Mike Tanner: Country at Heart?

Mike Tanner, a senior from Orem, will be one of 11 returning starters for the Cougar defense in 2003. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

Over the next few weeks, BYUCougars.com will present a unique series of one-on-one interviews with current players. Each interview will consist of 10 unique questions, geared specifically towards introducing the players to the public, and presenting interesting, little-known facts. We hope you enjoy this new feature.

The first interview is with middle linebacker Mike Tanner. Tanner is a senior from Orem. He is married and has a five-month old son. He took over starting duties at middle linebacker last season, midway through the season. He finished the season as the fourth-ranked defender on the team, recording 57 tackles. He was credited with 21 solo tackles, a 15-yard interception and two fumble recoveries. Tanner is expected to be one of the leaders on a defensive unit that returns all 11 starters. Following is his interview:

Q. What NFL player does your style of game most closely resemble?

A. It would probably be Zach Thomas of the Miami Dolphins. He is short like me, he's not the fastest guy on the field, and that is how I feel sometimes. I don't think I have all the gifts in the world but I just go out there and try to do the best job I can with what I've been given.

Q. Where did you meet your wife, Hollie?

A. I met her at BYU. I knew her in high school, but then we met again at school here and got reacquainted.

Q. What was your favorite toy growing up?

A. I guess my favorite thing in the world was riding my bike or my tricycle. I didn't really have a lot of toys, so I just rode those things all the time.

Q. What CD is in your car right now?

A. The new John Meyer CD. My wife just bought it so we listen to it everywhere we go. He is alternative/soft rock. It is a really good CD.

Q. Which would you rather watch with your child, Barney or Sesame Street?

A. I would definitely watch Sesame Street with my son. I watched Sesame Street as a kid, so I can relate to it better. I can't really relate with a big purple dinosaur.

Q. Why did you choose to come play football at BYU?

A. It was a dream I had since I was a child. Other schools recruited me first, but I always prayed and hoped that I would have an opportunity to play at BYU. As soon as someone gave me the chance to have a scholarship, I jumped right on it.

Q. Describe what it is like having 65,000 fans cheering for you in Edwards Stadium?

A. It is an unbelievable feeling. The best thing is when you make a play and you hear the whole stadium go crazy. It is one of the best things you can feel. You know that you played a part in the crowd going wild.

Q. Who has been a mentor to you--either on the football field or off the field?

A. Coach Robert Steele at Orem High School. From the time I started playing middle linebacker in high school up until now, he has always been a big support to

me. He gives me great advice both on and off the field.

Q. What has been your hardest class at BYU?

A. Physical Science. I barely passed that class. I had to work my tail off. I had to get a tutor and somehow, I ended up passing the class.

Q. What is something about you no one else on the team

knows?

A. Probably that I am a big rodeo fan. I love to go to the rodeo and play country music. I don't think anybody on the team knows that about me. Some of the guys would probably croak if they knew that.