Campbell vs. Gaither

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BLACKSBURG, Va. – I promised a couple leftovers on left tackle Bruce Campbell from my Wednesday dead-tree edition story.

Here it is, now that I have three hours to kill at Lane Stadium.

Campbell is one of three true freshmen to start on the offensive line at some point during their true freshman season. Granted, it was only one game, but joining Stephon Heyer and Jared Gaither wasn’t bad company.

Campbell, if you’ve never seen him, is an absolute mountain of a man at 6-foot-7 – and you still wouldn’t guess he’s 295 pounds. That said, there are few people I’ve met where I could sense an appendage with a simple handshake.

So Campbell’s a big dude. But so was Gaither, who was 6-foot-9 and somewhere in the ballpark of three-fiddy when he was in College Park.

Both Gaither and Campbell spent a year at Hargrave, so there is common ground between the two of them. And it was worth wondering what the behind-the-scenes contrast was.

So I asked offensive line coach Tom Brattan to describe his two students, one old and one current.

“Bruce is 6-7, 300 and he looks like he’s 220. He’s 300 pounds and he has abs, he has a washboard stomach,” Brattan said. “I think both obviously were very good basketball players. The record board down there with the vertical jumps and the 40 times is either Bruce or Jared. It’s an interesting question because both were thrust in early and both played pretty well.”

Brattan possesses a wry sense of humor, and you can be sure to hear at least one amusing take during a conversation.

Sure enough, he had a comparison between the left tackles he didn’t want to make.

“I hope there’s no similarity in the sense that Bruce comes out early,” said Brattan, referring to Gaither’s decision to turn pro after two years. “We don’t need that to happen.”

Patrick Stevens

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