By BRIAN WOODSON
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Only a handful of players remain from the 2011 football season when the Bluefield College Rams mostly played against themselves and a few club or college JV teams.
Dylan Kidd is one of those.
“The first year was definitely rough, especially after starting out in Pocahontas, that was the worst week of my life, it was long and it got treacherous,” said Kidd, whose Rams had originally planned to use the former Pocahontas High School for its football practice facility. “You would come out playing each other every week, never getting to play anybody else.
“It was boring kind of, it wasn’t a very good experience for the first year.”
It has gotten better, even if the Rams were still looking to snap a 20-game losing streak on Saturday at No. 18 Lindsey Wilson.
“It has been rough, but it has been enjoyable,” Kidd said. “It has changed a lot. It is nice to see it change every year, especially this year. It has came a long way.”
So has Kidd. The 5-foot-8, 170-pound sophomore wide receiver was raised in Christiansburg before spending his prep career as a three-sport standout at Bland County.
Football was, from his days playing neighborhood football with current teammate Devin Dean, his sport of choice.
“Pretty much football has been my love since I was little,” Kidd said. “I think I started playing in the second grade and never really quit. I have always been around football…
“Football has just got it for me, that is what I like. Mike Vick was my big inspiration. In high school and middle school I always wanted to be him, that is why I wear No. 7. I just love it.”
Kidd was part of the Bland County program that had success early in his prep career, but Kidd has done nothing but lose at Bluefield.
“The competition definitely changed from high school to college, As far as win-loss, it hasn’t been in my favor, but the competition and the learning experience, I have enjoyed it, it has been nice.” Kidd said. “I would definitely like to win some games.
“I actually had a couple of winning seasons (at Bland County), but losing and then coming here and losing, it has built my character definitely.”
Kidd and the Rams were slated to play Lindsey Wilson on Saturday, followed by next week’s season finale with Cumberlands, Ky., which is the second ranked NAIA club in the nation.
“It seems like every other week we are playing someone that is in the top 15, but really I like it,” Kidd said. “It gives you a chance to see where you measure up. Me, personally, I like to compete so it is nice to play against them. I like going against top DBs and see if they can check me or not.”
It was also the seventh road game of the season for the Rams, only two of which didn’t require a long bus trip and overnight stay.
“We are the road warriors this year, but last year we had a lot of games at home so it makes sense,” Kidd said “I will definitely be looking forward to playing more home games next year.”
Kidd was fifth on the team with eight receptions for 124 yards, and had thrown the ball four times, completing three for 73 yards. He had also run for 52 yards, and was averaging 21.6 yards on five kick returns.
Bluefield College head coach Ordell Walker has tried to find different ways to get the ball to Kidd.
“He is a former quarterback in high school so he plays our inside receiver for us,” Walker said. “We will do a pitch pass, a reverse pass and things like that, tricky stuff like that with him.
“(He is a) very, very intelligent football player. He is always in the right spot and knows what to do and knows not just his role, but all the other positions around him. I really, really enjoy coaching Dylan. He has improved so much as this season has gone and become a big part of our game plan each week.”
A talented athlete who played basketball, track and even some baseball at Bland County, Kidd has adjusted well to the college game.
“I like it, I like it a lot, I wish we passed more, but me playing quarterback in high school has helped me out here because now we have a couple of plays where I get in and throw the ball,” said Kidd, who had 10 receptions for 82 yards last season. “That is enjoyable. I don’t have all the stress that a quarterback normally has, I get to go in there and have fun with it.”
Kidd, like any receiver, would like to get the football more in the Bluefield option-style offense.
“If we could just get more involved, that is what I always say, I just want to get more involved,” said Kidd, who added a laugh. “I want the ball, I only have like eight catches on the whole year, I have got to go talk to Coach.”
A sports management major, Kidd was one of six players who made it through the initial ‘club’ season and are still playing for the Rams. The team basically spent an entire year just practicing, scrimmaging or playing against each other before playing for real last fall.
Most of that original class moved on, but Kidd stayed put, and is glad he did.
“I think a lot of it was mental toughness,” Kidd said. “It was hard out here, it was hard for me out here and I am from here, but I am just not a quitter so I stuck around.
“I always thought it could get better, I see it getting better now, especially with the new coaches. I think we are definitely heading in the right direction and I want to be a part of it when it does get better.”
—Contact Brian Woodson