By Matthew Slinn, Images by J.R. Loveless
For the second edition of the ‘Rookie Rendezvous’, I have a bumper article for you, including two interviews, one with an offensive signal-caller, the other with a defensive powerhouse. Both players have made their mark on the SFLm, and both gave a great account of themselves when answering my questions. I urge you to not like these guys after reading this piece. Sit back, take 5 minutes, and enjoy! We start, with Lincoln Rattlesnakes QB, Bryant Dynasty.
Slinn: So Bryant, I guess the first topic I want to bring up is less about your current journey within the SFL but your journey to finding it. Alot of the community like to hear how others found the league that they love, and I’m sure they’d all like to hear your account.
Dynasty: I’m not much of a channel surfer when watching TV, but for some reason nothing was new on my DVR, so I started flipping through channels and came across the league. The first game I caught was the Week 1 matchup between Arizona and Houston. A real nail biter until the very end. Had me instantly hooked.
Slinn: That was a GREAT game to stumble upon, especially with the history between owners, Eddie Gauge and Demond Simean. What was it about the league that had you hooked and kept you hooked?
Dynasty: The fact that there was a real community of people behind the players rather than athletes, and (the SFL) being controller-less as a video game experience.
Slinn: You know my man, that’s exactly what kept me here too. The real stories and real people in those stories. How have you found being a QB in the SFLm and of course, leading up to the draft? It’s a competative position and few get to play it. Does that worry you?
Dynasty: I’m on one of the teams with dual QBs so I’ve had half the stats and half the game film. I spent Season 14 as a non-contract kicker with Arizona, learning from one of the best in Ashley Jackson. I was inspired to take on a leadership role like she has there. The limited number of spots could have been a deterrent, but I saw it as a challenge. I think I’ve proven myself enough with my off the field skills and tangibles to hear my name called as a QB come draft time.
Slinn: Ashley Jackson was a great person to have helping you through your non-contact season. I guess it is a shame that Arizona already have their QB spot filled! You mention leadership. Is there a staffing career ahead for Dynasty?
Dynasty: I’ve had the opportunity on Lincoln to be an Assistant Coach, helping with player coordination and information distribution to our locker room. I’ve also helped a bit on the scouting side as well. I’m hoping to contribute wherever I can to help my future team succeed. I’ve also helped to do some graphics work that ended up on the league social media accounts, so there’s that too.
Slinn: Sounds like you’re very versatile in your talents. Seems like all staff options could be open to you down the road. A word about the team that drafts you now. What would you be looking for in that team? What qualities?
Dynasty: Mostly just a great locker room, a bit of guidance with my player and a chance to grow my involvement with the team and the league.
Slinn: It’s great that you’re open to player guidance. As a GM myself, I really like players who take ownership of learning about what’s best for their progression. Is there a particular style of QB play that you would like to develop, or a current SFL QB you would like to play like?
Dynasty: It might not be practical to be a mobile QB in the SFL, but man is it nice to see your player break off on a run or scramble. My player has had a big run or two during my time in Lincoln. Seeing a player like AJ Caswell used in that role effectively is awesome. Either that or the chance to air it out like Christian Christiansen would be exciting.
Slinn: Weighing yourself up against some bonafide legends of the league there Dynasty – couldn’t pick two better players to aspire to be. Well, my friend, I hope you’ve enjoyed this interview. I wish you the best of luck in the draft and I hope to see you dissecting defenses for seasons to come – as long as it’s not Vegas’!
Thank you again Bryant for a fantastic interview! After that sit down, I got in touch with Scott Stover, the active Defensive Tackle. Let’s see what he had to say…
Slinn: So Scott, I guess the first topic I want to being up is less about your current journey within the SFL but your journey to finding it. Alot of the community like to hear how others found the league that they love, and I’m sure they’d all like to hear your account.
Stover: Mine’s a funny story! While sat in a waiting room, waiting for my vasectomy, a news story was on Channel 6 in Tulsa about the Desperados and the SFL. It peaked my interest, then few days later I joined up with a Pro Subscription!
Slinn: Oh, I heard about that news story! I’m glad the SFL can always remind you of that long wait to get fixed! For those who don’t know, tell us a little about your minor league team and how you have found the SFLm so far?
Stover: I was assigned to the Ottawa Cavalry – one of the best teams in the league – and as far as my experience goes, it’s been great! Getting my feet wet in the league and getting to be part of history playing in inaugural season of m league and getting to hopefully be part of the biggest draft in history is all very exciting!
Slinn: You mention Ottawa quite rightly as one of the best teams in the SFLm on the field, but what is it like off the field? How is that Locker Room up in Canada?
Stover: It’s a great locker room – very upbeat and friendly and you can always count on a laugh in there.
Slinn: Are there any players, rookie or veterans, who you have connected with and who stand out? Maybe a player you hope to share the field with this season?
Stover: It’s hard for me to call out just one person ’cause I feel I have met many good guys on both levels this season. But me and Garrison Blue came in close to the same time and have talked about how cool it would be to play on same team in the pros. I’m just fortunate if I get drafted.
Slinn: That’s a very humble way to look at it. I think an attitude like that will take you far in this league. On a slightly more ‘controversial‘ note, is there a team that you have an affinity for? A franchise you immediately were drawn to after you joined the league? I’m talking a team that, even if they don’t draft you, you may support?
Stover: I would have to say, at first sight not knowing much about the league, it would have to be the Tulsa team, considering I live only 40 minutes away from Tulsa and Dion was the first owner to speak to me before the SFLm started. The Desperados were the team that caught my interest about the SFL in the first place, but based on logos and unis I have a few. I really like the Revolution’s logo and general look l, and Portland’s is probably one of my favorites too.
Slinn: I do like Tulsa’s theming myself and their colours are interesting. If you look back to Season 10, their uniforms were so lit. Moving on to more off the field topics, is there a long-term goal in a staff position? Whether that be team based or league based?
Stover: I honestly haven’t thought that far ahead! I’m mainly focusing on a player roll right now to try and make my build one of the best in the league and have a long career. I’ll cross that path when I get there. With having three boys under 4 years of age, my time’s limited right now, but I would love to coach someday.
Slinn: Wow, seems like you’re well on your way to producing an entire defensive line of Stovers! Any of the boys showing signs they are gonna spend a life supporting football?
Stover: I’m not sure yet, they’re only 3 and 1 and the other will be here in few weeks, so it’s about to get crazy! My oldest gets mistaken for a 6yr old all the time though.
Slinn: Man, you’ve got a lot on your plate then! Especially with the draft coming up too! I guess I have one final question for you before I ride off into the sunset. Say you fell in the draft, inexplicably, and ended up on the board in the supplemental draft. Is there a position other than your primary that would really wet your appetite to play?
Stover: I have built a DE and LB secondary player to play with, but I have a strong feeling I’m not going that far in draft and, if something crazy happens, and I dont get drafted this year, I will gladly return to the Cavalry to continue to develop.
Slinn: That’s such a good attitude mate. Gotta love the commitment to Ottawa. Personally, I don’t think you’ll fall that far either! So Scott, thanks for a great interview! Best of luck in the draft!
Stover: Thanks and good luck to you guys this upcoming season!
And, with that, we’ve reached the end of this long edition of the ‘Rookie Rendezvous’. I hope you enjoyed finding out a little bit more about the people behind the rookies on the field. It will only serve to make draft night even more exciting! Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for more in the near future!