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Football: UL’s family affair

Son plans to follow in father’s footsteps

A long time before he was playing football, Brad Bustle was hanging around football coaches.

He was born in 1987, not long after his father went to Virginia Tech as quarterbacks coach. By the time dad became the Hokies’ offensive coordinator and Tech made the first of what is now 13 straight bowl appearances, he was an under-foot six-year-old.

Six years later, the Hokies played for a national championship, and Brad was at the Louisiana Superdome taking it all in.

When his family took another trip to South Louisiana in 2002, this time when father Rickey became head coach at UL, he had a whole new set of coaches to evaluate and emulate.

Is there any wonder that his future plans, after he finishes his playing career under his father, are to enter the coaching ranks?

"I’ve always thought of myself doing that," Brad said. "I’ve never thought about doing anything else."

There’s time before that happens, of course. He still has three more playing seasons ahead of him, with his sophomore year in the Cajun offensive front beginning Saturday at

South Carolina. He’s a likely starter at guard, a position where he made a surprising first-year impact as a freshman last season.

"He really surprised me with the small amount of mental mistakes he had," said Rickey. "But a lot of that probably comes from just being around the game. He takes it seriously, and he has a lot of fun playing the game."

He also knew that, as the coach’s son, he had to more than earn his way.

"I wasn’t going to be a guy that came in here and was lazy," Brad said. "I felt like I had to work harder to gain respect, and coach (Ron) Hudson isn’t the type of guy that’s going to

give anyone a spot. He makes sure you earn it.

"The other guys made it easy for me. I heard all the jokes, but we have such good guys here. They helped me a lot. Out of high school I wasn’t highly recruited and I had no idea as a redshirt freshman that I’d be playing."

That may not have been that much of a surprise, considering his background with the sport.

"He’s been really close to it," said mom Lynn. "And he always was kind of nosy about it, learning as much as he could."

That’s the kind of knowledge he hopes to pass on when the playing days end.

"Sometimes I think he’s a little nuts for wanting to do this," his father said. "But it’s whatever he wants to do. I think coaching is a great profession. It’s not the most stable profession sometimes, but you get to be a part of so many things and there are so many kids’ lives that you come in contact with.

"I’m proud of him for having a good idea of what he wants to do. I don’t know if I had that idea for sure when I was his age."

Daily Advertiser file photos/John Rowland

While Rickey Bustle has brought UL to respectability in football, his son Brad, below, has had to earn his spot as the team’s starting guard.