November 8, 2008

Interview: Brian Brunner discusses CMU career

As one of the most intriguing storylines this year, backup quarterback Brian Brunner has been thrust back into a role he won two years ago; the starting quarterback for the Central Michigan Chippewas. An ankle injury to starter Dan LeFevour has once again placed the Hubertus, Wisconsin Senior in the spotlight, much like his concussion did two years ago for LeFevour.

All he's done in his five appearances and two starts this year is thrown for 981 yards, six touchdowns and broke a school record with 485 passing yards in the Chippewas last game against Indiana. In the upcoming game against Northern Illinois, we may not know who will be under center, but we do know the game will be vital for CMU's season.

"I have tremendous respect for the Northern Illinois program. Year in and year out, they are the class of the MAC in terms of toughness. I remember going there on a recruiting visit, and I mean, there was nothing. But they have just grown and continue to be a great program" said Brunner.

By now, most people know the overall story Brian Brunner this year, but we here at caught up with him recently to get a better perspective of him as a person and not just an athlete. In a series of rapid fire questions, Chippewa fans, get ready to meet the extraordinary person that is Brian Brunner.

Favorite NFL team?

"Green Bay Packers."

Quarterback you most resemble?

"I have a lot of respect for Peyton Manning, but from a competitive standpoint, Aaron Rodgers".

Most embarrassing song on your iPod?

"Faithfully, by Journey."

Favorite moment as a Central Michigan Chippewa?

"I would say beating Western Michigan earlier this year. But a close second would be being named a captain by my teammates"

Favorite Mount Pleasant hangout?

"The library is sort of my sanctuary."

Hidden Talent?

"Well, I don't really know if it's that hidden, but I like to read a lot of poetry."

Favorite Book?

"The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon."

Toughest loss?

"One game that really left a sour taste in our mouth was Eastern Michigan last year. We had a chance to make a statement and we blew it. It just left a real sour taste in our mouths."

Brunner is a Journalism Major and currently writes a blog for the NCAA. Chippewa fans may also recognize his commercial that is played during CMU home games.

"The blog is a real cool experience. It gives fans great insight into our lives as student athletes, not just on Saturdays. Plus, it's also a chance for me to share my unique perspective on the world. With the commercial, I remember standing on the sidelines during the Eastern Illinois game and hearing my voice, and looking up surprised. When we recorded it, I just expected it to be an online thing, I never thought it would be played on the jumbotron. I did do it in one take without a script," said a grinning Brunner.

Chippewa fans may also recognize Brunner as the quarterback running over opposing defenders. Even though sliding has been mentioned by the coaching staff, don't look for Brunner to take the easy way down by sliding.

"It's been mentioned once or twice," laughed Brunner.

"But I think I have a better chance of sliding and hurting myself than just lowering my shoulder."

After throwing for a school record 485 yards and compiling five total touchdowns against a Big Ten squad in Indiana, the stats are starting to match his talent, and the thought of him playing at the next level was brought up.

"That's a bridge I want to cross when it comes. Right now I'm just focused on Northern Illinois and the rest of the season."

Then that big and infectious smile came across his face.

"But I would be lying if I've never thought about putting on the green and gold before," admitted Brunner.

Brunner, who has been through some tough situations in his career with CMU, also offered some advice to future Chippewas.

"Number one, you just got to keep things in perspective. It may seem overwhelming at first, but CMU is such a positive experience and to throw away that experience because it is too overwhelming is a shame."

In his final question with, Brunner was asked to create a title for a story on his CMU career.

"Man, that's a tough question. I'm usually just a writer, I leave the titles up to the editors. I don't know, The Incredible Journey of Brian Brunner, we'll go with that."

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