For some of Beaver Nation, the first experience of Brent VanderVeen was of a high school senior who bravely told a Rivals reporter that he wanted to come up to OSU and be the starting quarterback as a true freshman. For some fans, this was a little too much bravado and gave them probably the most inaccurate view of this young man possible. Brent may have said something like that, but he later explained what he meant was that he wanted to come in confident and compete, not scared. Everything he has done at OSU since that explanation has cemented that explanation as well.
His first year at OSU, in the fall of 2012, many were concerned about throwing motion, footwork and arm strength. At that time, the Danny Langsdorf commanded quarterback’s crew was preparing for the second year of the Sean Mannion era and there was little doubt who would be starting. The beginning of the year saw OSU topple a ranked Wisconsin at home and also began what would be the most successful, 12-game regular season of the Mike Riley era. There were few opportunities for VanderVeen to show his stuff on the field.
What was not noticed in all of this was the hard work and dedication by Brent to improve his footwork, work on his arm strength and master the playbook. In the fall of 2013, the Beavers found themselves in the midst of a heated and divisive quarterback battle that had far more long term implications for the team and the coaching staff than many realized. All that fall camp, in my practice notes, I kept noting how Brent looked better in the pocket and seemed to be getting faster in his release.
Following a rough year that saw the Beavers enter the last Bowl game of Mike Riley’s tenure at OSU, Danny Langsdorf left for the Giants and John Garrett was hired to take over for the Beavers. While Garrett had a lot of issues as an Offensive Coordinator (in my opinion of course), he was a pretty good assessor of technique and had a pretty good attention to detail. By the fall of 2014, my practice notes show that I thought Brent was the second best QB on our team. He looked great in the pocket, moved very well, was the most athletic and seemed to be more accurate.
All of this historic journey through BV’s time at OSU is just my first hand experience as a spectator. Whether it is just who he is, or whether it was learned in all the adversity he has faced here with coaching changes and coaching decisions, Brent is one of the very best teammates you could have. VanderVeen’s has an innate ability to help coach not just x’s and o’s to his fellow players, but also by instructing his peers on how to treat teammates and be a leader. Brent’s influence will go far beyond his minutes played when the Beavers take the field this year. it will be in the ears of players who are not sure what to do and it will be in the way the team holds itself.
Ironically, as a tight end, Brent has already shown that he is not only a great athlete but also a plus pass catcher. While many might have thought it was a nice story to have Brent switch to tight end, after watching the results of his hard work the last three years, I have no doubt that his goal is nothing less than to be on the field for that first snap of the 2015 season. I for one wouldn’t bet against him either. No one knows the routes or playbook better and as he prepares physically for the shift, he also will have two years to perfect it. Brent will make his mark on the field before it is all said and done, but in terms of being a Beaver we can be proud of, and a proud member of the Beaver Football Fraternity, he should already be a fan favorite.
Unless you are a fan of the teams we play. Then you will most like fined a handful of reasons per game to not be excited about Brent.
Go Beavers and Beaver Nation, don’t sleep on Brent VanderVeen.