Patrick Vahe towers over his opponent, standing at 6-foot-2, 319 pounds with black hair flowing out his helmet.
Vahe, a freshman offensive guard from Euless, worked his way into the starting role by showing up to practice early and working hard to prove his ability to the coaches.
“I wouldn’t say I was trying to fight for a starting spot,” Vahe said. “I was just trying to make sure if I do step on the field they can trust me and rely on me if I’m on it.”
He’s been reliable since his first game as the starting right guard. Vahe said his performance earned him A’s from offensive line coach Joe Wickline. Vahe said his worst start came against Notre Dame in the season opener.
“I’ll say I had eagles in my stomach, not butterflies, I had eagles in my stomach going into that stadium,” Vahe said. “I walked back out [after warm-ups], I look out and boom, everybody is out there, lights are on you. I was just like ‘dang.’ It was very different. The crowd was crazy.”
Vahe also brings a tough and mean mentality to the offensive line. Vahe said he leaves his long hair — he hasn’t cut it since freshman year of high school — down for a reason.
“I’m kind of intimidated, and so when people pull my hair I get mad,” Vahe said. “When people start pulling on my hair a lot, like the OU game, I get very angry.”
His play on the line has impressed his fellow linemen. They no longer see him as a freshman, but a veteran.
“On the offensive line, we have young guys playing at a very high level,” senior center Taylor Doyle said. “I think they’re mature beyond their age. They’re playing sound football and playing like old vets.”
Vahe accomplished his goal of being reliable. His coaches see him as an important part of the offense.
“He’s one of my favorite guys,” play-caller Jay Norvell said. “Just his competitive nature. He’s physical. He plays with a great base. I think more than anything else, he plays with a great competitive spirit. He loves the game and if you watch end of plays, he’s wearing his guy out until the whistle. He loves to play. I think that’s one of the most exciting things about him.”
Vahe said he still wants to learn more, despite starting throughout the season. He wants to improve with three games remaining in his freshman year.
“I’m a work in progress,” Vahe said. “I’m the type of guy that wants to get coached, wants to learn everything he can, and whenever I go out on the field, I want to make sure that all the notes I took down shows in the game.”