Interview: Washington Football RB Bryce Love

ASHBURN, VA — August 20, 2020 Washington Football Team running back Bryce Love spoke to the media after the third day in pads and final weekday practice of the week.

On his rehab process and returning to play:

“It was a tough experience. I kind of wanted to look at it through the bright spots, and look back on the opportunity I had to sit back and learn from [RB] Adrian [Peterson] and [former Washington RB] Chris Thompson and every other guy that was in the room. Learning how to carry yourself as a pro, and beyond that being able to take time away, focus on my rehab and get back to the point where I am now. Just things like that. Really trying to take it day by day, find light in the dark, things like that.”

On missing offseason work due to Covid:

“I look at it as everyone’s kind of in the same situation. Me, I am a little bit of a step behind in the sense that I didn’t get to play last year, so that’s even more time. But again, I was looking at it through the bright spots and being able to take more time to rehab and more time to getting the playbook and learning different things like that. I looked at it as an opportunity to compete. [Head] Coach Ron [Rivera] says all the time, the people who took advantage of that time will already be a step ahead when it comes to these times now. I really wanted to take advantage of that and I’m happy to be where I am.”

On how his game fits into offensive coordinator Scott Turner’s system:

“I’m comfortable with all of it. In college, I got the opportunity to be under [former Stanford offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren] and [Stanford offensive coordinator] Tavita [Pritchard] and [Head Coach David] Shaw, of course. Seeing [Carolina RB] Christian [McCaffrey] do those things, it kind of puts you at ease because I know what system he’s coming from, and I came from the same one. So just being able to be versatile. That was one of the things I really focused on. Being able to run routes, catch out the backfield, just gaining confidence and doing all of those things is what I wanted to focus on. I accept the opportunity and I’m excited to see where it goes.”

On being compared to McCaffrey as a former Stanford running back:

“I’ve talked to Christian about the system. I watched film on him pretty much every day and I’ve seen him play every game that he was playing in. At the end of the day, my big thing was realizing that there’s only one Christian. I’m focused on trying to be the best version of myself and go be able to go out there and compete at the highest level. ‘C-Mac’ is amazing, as everybody knows of course. The things he can do are special. I’m excited to, again, follow up behind his act and hopefully perform at a high level.”

On bringing back elements of his game from college:

“It kind of goes back to one of the previous points of just being blessed to come from the system that I do. Even last year, learning the offense that we had then and comparing it to this year—coming from a pro-style in college to what we’ve been running this year, it’s a lot of the same things. A lot of the terminology is different. That speaks to the things Coach Shaw was doing up there, Coach Bloom, Coach Tavita, playing at a high level, being able to go through checks and things like that. Just coming in with that mindset and being able to apply it at this level is kind of very similar in that regard.”

On if he has any limitation after knee injury:

“I feel good. I feel great. The big thing with it that I was blessed with is time. I was able to have all of last year to focus on my rehab, do all those different things. I was able to have the beginning of this year to focus on my rehab and keep getting better each and every day. That’s just been my biggest thing, just getting back into football. Doing all of the training and things like that is good, but stepping inside the lines, it’s a different beast in itself. Being patient, learning through reps and things like that, that’s been a big part for me and I’m happy to be where I am.”

On proving himself to a new coaching staff:

“That’s my thing, is just being out there and being able to compete and being the best version of myself. Everybody’s being evaluated and I want to go out there and show what I can do and hopefully let the chips fall where they do. In my eyes, I want to be the best and go out there and showcase those things.”

On if taking his first hit is on his mind:

“Not really. Not at all. I was always one of those guys where I never fought contact or anything like that. These past couple days we’ve done pass-pro reps and things like that. If anything, being able to sit that down just added to the confidence level of knowing that I can take tackles at different angles and things like that. When it comes to it, it’s going to be surreal to be in the first game. But I probably won’t be thinking too much about the first tackle.”

On when he began to feel back to 100 percent:

“Probably back to early on this year, say closer to maybe mid-February, toward the beginning of March. I was feeling really good, able to open up my stride. I was able to work here of course with the training staff, out in Pensacola, and worked with [personal strength and conditioning coach] Devin Salley out here for a good bit of time. I feel like we’re getting to the places where I’m getting comfortable with it. Now, that’s the biggest thing, I mean with any injury, is getting back to football and being able to be comfortable with the different steps, with the different footwork. You can feel 100 percent, but getting back to actual football things is something in itself. Taking that time to get back to football things was big for me.”

On what he’s learned from the running back room:

“A.P., you know A.P. is A.P. One of the biggest things with A.P. is, for how great he is of course and his accomplishments and accolades and how cool and down to earth he actually is. Other than that, how he approaches week in and week out and how he approaches his body. I’ve gotten a lot of different exercises from him, used different tools that he’s put me on, different things like that. Chris Thompson, the same kind of thing with him. Seeing how he takes care of himself and how beloved he is in this building and still is. All of those different things. So many different things that they brought in showing what it means to be a pro. [I’m] absorbing that and taking it and applying it to myself.”

On how he stacks up with the running backs:

“I feel like I stack up well. At the end of the day, we’re all competing. That’s how I look at it and that’s how I’ll probably always look at it. Just being able to go out there and compete. All of us want to showcase what we can do. That’s the big thing, is being able to be a part of room that’s as versatile and has as much talent as we have. It’s really a blessing to be able to see a rep and try to replicate that from a confidence standpoint in my regards. I feel good. I feel like I stack up well. I’m excited to be able to go out each and every day.”

On if he thinks of this year as a new start:

“Yeah, in the sense for everyone around this building. It’s a different environment, it’s different people. I’ve really always just focused on being the best version of myself. There’s different bodies, different energy and I’m excited to be a part of the future.”

On what kept him going for his return:

“I was just focused all day, day in and day out, on being the best version of myself. I felt like I had the opportunity to play at the highest level. This team took a chance on me, and I wanted to showcase the talent that I have. This has been my dream since I was a kid. It’s a blessing to be able to go out and prepare each day. It really changes your mindset. It really changes how you look at things. I appreciate every day that I’m blessed with this opportunity to go out and do the things that I am, especially for where I was last year around this time. It really does put things into perspective.”

On thinking the team needs him more now:

“No, that never really crossed my mind. My thing was always to be ready or to stay ready so I didn’t really have to get ready when the time came. I always prepare. I learned from Christian to always prepare like you’re the starter. That was the big thing in college, to always prepare like your number could be called at any point in time. That’s how I kind of approach each and every day regardless how long I’m out there and what I’m doing, getting into the playbook, learning all that I can learn. When it’s time to get out there and execute, just being ready.”

On goals for himself this season:

“I’m not really a numbers kind of guy. I’ve always just been focused on being the best version of myself and letting the chips fall where they do. I want to be able to go out there and compete. I want to set records on the offense. I want to score a lot of touchdowns like everybody does on the team and find out a way to contribute to the team’s success. That’s always been my mindset, and I’m excited for it.”

On having a 10-minute rule to overcome his setbacks:

“There were a lot of 10-minute rules, I’m not going to lie. It was a lot of reps at that. It was tough. The hardest part was just not being able to do certain things and just kind of being patient with it, letting time take its course. It’s frustrating at times, of course. But like you brought up, I had 10 minutes where I’d think about it and then I’d kind of let it go, go back to doing knee exercises or go back to watching the game, this, that or another. I look at it as a blessing, especially now. Again, you know to bring up where I was back then to where I am now, I just look at it as a blessing and as an opportunity.”

On his impressions on Rivera:

“Just his mindset, how he approaches each and every day. He preaches family and we really do feel that in the energy and how he carries himself and the things that he’s brought to this team. I was blessed, I took a visit to the Panthers in the draft process and I got to meet him a little bit there. For a [University of California] guy, he’s a pretty cool dude, so I’ll give him that.”

On when he developed his 10-minute rule:

“I would say probably in high school. I wasn’t really playing that much in early years. It was kind of awkward between ground my sophomore year when I had juniors and seniors above me who were playing more. I really wasn’t playing that much. I would get frustrated. My dad and people around me would just say, ‘Focus on the things you can control.’ It’s funny because when I went to Stanford, that’s something that [former Stanford coach Shannon] Turley told his players, just focusing on the things that you can control. Having a knee injury, I couldn’t control that but I could control how I responded to that, how I prepared when the opportunity came. So that’s how I looked at it. I just took it day by day and got better from there.”

On how his skills fit the offense:

“I feel good about it. It’s kind of like the same things I said, knowing where Christian came from and the things he was doing and taking that and applying it to my game and being able to, my senior year, being able to come out the backfield and catch more passes and things like that. I feel like the step is right there in line to go out there now. I feel like I’ve done a good job so far of going out, showcasing the different things out of the backfield. There’s always room for improvement. I always want to get better at it. I’m happy with where I am. I’m excited to fit into it and find a role within the offense.”

On how Covid has affected his plan to go to medical school after his playing career:

“That’s definitely down the line. One of the things is I was actually going to do a shadow at the children’s hospital. But of course with everything going on I didn’t get to do that. But, it’s sad for where we are. Things are hopefully going to get under control at some point. That’s definitely the end goal, is to be a doctor. That’s definitely down the line.”

On how he connected with QB Alex Smith with rehab:

“It’s crazy, we both were not able to do much when I came into training camp and this past training camp last year. But, it’s a blessing to see how far he’s come as well. Even months ago, he came back out here, we were throwing routes together and rehabbing and different things like that. We connected over that. He’s just a great person. There’s really not much else that hasn’t been said about him. He’s amazing, high character, he does things the right way. For him to be where he is a blessing in itself. He’s looked good out there. When he was throwing routes, he was looking good throwing routes. I’m excited for him to get his opportunity as well to go out and compete and showcase what he can do.”

On joking with Rivera over the Cal-Stanford rivalry:

“We go back and forth about it. It’s hard to talk junk right now because they’ve got the axe, but we go back and forth about it.”

On what McCaffrey shared with him about Turner’s offense:

“He enjoyed it. Pretty much just excitement. I’m excited for the opportunity and to see how things really work out. From us both being at Stanford to going to the league to him having the OC, all of a sudden, his old OC comes over here, it’s just crazy how some things work out. He loves Coach Turner. Coach Turner’s a great guy. I’m excited to learn from him and go from there.”

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