FEATURE: Eric Braswell Reflects on Father's Guidance
Sept. 12, 2012
Since arriving to campus in 2010, sophomore defensive lineman Eric Braswell has made a few moves around the defensive front which suits the letterwinner just fine. A year after manning the defensive end position in the 3-4 alignment and making 11 starts, Braswell has moved over to the three-technique position for the upcoming 2012 season.
Not all young student-athletes could handle the deluge of information and techniques so swiftly and with ease, but that hasn’t been a problem for Braswell. Moving around while focusing on his responsibilities and duties is a trait instilled from birth to Eric from his father, Army Command Sergeant Major Allen Braswell.
“I’m still trying to learn and as Coach Ricky Logo likes to remind us, we’re not close to where we need to be, yet,” said Eric. “And that’s something that I agree with, I know I’m still young and just need to listen to Coach Logo – he’s been around some of the all-time greats like Demarcus Ware and Osi Umenyiora. He’s got a lot of knowledge that he’s always willing to drop on us, we just have to absorb it all and then execute.”
Braswell claims Texas as his home state, and Shoemaker High School in his home town of Killeen, but before the Braswells settled down in central Texas, they moved all over the country from California to Germany to Georgia with several stops along the way.
“It was nice growing up in different places around the country and especially in Germany – from the little that I remember,” says Eric. “It really gave me opportunities that an average person would never get to experience.”
For now, the Braswell parents call Korea their home while Allen is stationed over there. Piyanee, Eric’s mother, makes frequent trips to Houston where her son Eric and daughter live while Eric’s older brother serves in the Air Force in Hawai’i.
“My mom has always been there for both my dad and I. She’s been a huge influence on my life. But they both have always stood behind me and supported me in whatever I do – I can’t thank them enough for putting me in the place I am now. They’re both my heroes.”
Unfortunately Command Sergeant Major Braswell doesn’t think he’ll be able to make it to any games this season, but Piyanee will be inside of Robertson Stadium to accept the hero’s welcome in her husband’s honor on the opening game.
Both the Braswells are frequent participants in UHCougars.com live blogs and chats and followed the Cougars around the country the past two years. Eric talks to them on Skype every chance he gets and says the 14-hour time zone difference can be an annoyance, especially during two-a-days, but says the calls are always welcome.
With last season’s 13-1 season and dreams wrapped up, Eric hopes he can build off that successful redshirt-freshman campaign in which he gained consistency down the stretch.
“As the season went on, I became acclimated to the game speed and the size of the opposing offensive line,” said Eric. “I didn’t want the season to end as I felt I was getting stronger down the stretch. Now I’m locked and loaded and ready for this season to get here, I’m real excited about that.
“I played three-technique in high school and was recruited to play that position but it’s not a big deal either way if I’m lined up at the five-technique position or more inside - I can be very versatile for us up and down the defensive line as I’ve played multiple positions already.”
“You know, I’d like to learn to play every position along the line so I would never have to come off the field.”
It hasn’t always been exciting for Braswell’s start at Houston. In 2010, he had to redshirt and didn’t find it as fun.
“Sitting out as a redshirt my true freshman year, that was a tough year,” Eric recalls. “It felt like I had been away from the football field for so long, and my father was serving over in Iraq that year. But whenever I got frustrated with not playing, I would try and talk with my dad, or at least remind myself of the sacrifices he was making at the time. So that helped put things in perspective for me.”
Eric says one of the biggest impacts and lessons his dad has imparted on him is the willingness to be positive and overcome your problems by thinking critically and staying optimistic.
Making the small sacrifice for the greater good of the team is attributed to his father from Eric. Watching his dad make sacrifices all over the world for his own family and fellow soldiers instilled a deep sense of camaraderie for Eric.
Asked if he looks upon his own dad as a hero, “I look at him as a father first, and then as a hero, sure. I have so much respect for all the service men and women that they all have to be considered heroes. For them to go out and do what they do, so we and the fans can enjoy today’s game, it doesn’t get more heroic than that.”
Feature story taken from the first issue of the Houston Football Game Program (Sept. 1, 2012 vs. Texas State).