The Grind is presented exclusively by Scott's Auto Center.
Lambert junior Brian Wright has two major plans for life after high school. He wants to play in college on scholarship, and he wants to be a physical therapist.
The latter goal has been benefited this year by an anatomy class. As an athlete, Wright said it’s “pretty cool” to learn about the body—particularly, what makes it so athletic. Wright is honest about his own build. Even though he comes from a family of long distance runners, particularly on his mother’s side, Wright said he never once tried cross country because he didn’t have the required stamina.
Still, he’s found a way to clock a 40-yard dash as fast as 4.55 seconds. The 5-foot-11, 200 pounder has learned a lot in the past few years about what he calls “deceptive” speed. He’s proud of it. If he had to create himself in a video game—as many young football players have growing up—he’d make his speed and pursuit his top skills.
“My size and speed combination. People see me and don’t think I’ll be as fast as I really am. My closing speed is better than what anyone expects. I love chasing people down and everything,” Wright said. “I like playing man-to-man coverage, too.”
Last season, defense was Wright’s repertoire. As a defensive back and linebacker, Wright finished fourth on the team in tackles (47), had five stops in the backfield and 22 solo stops as a young but talented asset in a strong defensive unit.
Last season was also when the Longhorns found a new identity, on the offensive side of the ball, as a ground and pound unit. That mentality transferred over into this season, where Lambert head coach Louis Daniel needed as many running backs ready to go as possible.
So Wright was given a second job to do. He knew he could play tailback—he’d done it for years growing up—but he was about to learn about the capacity of his own mind.
“Defensively, everything is pretty much the same,” Wright said. “But this year I’ve got an offensive playbook I’ve got to learn each week. There’s a lot of studying involved. The coaches have always tried to get me in, but this is the first actual year that I’ve played it.
“Last year they didn’t want too much on my plate as a sophomore. I learned the defense first and focused on that but since I’m older this year they thought I could go both ways.”
So far, so good.
After four games (3-1, 3-0 Region 6-AAAAAA), the Longhorns are averaging 174 yards rushing per game. Wright is second on the team with 20 carries for 185 yards and a touchdown. He has combined with Harrison Pomfret (70 carries, 254 yards, four touchdowns) and Ken Dicks (29 carries, 171 yards, touchdown) to give Lambert, led up front by five senior offensive linemen, a feared rushing attack.
Wright thinks his knowledge of how a secondary works has helped with his running vision.
“I feel like I know where they are going to react to me,” Wright said. “I can be one step ahead of everyone else.”
Wright said his football experience has also helped with track and field, where he has set personal bests of 20-1 in the long jump and 38-4 in the triple jump with the Longhorns.
“I’ve discovered football helps with my explosiveness. That’s what my track coach says, anyway.”