Jan. 27, 2014
Over the next few weeks, MeanGreenSports will sit down with some of the departing seniors from the 2013-14 North Texas football team for exit interviews, and we'll ask them to look back and reflect on their time with the Mean Green.
Today we visit with running back Brandin Byrd. He finished his career at North Texas ranked eighth in rushing yards with 2,202. He is the only player in school history with three rushes for over 80-yards.
MeanGreenSports: What was your impression of North Texas football when you were being recruited?
BB: My impression of North Texas when being recruited was that they had a good line of running backs that came through this university (Patrick Cobbs, Jamario Thomas, etc.) and me being able to get offer from this institution was an honor, so it was a good impression.
MeanGreenSports: What was your biggest surprise in your four years at NT?
BB: The biggest surprise in my four years would have to be how bad the support was when I first got here. In high school the whole town would come out to the games, but once I got here, we barely had people in the stands until my senior year, so that was a culture shock not only for me.
MeanGreenSports: How do you want to be remembered as a North Texas football player?
MeanGreenSports: What was your most memorable play at North Texas?BB: I would have to say my most memorable play would have to be my first collegiate touchdown my freshman year from 53 yards out against Western Kentucky. Getting that first collegiate touchdown builds up your confidence going forward in your career.
BB: I want to be remembered as a guy who just came to work with his hard hat and lunch pail every day. A guy who always put out 100% effort no matter what was going. A guy who lead by example on and off the field. A guy who always had a chip on his shoulder and was never satisfied.
MeanGreenSports : What was the biggest change involving the program during your time at NT?
BB: The biggest change was everybody finally just buying in to, "The Plan to Win". That was something Coach McCarney had been trying to instill in us from day 1, but it did not finally click for our team as a whole until January of 2013. We bought in to it and ended up becoming bowl champions.
MeanGreenSports : Outside of games, what memory will you and your teammates always talk about over the next 50 years?
BB: Just the camaraderie and always hanging out whenever we didn't have training or practices. Just becoming a band of brothers off the field.
MeanGreenSports : What single ingredient do you think was most important in turning around the team’s success?
BB: I would say the senior leadership. It was a key part to turning the program around. Coach Mac has always preached to us since I've been here that in order to turn it around that seniors had to play their best football and that some senior class would be the guys to change the culture. We got that senior leadership this year and it paid off in the end.
MeanGreenSports : What is one thing any of your coaches at NT told you that you will carry with you forever?
BB: Forget yourself for others, so that others won't forget about you. It works out in all aspects of life.
MeanGreenSports : What is one goal, personal or team, that you didn’t accomplish while at North Texas?
BB: Winning the conference championship would have to be one goal my teammates and I did not accomplish while being here. We came close, but close isn't good enough.
MeanGreenSports : If you were starting a football team tomorrow and you could take one player that you played with at North Texas with you to start a team who would it be and why?
BB: Brelan Chancellor, no question. He's so dynamic and is a threat to go the distance any time he touches the football. He's going to give you everything he has. He's 5'9 185, but plays like he's 6'2 225. I have been fortunate enough to play football with him since we were eight years old and I've watched him become a great football player and also a North Texas great for returning punts and kicks.
MeanGreenSports : If you could go back and replay one game during your NT career, which would it be?
BB: It would have to be the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Me and the rest of the senior class never sniffed a bowl game since we've been here, and to be able to persevere through all the hard times, people doubting us at the beginning of the year, all of the different things we had to endure, not only did we get to a bowl game, but we went out there and won the bowl and became bowl champions and that 2013 football team that I was a part of will now be forever remembered for turning the program around.