July 8, 2010
Lainhart has debts to pay
Over the past three seasons Brian Lainhart has been Kent State's top player. The two-time captain already is in third place all-time at Kent State with 15 career interceptions and twice he's been named an All-Mid-American Conference performer.
But things didn't always go Lainhart's way.
"My first spring I ran around here like a chicken with my head cut off," said the 6-foot-1, 207-pound redshirt senior safety from Cincinnati after one of Kent State's spring practice sessions. "I had no idea what I was doing. I was trying to put it all together, from the film room to (the practice field), like some of the younger guys are now."
Lainhart remembered his first summer on campus at Kent State. He was just weeks removed from his senior prom at Colerain High School and never thought he'd make it playing Division I football. But he received support and guidance from several of the older players and the results speak for themselves.
"When I came up here in the summer time my true freshman year I stayed with Jack (Williams) and Usama (Young) and all those guys," Lainhart said. "Andre (Kirkland) was a guy, I was always lifting with him and always ran with him at night. He's the kind of guy that was always like, 'hey, I'm going to watch film now.' Even though I wasn't playing, I redshirted, I still watched film with him and learned what he watched and picked things up. He was the biggest thing that helped me to get me where I am right now, just the way he worked and took me under his wing.
"I'm forever in debt for it."
Learning from three players who went on to play in the NFL certainly paved the way for Lainhart. And now he's hoping to do the same for Kent State's younger players.
"My biggest thing now is to try and help the younger guys," he said. "Jack and Usama, Andre Kirkland, those guys helped me take it from the classroom to the field. That's my biggest thing, doing what they did for me. I know it's tough for guys like (Dylan Farrington) and (Darius Polk), the young guys, to go in there and write on the board then come out here and in 10 minutes you have to know exactly what you're doing or you're getting screamed at and having reps taken away."
Head coach Doug Martin has watched Lainhart's transition from a "chicken with it's head cut off" to an all-conference performer and leader on and off the field.
"As far as the football part of things, he's like having a coach on the field. He's really intelligent and (the younger) guys can learn a lot from him. They can also learn a lot from him about work ethic, dedication, just the commitment. He's a guy I hope all of our guys look up to," Martin said. "He's been our best leader on the whole football team. You ask the players who was the one guy you'd have to pick to be the team leader; he'd be the guy. He's got a great presence about him. He's got a lot of wisdom about him and a lot of experience. He's a valuable guy."
But, Lainhart also realizes he has just 12 regular season games left to play at Kent State. So, there are times his motivational techniques will be adjusted.
"When things mess up I'm a little short-tempered now," he said. "Last year I kind of let things go. This year I'm kind of short-tempered because it's my last go-around; we've got to win."
That sense of urgency has driven Lainhart to work hard every day during the offseason. And each day he realizes just how quickly time passes.
"It seems like it's going a whole lot faster," he said. "I'm looking back and wishing I could have some practices back. I'm going to hate when the season comes around, one game will be done and I'll almost be depressed instead of looking forward to the next one because I'll be missing it."
Lainhart needs just four interceptions to tie Lou Harris' Kent State record of 19 set from 1965-67. His 15 interceptions are the most among active BCS players. Lainhart enters the 2010 season having forced 16 turnovers in his last 19 games (13 interceptions and three fumbles). He also caused two other fumbles that were recovered by the opposition. He has recorded 256 tackles.
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