Bean feeling anything but blue

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:46 AM ET

Arriving in Boise, Idaho, there was more to shock Josh Bean than just that bright blue football field. The linebacker honed his skills on the green turf with the Bishop Carroll Cardinals and junior Calgary Colts before punching his ticket to the NCAA Div. 1-A school.

None of that previous experience prepared him for the structured environment of big-time American college football.

"They have every minute of your day planned out, from seven in the morning until six at night," said Bean from Boise, home of that stark blue field at Broncos Stadium. "It was a challenge in my first semester. When I came down for workouts in the summer, there were practices.

"That gave me a good idea of the work ethic around here."

A usual work day would begin at 7 a.m., when Bean was required to show up for study hall.

After that, he would be off to a full complement of classes from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., then hit the gym for a quick workout. Team meetings would be next until about 3:30 p.m. when the entire 110-player program would practice.

If he was lucky and performed well, the day would be done and he could flop into bed exhausted.

"After all that, you have to go home and study," Bean said matter-of-factly. "It's unreal. (For the Colts), all I was doing was working and playing. I would go to work, practice, then go out for wings with the guys after practice. Not here. It's all business."

The program is working, though. The Broncos have gone undefeated this season (11-0) and will play New Year's Eve in the Liberty Bowl at Memphis. It may not be one of the important BCS games but a win would still be worth $1.35 million to the school.

Clearly this is the biggest single contest Bean has faced in his playing days.

"We finished up the season with five weeks to prepare and we have more film available than time to watch it all," said Bean. "We have to stay sharp. This is a serious game."

Bean red-shirted last season and was on the roster for every game as a freshman in 2004. He only got reps on defence in a pair of blowouts but he did have an impact on kickoff coverage.

He's second on his team in special teams tackles, with enough highlight-reel smacks in there to get himself noticed by the fans.

"After games, I get pulled aside from little kids that don't know my name but still want my autograph," he said. "Now some kids are starting to know my name because I made some big hits on the kickoff."

Although he will miss Christmas with his family, Bean couldn't be happier right now.

"Classes are good, I've got a 3.2 GPA so I'm on the honour roll on the football team, things are awesome."


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