Senior Q & A: Jake Barann

Jake Barann is a senior tight end for the Crimson (Gil Talbot).
Jake Barann is a senior tight end for the Crimson (Gil Talbot).

"Despite a lack of game experience Jake is poised to develop into an outstanding tight end this season. He is a great kid and has worked diligently to become one of the top tight ends in the Ivy League." – Tim Murphy, The Thomas Stephenson Family Head Coach for Harvard Football 

Q: What is your concentration?
I'm concentrating in psychology with a secondary in economics.

Q: What do you hope to do in life once football is finished?
I'm still in the process of figuring that one out. It's a question with an ever-changing answer. The more I experience, the more I keep finding new things I'm interested in and new potential life paths. I'm just trying to enjoy life and see where it takes me. 

Q: Can you explain the nuances of your position and provide something for the casual fan to better understand what you're seeing on the field?
Tight end is an interesting position because we have to be so versatile in our skill set. We do a little bit of everything on the offensive side of the ball. We have to be strong enough to block defensive ends on the line of scrimmage, fast enough to get releases on defenders when running routes, and agile enough to block defensive backs in space downfield.

Q: What is your first memory of football?
My first memory of football is going to games at The Big House in Ann Arbor, Michigan with my dad. The atmosphere got me hooked, and I grew up a Big Ten football fan from there. 

Q: What's your favorite Harvard team to watch as a fan? 
I'm a huge fan of our basketball team. Most weekends during the winter you can find me at Lavietes cheering on the Crimson. 

Q: What are the hardest parts of being a student-athlete at Harvard?
The hardest part of being a student-athlete here is probably managing all of the demands on your time. There's a lot that is asked of you both on and off the field, and finding a way to balance that is a challenge. You'll have a full day of workouts, class, and practice, then a few hours of homework on top of all of that. It can be a bit overwhelming at first, but once you establish a routine you learn to manage the chaos.

Q: What's the best part about a home football day?
The best part about a home football game day is the few minutes in the locker room before the specialists head out to warm up on the field. Everybody has their gear on, ready for the doors to be opened, just waiting for us to be unleashed. We cue up the same hype songs that we've been playing since my freshman year (with a few new bangers sprinkled in), in this little locker room tradition. It's a time for everyone to get their minds right and amp themselves up for the battle to come.

Q: How has playing football at Harvard better prepared you for life? 
Playing football at Harvard has taught me how to adapt to the challenges that life presents. We pride ourselves here on doing things the right way, no matter how hard or uncomfortable they may be. I think that is something that will be invaluable going forward in life.

Q: If you weren't playing football, you would be…
Playing a lot of pickup basketball, guitar, and Super Smash Bros.

Q: Where are your favorite places to eat in the square? 
El Jefe's Taqueria is my go-to spot in the square, but honorable mentions go to Chipotle, Pinocchio's, BerryLine, and Market. 

Q: If you could have dinner with three people, dead or alive, who would they be?
Jon Stewart, Al Franken and Barack Obama. 

Q: Best football movie of all-time? Why?
That's a very tough question. It has to be "Rudy." It's an inspirational story about a Midwestern kid overcoming adversity in pursuit of his goals, which is what football is all about. That kid just oozed grit. How can you not love it? 

Q: If you could go back, what's one piece of advice you would give yourself as a freshman?
I'd tell myself that things will work out, just keep grinding and stay positive in all that you do. The life you're living is a blessing. Never forget how fortunate you are to be in this position; enjoy every second of it. 

Q: Your favorite "Murph"-ism (saying or quote from Coach Murphy)?
With Coach Murphy being the tight end position coach, we get exposed to quite a bit of these. I'd have to go with "junkyard dog." He uses it to describe someone being tough or gritty.