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From Metro League to the Pac-12

Southridge Alumni, Bradley Bickler, is using a red-shirt freshman year to be prepared for a successful career at Oregon State.

Kyle Pinnell

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A year ago Southridge alumni, Bradley Bickler, committed to Oregon State University to play football and study business. This year instead of playing teams like Aloha or Beaverton, he has gone up against programs like USC, Washington, and Arizona.

Bickler is a redshirt freshman where he has been spending a majority of his time on the scout team helping the first team prepare for the next weeks opponent. While he doesn’t travel with the team, being redshirted gives him the opportunity to learn the playbook while practicing against Pac-12 level players.

At Southridge Bickler played quarterback and a little bit on the line. At Oregon State, his role is to be a defensive end, something that he is learning how to be better at during his freshman season. The hardest part for him might be dealing with the physicality.

“I don’t think anything could have prepared me for this, especially playing in the trenches because it’s physical every play,” Bickler said. “If you don’t give your all every play then you’re going to get messed up.”

When Bickler first heard about fall camp, he believed that it would only be a couple of days of intense practicing a week. It was much more. From 7 am to 9 pm the team would have meetings, practice, and watch film.

“I did not know fall camp was going to be like that,” Bickler said. “I thought we were going to practice a couple of days a week, but we were going eight days on and one day off for a month.”

While fall camp wasn’t that enticing, Bickler enjoyed the freshman-only summer program. During that time he got to know his fellow freshman even better through living in the dorms, lifting, and conditioning together. In fact, his locker is right next to former Westview Wildcat, Connor Laverty, a player that Bickler faced in the Metro League.

In the Metro League Bickler faced teams like Jesuit and Beaverton, however, in the Pac-12 the teams on the other sideline have been high-profile programs such as USC, Washington, and soon, Oregon. If players go one-hundred percent in practice than they won’t be ready to face these high profile teams.

“You don’t really realize that you’re playing with a Pac-12 team until the competition you face in practice,” Bickler said. “You have to give one hundred percent every day.”

Facing some of college’s more prestigious teams can be a surreal experience for many freshman and Bickler is no exception. While Oregon State’s opponent Friday night, the USC Trojans, are in a down year, it is still a program that many players have seen dominate the competition in the past.

“It’s crazy. Growing up I’ve always dreamed about being here and it doesn’t really hit you until you see USC or Washington on the opposing sideline,” Bickler said.

In just a few weeks Bickler will be on the opposite sideline of the Oregon Ducks, a team that he has grown up a fan of. Being a part of a historic rivalry is surreal to Bickler and he cannot wait to see the “Civil War” game from a perspective that he has never had before.

While Bickler has spent most of his time on the scout team this year, he is excited for what the future entails. Soon enough he will be lining up against some of the best college players in the country and will have to be ready.

“I didn’t really know what to expect coming in, but it’s been a great experience just playing at this level, it’s always been my dream,” Bickler said. “I wasn’t looking to redshirt, but for me there’s a lot that I’ve had to learn.”

 

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