It's not written anywhere that a talented football player shouldn't be equally skilled at working equations, but it was nonetheless surprising to learn that Tanis Ready, the Wichita Wild's new starting linebacker, has a degree in Professional Mathematics.
So he can deliver a big hit and solve for X.
Still, the question begged to be asked of the former Friends University star: What do you do with a Professional Mathematics degree?
"To tell you the truth, I'm not really sure," Ready admitted with a smile before adding that it would be probably be good for "accounting or something."
What's perfectly clear is that Ready is applying what he learned on the football field at Friends as a member of the surging Wild.
After last week's huge road upset of league power Sioux Falls, S.D., the Wild (4-1) has won three consecutive games and is the talk of the Indoor Football League.
Almost as suddenly, due to the departure of Lamont Reid, Ready has gone from backup linebacker/special teams player to starter.
In the victory over previously unbeaten Sioux Falls, he had nine tackles, including one for loss, and, according to coach Ken Matous, played an "outstanding game." Because of Reid, the Wild has grown accustomed to such performances from the LB spot.
An all-league player who left the team to finish his degree, Reid was a relentless tackler and an imposing figure, thanks to a muscular 6-foot-2 frame.
Listed at an even 6-feet, Ready isn't nearly as intimidating, but don't be fooled.
"When you look at him, you might not think he's a football player, especially at this level," defensive coordinator Troy Black said. "You might think, 'Uh, is that a high school kid?' But I'll tell you what, Tanis is a hard-nosed kid — a typical Oklahoma kid — who plays the game hard and plays it smart.
"He's got that natural linebacker instinct — a great ability to read and react. You can't teach that."
For the past two seasons, Reid led the Wild in a statistic that won't be found in the box scores: most pad-crunching hits. Every game, it seemed, he wowed the crowd with a ferocious tackle or two.
Sneaky fast and physical, Ready won't disappoint in that category, Black said.
"Yeah, I feel like I can deliver a good blow," Ready said. "I mean, I'm not gonna be timid about sticking my nose in there and hitting anybody in the league. I've always had that mentality. You play football to hit people."
The comment illustrates an attitude that Matous loves.
"Tanis doesn't say much," Matous said. "He's just a good old-fashioned football player."
Notes — Wild QB Dixie Wooten has accounted for 11 touchdowns (six rushing, five passing) the past two weeks.... The Wild has beaten tonight's opponent, Omaha, three straight times.... The Wild is playing up the rivalry, saying in a media release that the teams have "disdain" for each other.