As a teammate probably my fondest memories of Bruce was during practice when the defensive line would be constantly ragging on each other until the moment we went to one-on-one pass rush with the offensive line. It was almost a daily clinic in watching Bruce just brutalize his o-linemen teammates with a bull rush, a quick swim to the outside, or my favorite Bruce move…”The Hump”. The Hump move is something the NFL great Reggie White made famous when he would get a tackle bailing out up-field and then White would violently club the tackle with his inside arm and this would cause the poor tackle to get tossed like a rag doll.(seen here at the :17 mark) You had to be a special talent to pull this move off with any success and Bruce had the hips and power to throw the Hump and have it find the mark. During one early practice in 1998 the staff sent over some poor freshman tackle (who would wind up starting later in his career) who was ready to take on Bruce. First time out of the shoot and Bruce threw his Hump move and I swear he tossed this 250lb Frosh a good five yards in the air onto his can. It was fall out funny and just a small example of the raw power of our jolly defensive end. However, don’t let the easy going Hawaiian demeanor fool you in terms of the intensity that Bruce would bring to the huddle and field. Bruce was a true warrior on the field. I played the opposite defensive end position of Bruce and I was thankful every time we hit the field together. To be truthful, I was mainly thankful because that meant that I didn’t have to play “anchor” (D-End who lines up between the Tight End and Tackle) and I could line up on the air side. I wasn’t nearly strong enough to hack at the 6 tech spot but Bruce always had my back and let me run around free on the other side. He never complained about it but I suspect that he enjoyed dishing out the punishment to the tight ends around the Northwest Conference.
Bottom line is that Bruce was a special football player. He was a rare blend of talents that defensive coaches dream about. Some guys really excel in one area but lack in others but there was no weak spot in Bruce’s game. He could do it all as a defensive lineman: speed rush the QB “Check”, power rush the QB “Check”, not lose ground on convoy blocks “check”, slip a block and make a play in the backfield “Check”, stand up a tackle with ease “Check”, finish plays “Check”. Bruce Assily was always our defensive line’s strongest link.
Class of '98