BY JACK KIZER| Ball State Sports Link
Actor Henry Winkler famously said in the 1990s movie, The Waterboy, “Visualize and attack.”
Adam Sandler took that message and applied it aggressively in the film.
Freshman safety Bryce Cosby takes a similar philosophy and utilizes it on Saturdays: Visualize Success.
It’s a thought process that has worked for Cosby, dating back to his days at duPont Manual High School in Louisville. The two-time team captain earned first-team all-state honors as a senior, collected 14 interceptions and scored four touchdowns during his career.
In his first game wearing a Ball State uniform at Illinois, Cosby hauled in a fourth quarter interception — the defense’s first turnover of the year.
“It’s definitely something I’ll always remember,” Crosby said.
He may remember it, but there’s a good chance he visualized the play before it happened.
Cosby’s practice of foreseeing prosperity occurs during the game, but starts well before kickoff during his pregame routine — and continues after he exits the field during his postgame process.
Friday, September 8:
Kodak Black and Drake pour through the headphones of Bryce Cosby in his hotel room in downtown Muncie.
It’s his first experience in the team hotel before a home game, and one of the few nights away from his normal sleeping quarters in Botsford-Swinford Campus Residence Hall.
Other than a couple of team meetings, Cosby listens to his music, continuously hydrates and reviews notes on tomorrow’s opponent, The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).
Receiver tendencies, pass plays to expect, calls and checks he needs to make to get players aligned, his position in certain defensive formations — all of this information isn’t new to Cosby. He’s simply going over it like a study guide before the next day’s test.
Cosby converts this material into positive visualizations: calling out the correct coverage and forcing an incompletion, breaking up a potential touchdown, intercepting a pass over the middle. Visualizing success never stops for Cosby.
Before bedtime, he relaxes and observes Purdue’s win over fellow MAC school Ohio. Cosby then decides it’s time for some sleep.
“I’m a firm believer that (sleep) can affect how you perform the next day. I’m not trying to be sluggish, or not fully locked in the next day, so I always try to get a good night’s rest the night before and get to sleep no later than 10:30 p.m.”
Saturday, September 9:
Gameday. Cosby rises at 8 a.m. with a defensive backs meeting at 9 a.m. in the hotel. Coach Chevis Jackson goes over any final questions the DBs may have and re-emphasizes everything they went over in practice.
A meeting with the entire defense, but the same agenda follows at 10 a.m. This one ends more quickly, and the hungry players are released to consume breakfast. With a variety of options available, Cosby chooses to go big. Pancakes, pasta, hash-browns and eggs populate his plate in order to provide proper carbs and energy for the big day ahead.
About 90 minutes of free time remain for players to do as they wish in their rooms before the buses leave at 12:30 p.m. More relaxation, hydration, Drake and Kodak take up this time. Images of personal success continue to flow through Cosby’s head, while internal visions of team triumph are also present.
It’s finally time to gather all belongings, load the buses and head to Scheumann Stadium. After the ceremonial Cardinal Walk at 12:45 p.m., Cosby enters the locker room, sets his bags down and goes immediately to the training room to get his wrists taped. He then takes a marker and writes three things on his wrist:
“502 Raise. That’s the area code of where I’m from (Louisville). Carla, my mom’s name. And R.I.P Jalen, who was one of my teammates in high school that passed away.”
While this is an important ritual for Cosby every week, he also has a ritual which shows his lighter side — wearing the same boxers. Don’t worry, he washes them.
“I’ve got to wear the same boxers every week. I wore them at Illinois and I had a decent game, so I have to follow the same routine.”
Before putting on his equipment, Cosby uses a foam roller to loosen up his muscles. He then eats one of the Gatorade Fuel Bars available to all the players. Honey Oat is his favorite flavor.
While other players go out before warm-ups to get loose on the field, Cosby stays inside the locker room. As game-time approaches, visualizations of success become more vivid. The time comes to go out for team warm-ups.
The first drill Cosby and the defensive backs do is what they call “pat-n-go”, where the defensive back practices reaching up at the high point of a pass to intercept the ball. More drills and stretching ensue, and the team re-enters the locker room. The team gathers around head coach Mike Neu for his pregame speech.
“He just really emphasized the importance of our home opener and remembering all the people who sacrificed themselves for our country, with 9/11 being Monday. Emphasizing the importance of how we need to play hard, not only for those who fought for our country, but all these fans who stuck with us through thick and thin.”
Following the final gathering before the game, Cosby finds freshman teammate Josh Miller to perform their ceremonial handshake, and runs out onto the field for his first Ball State home game.
Success for Cosby came in the form of a team win and team-leading eight tackles against an explosive UAB offense.
After the victory, Cosby and his teammates dance in the locker room to celebrate Ball State’s first win of the season.
“I don’t care if the score was 2-0 or 71-0. A win is a win at the end of the day.”
The dancing slowly halts when Coach Neu walks in with Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns. Mearns congratulates the team and is presented the game ball by Neu with Cardinal pride swirling throughout the room.
After the festivities die down, Cosby takes a hot shower and is feeling fresh enough to go without a post-game foam roll. He then gathers his possessions and walks out to see his family.
Cosby’s father Donald (who played football at Louisville), his mother Carla, and two of his aunts were able to make the trip.
“I’ve got teammates from Florida, Georgia and Louisiana,” Cosby said. “They don’t have that luxury of their family being able to come up as conveniently as mine because I’m not so far away. So, I always take pride and cherish all the times I get with them.”
The family time continues with a postgame meal at Wendy’s before Cosby is dropped off at his dorm. The night concludes with Cosby and many team members getting together to relax and enjoy each other’s company even more.
Cosby’s process of getting dialed in has its nuances, all of which are important. The most significant factor, however, may be the one which is most consistent: Visualizing Success.
NOTE: Dialed In is a new series from Ball State Sports Link which tells the story of Ball State athletes’ pre-game and post-game processes. Each week, a different player is interviewed and highlighted here on chirpcitybsu.com.