The Ball State football program is off to an excellent start, with a 2-1 record including a 40-14 win over Army and the offense scoring at an impressive pace (118 points over the first three games of the season). We caught up with team captain and wide receiver Connor Ryan to talk about the team's goals and motto, plus his post-season plans (wherein we give a plug to Merrill Lynch).
NUVO: What is the toughest part about being a college athlete?
Connor Ryan: Time management. It's a full-time job. We are students first. We are in the classroom all day, and then head right out to the practice field - and meetings right after that.
Ryan: A group of upperclassmen came up with it. To me, personally, it means you are willing to do anything for the team. Anytime, whether it's winter conditioning, or on game day, or anywhere. Whether it's home, away, in the classroom or weight room. It fits our team perfectly.
NUVO: What are the team's expectations for this season?
Ryan: One game at a time. We thought it was very important that we just not say, we want to be MAC (Mid-American Conference) champs. To get to that we realize it's one day at a time, one practice at time. Our goal setting is on a weekly basis.
NUVO: Has playing college football taught you any lessons about life?
Ryan: I remember when I was younger my dad would always say, "Football is the best life teacher." It's been completely true. It's taught me a lot about myself and the people I surround myself with.
NUVO: Do you remember your first touchdown in college?
Ryan: I do, I do. It was against Purdue, my redshirt freshman year. It was a seam route right down the middle. I'll never forget that. It was a special moment for me.
NUVO: What does it feel like to score a touchdown.
Ryan: It's hard to describe. Not many people get to experience it. You catch that ball, and you realize you are in the end zone. You have a thousand emotions going on inside. You want to celebrate with your team, and you hear the crowd screaming. Then fifteen seconds later, you are right back on the sidelines, and in my case, I head right back on the field for kickoff.
NUVO: What are you planning to do for a career if football doesn't continue?
Ryan: I'm realistic with myself. I will be starting a job in January. I will be a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch in Carmel. I'm proud of that. My goal was to get a degree and play as much football as possible. It was a dream of mine to play in the NFL or CFL, but as of now, I'm just focused on this season.
NUVO: Can we get some recommendations for good shows or books?
Ryan: My favorite show is Suits, and go read Bo Schembechler's Bo's Lasting Lessons book.
NUVO: If you were forced to write your social media status right at this very minute, what would you say?
Ryan: Hungry and going to dinner. Hopefully get a nap after that. #BallStateFootball
NUVO: What do you hope people will say about you when your time is up here on earth?
Ryan: That I was hardworking and a leader. A great family man.