Wichita Force

Bryant adds new look to Wild defensive front

The chicks are gonna love Wichita Wild newcomer Colin Bryant. Opposing quarterbacks? Not so much.

That's the scouting report from a coaching staff that is positively smitten with Bryant, a 6-foot-5, 265-pound defensive lineman and the prize offseason recruit for the Indoor Football League team.

According to defensive coordinator Troy Black, Bryant has the size, speed and power to dominate from the left end, thus making life miserable for QBs on the other side of the ball.

And Black adds that Bryant has the looks and physique to drive the ladies... well, Wild.

Teammates have already nicknamed him Fabio.

"If I ever get reincarnated, I want to come back as him, with the good looks and all those muscles," Black said.

Black chuckled at that comment before adding that defensive line coach Paul Savage already has dibs as Bryant's wingman when the team hits the town.

Then Black chuckled again.

Black, though, takes a serious, although enthusiastic, approach when describing what Bryant could mean to the Wild, which reached the conference title game last year. The team opens the season tonight at Hartman Arena against the expansion La Crosse (Wis.) Spartans, and an improved defensive line, bolstered by the addition of Bryant, is one reason the Wild considers itself a championship contender.

"Bryant is just physically imposing," Black said. "He's going to give us something we've never had — a fast, quick, powerful guy who can just explode off the edge and get immediate pressure on the quarterback."

At one of the team's first practices, quarterback Dixie Wooten nodded toward Bryant, who was huddled with fellow linemen.

"Physically, he's a freak," Wooten said. "He's big, fast, strong. I wouldn't be surprised if he got 15 to 20 sacks this year."

A graduate of Minnesota State-Mankato, where he played tight end, Bryant has six years of indoor football experience, including three in the higher-level Arena Football League.

While a surprisingly large number of IFL players cling to hopes of moving up to the NFL, Bryant is realistic. Armed with a math degree, he dreams not of chasing down Drew Brees, but of teaching and coaching at the high school level.

"I'm 29 — old," he said. "At this point, I'm just playing football for fun. This might be my last year, but I've said that for the past three years. I still really enjoy playing."

While the focus may be on Bryant's physical tools, running back Darius Fudge was impressed with how he blew up an attempted screen pass at practice.

Bryant's instincts and football IQ were apparent on the play.

"I was sure he wasn't going to be able to make the play, but he did," Fudge said. "He's got a great motor and he's real smart."

In other words, not just a pretty face.

Notes — As of 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, the team had 750 tickets left for the opener tonight. The team expects the 4,850-seat Hartman Arena to sell out.... Wooten, whose late-season arrival was key to the postseason success, reported to training camp about 20 pounds lighter.... Defensive end Justin Montgomery, a force at times last season, won't join the team for a few weeks while he gets into better shape, Black said.... La Crosse is coached by former Jayhawk and Green Bay Packer Gilbert Brown.