By the time you are a senior on a college football team, the odds that fans respond with some "Noise Meter" quality cheering when they hear your name announced over Autzen are pretty good. After starting on the o-line for most of last season in result to Penei Sewelll being injured, you would more than likely think that Brady Aiello had a secure position as a starting offensive linemen.
Before Sewell was on the scene as one of Oregon’s main o-line boys, I can remember hearing a bunch of hype on talk shows and other college football sources that Aiello was a sure shot for the NFL. This later changed when he was beat out by then-freshman Sewell for the starting position last season. Brady seemed to disappear into the noise of the crowd at Autzen until Sewell got injured, which then gave Aiello back his starting position for the year.
This season, as an avid o-line fan, I was disappointed to not see No. 66 on the field, until I heard halfway into that Oregon vs. Auburn game that Aiello was indeed out there, but instead in a different position and number! Aiello played as a tight end, and wore No. 82.
What really made this such an exciting moment for o-line fans like myself, and, of course, Aiello, was when he scored his first touchdown against Nevada this past Saturday. It was very refreshing to see after last season. Aiello was one of 11 Duck players to score a touchdown, and it was nice to see other players be passed to, not just the same few.
Losing your starting position to a freshman would no doubt be a tough pill to swallow, but Aiello proved through continuing hard work in practice, that he was just "too good not to play" according to Coach Cristobal, and they found a place for him on the field alongside teammates he’s been with for five years now, like Shane Lemieux, Ryan Bay, and Jacob Breeland just to name a few. If this isn’t the epitome of a team player, and hard work paying off, then I don’t know what is. Great job, Brady.