by Emily Mosier
“Football, it’s the greatest thing on earth.” These words were spoken by McKenzie Bryant, who can often be found helping Troy’s inside linebackers practice, sometimes on the defensive field during official training, sometimes off the clock.
When Bryant found out in January that Troy’s head football coach needed student assistants, the incoming freshman knew this was her chance to be a part of Troy’s football family. She arrived on campus with 12 letters of recommendation.
And then, she became the only female student football assistant for the Trojans, a position that is rarely given to a woman, on any campus.
“I love the intensity and aggression that’s brought out in the game,” Bryant said. “I also love the softer side, the team aspect and how they all treat each other like family.
“I can’t describe what it’s like being a part of that. It’s just, different in the best way possible.”
Bryant’s days often begin at 8 a.m. Before class, after class and even during lunch, she is recording stats, tagging films, attending meetings with the inside linebackers, making pass cards for the scout offense and helping run drills during practice.
“If I could get more female student workers to come out and they’re just like McKenzie, I’ll take all of them,” said Coach Jon Sumrall, the head football coach. “She might outwork some of our full time GAs. As I’ve gotten to know her, she’s a rockstar, she’s knowledgeable football wise, she’s a relentless worker, she’s got a great sense of confidence about her.
“She’s a tremendous addition to our program, brings a lot of value, and takes pride in her work. I cannot say enough good things about her.”
Bryant is a broadcast journalism major from Bay Minette, Alabama. While playing softball intermittently, she was the manager for the football and basketball teams at her school. Her love for football was born in the fourth grade.
“Whenever I was in elementary school, we had drafts and team captains. We had a big class, so we’d have football tournaments.
“And I’d always take these little index cards, and I’d have plays drawn up.”
Although she began the semester with plans of one day working for ESPN, she is now debating if she would rather become a football coach.
“If you’re a female in sports, 9 times out of 10, guys expect you to know everything,” Bryant said. “If there’s one thing you don’t know, they’re going to be like, ‘yeah, you don’t really know sports.’ So that causes a lot of reservation for females. I felt like if I was a football coach, it would really show the girls who are reserved that hey, you can like football. We are just as smart.
“We can do literally anything.”