Kyle Bramble Sprints Toward the Finish

Running back Kyle Bramble ‘16 advances the ball for the Big Green

Running back Kyle Bramble ‘16 advances the ball for the Big Green

We have reached the halfway point in the season. Dartmouth is 5-0 and is nationally ranked for the first time since their 1996 championship season (25th in the STATS FCS Poll). The Dartmouth Review’s Peter D. Vo  got the chance to sit down with starting running back Kyle Bramble ’16 and ask him about the success thus far.

The Dartmouth Review (TDR): First things first, how is the season going for you?

Kyle Bramble (KB): I think our defense is doing really well. As an offense we’ve had a couple hiccups, but we’re still blowing teams out of the water. However, I don’t think we’ve played the great game that we’re capable of playing just yet. Right now we’re trying to stay focused on Columbia this week. Obviously a lot of us are thinking ahead to Harvard next week, but it is a big thing to stay focused on this week. That hurt us a little last week against Central Connecticut. Our offense did very poorly in the first half. The score at halftime was 14-7. We were all just shocked. We should be killing this team right now. Why aren’t we up by more? So this week, we’re just going to concentrate on Columbia. We’re just going to take it a week at a time.

TDR: Do you look at Columbia as a game you have to do well in, or as a chance to adjust, fine-tune, and, as you said, improve on offense in preparation for Harvard?

KB: We only play ten games since we are not allowed to play post-season, so every single game is a big game for us. No Ivy League team can slip through the cracks and beat us. One loss to Columbia or Harvard counts as a league loss and could ruin our season.

TDR: With that mindset, is [quarterback Dalyn Williams ’16] going to play this weekend along with most of the first string? Last year he didn’t play a lot against Columbia.

KB: I think we were doing really well at halftime, so we didn’t really need the starters to play the second half. I was in the same boat as him. We were also away last year, so we could only bring a certain amount of guys. Obviously we don’t want anyone to get injured. Hopefully, we can be in a good situation for next week. We’ll see.

TDR: To someone looking on the outside, it looks as though the team has not changed personnel-wise. Dalyn Williams returned to start at quarterback. You along with Brian Grove, Ryan McManus, and Victor Williams man the skill positions. The defense remains mostly intact with guys like Chai Reece and Vernon Harris at corner. So, what do you think is different from last year? What makes this team better from last year?

\KB: For me personally, I feel like we’re all a lot closer to each other. Dalyn’s really stepped up in the past few years to be a leader of this team. He’s really built himself up to be a great player on offense this year. The offensive line respects him and all of us. We all just get along and we all play for each other. That’s the biggest thing.

TDR: Is the bond and closeness also present because a lot of you guys, such as you, Dalyn, Brian, and Ryan are all seniors? 

KB: Yeah. Most of our starters are seniors this year. We do have a few fifth years and we respect them just as much. So we all feel like one team and we all want to do what’s best for the team. We aren’t playing for just ourselves. I don’t even check my stats anymore. If we win the game, I’m happy that we’re getting better and winning.

TDR: I know you went through a tough injury in the off season, so how are you holding up?

KB: So, two years ago I tore my ACL and then I tore it again late last year. Fortunately I didn’t miss much of last season, but this one hurt a little bit more than the previous one. I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to come back this season. Luckily my body healed just before the season started. I was out there in preseason hitting again and my knee felt fine. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep it that way.

TDR: You are from Indiana right?

KB: Yeah, I’m from southern Indiana.

TDR: Cool. So, this is just a schematic curiosity on my part, but did you run in a power- I pro-style offense or a spread attack like here at Dartmouth?

KB: We ran a power-I.

TDR: Whoa! So, it’s a bit different then?

KB: Completely.

TDR: Well then, what’s the biggest adjustment you’ve had to make? In the I-form you just take the hand-off and run straight whereas in the spread you take it from the side and either sweep left or right or try and go up the middle.

KB: I guess Dartmouth has changed the offense a lot over the past few years. We actually used to run the ball more than we do now since we’re a passing team now. I think in freshman year, the hardest thing was just learning the playbook. I improved a lot from freshman to sophomore year just because I was used to running the ball downhill and not really spreading the ball out. I didn’t really know how the holes were going to open up, but being able to know the plays really helped with that. I watched a lot of film and can see how things develop a lot better now.

TDR: Now if only you could tell that to DeMarco Murray.

KB: Heh. Yeah.

TDR: So, I hear you’re majoring in engineering? Are you staying at Dartmouth for a fifth year to get your Bachelor’s of Engineering?

KB: No. Actually I’m going to try and get it in four years.

TDR: Wow. I can’t wrap my head around that. You’ve been through two ACL surgeries and are getting a B.E. in four years while the normal Dartmouth student would get it in five. What drives you to stay with football and keep up with it?

KB: Football has really done a lot for me. It got me into this school, and [Head Coach Buddy Teevens ’79] is a really great coach. I’ve gotten some great connections through football. Like I said earlier, I feel like every single person on the team is like one of my brothers. I’d let them down if I didn’t come back and try my hardest to compete. It’s the same thing that keeps you going in the weight room every week. You want to make yourself better to compete against the teams that beat us last year. We want to go 10-0 this year.

TDR: Yeah, and as a senior that’d be a great way to go out.

KB: Yeah. We haven’t won a ring yet, so the biggest thing is to come back and say, “Yeah I came back from two ACL surgeries, got my B.E., and won a ring all in the same year.” It would be a great accomplishment.

TDR: This is kind of an “out there” question and it’s going to feel like generic ESPN stuff: what kind of running back do you try to model yourself after? For example, Adrian Peterson? 

KB: Haha. Well in high school, coming out of the I-formation, I would just run downhill. So, I guess if I was in the open field with someone as athletic as I am I don’t know if I would be able to beat him, but I’d definitely try to run him over. I think I’m more of an aggressive running back.

TDR: So, what’s life after Dartmouth for Kyle Bramble? 

KB: I was going to go the engineering route at first, but after trying out a couple of internships, I didn’t really enjoy working as an engineer. I had an internship last summer with an investment firm that I really enjoyed, so I think I’m going to try to go back into financial services.

TDR: No thoughts about NFL or going pro? 

KB: Haha. I don’t think so. I don’t think they’re going to want a guy who’s had a lot of injuries.

TDR: Ok. Well then let’s look more into what Kyle Bramble is like. What do you do in your free time? Hobbies?

KB: Yeah. I just hang out with friends, play video games, and watch movies. Obviously I don’t have a lot of free time during the season. However, I’m going to have to find a new hobby after I get done with football. In winter and spring, I’ll have to find something to do. Maybe rugby or something like that, assuming my knee holds up.

TDR: Awesome! Thank you so much for taking the time to come out and chat. Good luck to you guys!

KB: Sounds good. Thanks, man!

Dartmouth is currently third in the Ivy League in total offense averaging 464.6 yards/game. Kyle and his fellow runners also boast the League’s third best rushing attack with 158.4 yards/game. On October 24th, he and the Big Green will look to take care of business against Columbia at home at Memorial Field before putting on the finishing touches in preparation for the big showdown at Harvard on the 30th.