May 2, 2017

Bisons Profile | Brendan Desjardine

PHOTO: Jillian Kirby

When it comes to any sport, making adjustments is key. Linebacker Brendan Desjardine knows this quite well from personal experience.

His biggest adjustment on the field came after high school in 2015. The Garden City graduate was told by Bisons football head coach Brian Dobie that if he wanted to play at the next level, he would have to switch from defensive end to linebacker.

“He was a provincial team defensive end and I didn’t think he would be that at our level, but he couldn’t just walk in and play linebacker because he didn’t know what the heck he was doing,” said Dobie. “So I said, ‘Look, go to junior (football) and spend a year or two there, but ask if you can fit in as a linebacker; ask if they’ll at least give you a shot.’ And they (the Langley Rams of the British Columbia Football Conference) did.”

PHOTO: Brigitta Desjardine

PHOTO: Brigitta Desjardine

The toughest part about moving to linebacker, Desjardine discovered, was the shift in responsibilities.

“Trying to cover receivers and the speed difference were the most difficult because I always had the speed, but as a defensive lineman you never really get to build it up, because you’re one step and the line is right there, or you’re chasing the quarterback,” said Desjardine.

“So when you get used in coverage and running with someone, it takes a while, but once you’re good, you get it.”

It’s safe to say Desjardine made a quick study, as he was named a BCFC All-Star in both 2015 and 2016 under the tutelage of Bisons football alumni Khari Joseph and Jeff Alamolhoda – both former university standouts currently on the Rams staff.

Desjardine knew he wanted to come home eventually, however, and after gaining the necessary knowledge and experience he needed in British Columbia, the timing seemed right in 2017 – especially considering Manitoba had two open spots at linebacker after the graduation of both DJ Lalama and Bami Adewale.

“My dream has always been to be a Bison and just to play for my hometown and put on for Manitoba,” said Desjardine. “It’s just awesome, I love it. I’m very blessed.”

The defensive system that Alamolhoda and Joseph help run in Langley is similar to what Manitoba does, making the learning curve less steep for Desjardine. That was apparent during the three days at spring camp, as he was one of the stand-out players on defence.

“It’s very similar in the sense that the terminology is the same, not all of it, but some,” Desjardine said. “There are a few things they use that I was taught at Rams, so it’s helped out a lot.”