Lineman Todd Therrien had college options as he finished his senior year at Williamsville East. He considered enrolling at a school with lower-level football, a place like Edinboro, where maybe he could play right away.
But Therrien has a soft spot for Western New York and a yearning to play Division I-A. So he decided to walk on at UB and hope for the best. That calculated gamble has resulted in Therrien being placed on scholarship and emerging as a key component of UB’s offensive line depth.
“This guy was a defensive lineman in the spring,” Quinn said. “Halfway through spring ball, we had a need for him to come over and add some depth to the offensive line. Next thing you know, the guy’s got a shot.
“If you prepare properly and have the right mind-set, those opportunities will present themselves.”
Therrien and fellow sophomore Bobby Blodgett have been filling in the last two days while right guard Dillon Guy recovers from an ankle sprain.
The call to duty has hastened Therrien’s need to acclimate to the demands of the position.
“Playing with control and just getting used to the mental aspect of the game,” Therrien said. “There’s a lot more thinking involved with offensive line, and I was playing center too for awhile, so I was a little bit all over the place with the mental aspect but I’m kind of getting used to it.
“At first it was different, but I’m really enjoying it now. I just want to help the team however I can. Our goal here is to win a MAC championship and win a bowl game, so I just want to do whatever it takes to help the team.”
Offensive line depth was a concern heading into camp. Potential existed among the backups. Experience did not. So long as Guy recovers as quickly as Quinn expects, his absence can be viewed as an opportunity to sharpen the line’s reinforcements.
“It was surprising and bittersweet,” Therrien said. “I love Dillon and he’s going to work hard to get back. I’m just filling in for him and doing the best I can to help the team out.
“I played left tackle at Williamsville East. I always had a sweet spot for defense but I think I can do both pretty good.”
With Therrien in the lineup, the Bulls have an East guard and a Williamsville South quarterback in Joe Licata.
“But he does live in South district, though,” Licata said. “I guess the tensions are a little lower now. We’re all wearing blue now.”
Therrien’s decision to follow his heart has paid off. He rolled the dice as a walk-on and continues to rise on the depth chart.
“I was looking at a few other schools, Edinboro being one of them, but I love this area, born and raised here, and I thought I could really make a difference here and help out a lot so I wanted to come here,” he said. “I fell in love with the coaching staff. It was a good move for me.”