Haylor ponders abrupt ending
What you saw isn't what you got
Bye bye O'Brien
Squash twists at Crossover
Bye bye O'Brien
By Ryan Dixon and Joel Brown
Mike O'Brien will leave many admirers behind at Western as he ventures further into his football career, one of those being his co-captain Mike Chuk.
"He is a talented player and very good leader," said the offensive lineman. "He is always unfazed in the huddle no matter what just happened.
"I think the beginning of this season is a good example of that because the offensive line was so young and he was always under fire [because of its inexperience] but he always stayed patient."
Patience is a key concept with O'Brien.
His laid back and shy demeanor is not only evident on the field, but also in the dressing room and definitely in the media scrum. Especially this year when he was in the spotlight.
So it's easy to understand that when he looks back to the start of his journey at Western, he remembers the adjustment he had to make to university life.
"When I first got here I was really nervous," O'Brien said. "I remember questioning if I had what it takes, but once you get a little more comfortable and get to know the guys around you, you gain confidence. The speed of the game really caught me off guard, it was so much faster than high school."
Eventually he adjusted. So much so that he passed Jamie Bone on his way to becoming Western's all-time passing yards leader.
While he values his personal achievements, it was team goals that he strived for, listing the team's 1998 Yates Cup victory as the high point of his time here.
Still, one of O'Brien's wishes never came through. But don't expect him to lose too much sleep over not winning the big one that being the Vanier Cup.
"When you come to Western many people expect you to have a championship every four years.
"I don't regret anything about my time here, I wouldn't change a thing. Playing football as Western has been the greatest experience of my life."
So what's next? Speculation says he has not only cemented a future in the Candian Football League as a punter, but cracking a National Football League roster somewhere down the road is a real possibility.
"I love this game and I'd love to make a living at it. For that to happen a number of things would have to take place, it's kind of a matter of wait and see right now."I do believe I have the ability to make a career out of this."
Wherever he may go though, O'Brien said he'll never forget his time here at Western. "I've learned to be competitive and I've learned discipline. Those are two characteristics every person needs to be successful in the world today."
"I've met a lot of people here and made some great friendships and they will stay with me as long as I live."