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Family, faith keep soaring cornerback Bryant grounded

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Jeramy Bryant could hardly be blamed if he came back home with a little added strut in his stride.

Over the weekend, the Hawaii cornerback vaulted into a tie for the national lead in interceptions and capped a redemptive performance with his first collegiate touchdown.

But those distinctions didn’t matter a whole lot once he stepped into his apartment.

And that suited him just fine.

"Still the same old stuff, take out the trash, help with the dishes, help with the two girls," Bryant said. "I love it because they keep me grounded at home. I’m Dad when I get home."

Playing cornerback tends to be a tempestuous existence, and through the ebbs in fortune, Bryant’s faith and a home life devoted to his wife (Keshauna) and daughters (Jayana and Kennedy) steadies his perspective.

"It means the world to me for my wife to always be there," Bryant said of a relationship dating back to the ninth grade. "Our household is built on God’s foundation, and it keeps me grounded no matter what happens, bad game or good game."

So while an inflated ego isn’t a pressing issue even with four interceptions over the last three games, Bryant’s concern centers on preparing for Saturday’s Western Athletic Conference showdown with 19th-ranked Nevada.

The Wolf Pack arrive at Aloha Stadium sporting the fifth-ranked rushing offense in the FBS. With quarterback Colin Kaepernick and running back Vai Taua commanding the attention of the front seven, the cornerbacks are often left isolated on receivers.

But life on an island doesn’t necessarily translate to being alone. Bryant credited his recent run of picks to the overall cohesion of the defense, starting with the pressure applied by the line and his trust in the safeties behind him.

"It makes my job a lot easier," he said. "Now I can just worry about covering, because I know those guys are going to do the job for me, and they know I’m going to do the job for them."

The comfort among the defensive backs contributed to Bryant scoring his first touchdown since his sophomore year at Carson (Calif.) High in last week’s win at Fresno State.

Bryant recognized the Bulldogs were sending his receiver up the seam with a slot running an out to the sideline. When they ran the play again, he let his receiver run past (turning him over to the safety) and darted in front of the outside receiver for the interception, which he ran back 48 yards to punctuate UH’s 49-27 win.

"I already had it programmed in my mind if I see this route again I’m going to jump it," Bryant said. "I told my safety and he OK’d it and, boom, jumped it."

The victory’s significance was amplified by Bryant’s previous memory of playing Fresno State, a 42-17 loss in which the Bulldogs repeatedly targeted him.

"This was a game I really, really wanted to show up, because last year they picked me apart," Bryant said. "They made my life hell last year, the way they just threw at me, ran at me, did whatever they wanted to do."

Along with the Warriors’ practice time, Bryant’s weekly preparation includes intensive film study of the upcoming opponent, scouring the footage to pick up any tendencies he can apply come game night.

"He spends a lot of time studying people and Jeramy is a technician when it comes to the game within a game," defensive coordinator Dave Aranda said. "Jeramy’s always coming to us with keys and tips he’s seeing. He’ll be a great coach one day."

While Bryant is quick to deflect praise, he can turn on the swagger seemingly intrinsic in cornerbacks when he buttons up his helmet. But that persona rarely makes it back home.

"Glory to God because it’s nothing I’m doing," Bryant said. "It’s him putting me in position to make plays."

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