Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Contra Costa Times: Former QB tries something different

Van Meter, buried on the depth chart, gives up football for rugby

By Jonathan Okanes

BERKELEY -- Bryan Van Meter had been in Cal's football program almost four years before he finally got to run around on the field during a game. That was one of the signs that it might be time for something new.

Van Meter, a reserve quarterback, left the Bears program after last season to try rugby. A walk-on stuck behind Nate Longshore, Kevin Riley and Brock Mansion on Cal's depth chart, Van Meter took the field only as kick holder.

It was a job he took seriously and handled well last season. And when usually flawless long snapper Nick Sundberg sent one sailing over Van Meter's head on an extra-point attempt at Washington in November, Van Meter had to -- get this -- run after the ball.   "That was the first time I ran in a game," Van Meter joked. "(Holding) is not doing much, but it's a way to get on the field. It was something I was proud of."  Van Meter enjoyed being part of the Bears' football program, but with only one year of eligibility remaining and virtually no chance of taking snaps in a game, he decided he didn't want to go through another season getting no reps at practice.

But Van Meter didn't just change sports. He tried out for one of the best rugby programs in the universe, despite having virtually no experience in the sport. The result? Because of a rash of injuries to Cal's wings, Van Meter has become a regular member of the Bears' playing rotation, starting eight games and scoring two tries.

Read the rest of the story here.

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