his younger teammates. "As a senior I like having the opportunity to pass my experiences on to the younger guys," he said. "We have a young football team and a lot of guys haven't been in too many game situations. I want to be able to help them and tell them what I have learned."
When asked what most people don't know about him, he simply stated "no one really knows that I like classical music. I love the arts, Renaissance painting and all that sort of stuff. I also like the history channel and I am a nerd because of it." It takes a real man to love classical music and also play football.
Being a senior is an exciting time in people's lives and Andre Bala has a lot planned for his future.
a perfect world I see myself
back in Texas coaching high
school football," Bala said.
Graduating with a degree in
psychology Bala hopes to take his
experiences learned at Utah State
and carry them on throughout his
life. Andre Bala doesn't want to be
remembered as just a Utah State
football player, but a player who
always gave it his all every time he
played and that he always played
every game as if it were his last.