- Marissa McClain/Daily
By Stephen J. Nesbitt, Daily Sports Editor
Published December 31, 2011
NEW ORLEANS — It’s the kind of thing that makes you double take, maybe even triple take. Michigan defensive tackle Ryan Van Bergen looked once, let out a “whoa,” and looked again.
“That’s some beard flow,” Van Bergen said.
The “flow,” of course, was the beard-mane combination boasted by Virginia Tech senior offensive tackle Blake DeChristopher. Van Bergen, a self-proclaimed flow aficionado, was impressed.
“That’s different,” Van Bergen said, peering down at the above photo of DeChristopher. “That must be some down-south flow.”
The Daily pulled DeChristopher aside and scored an exclusive interview. The Hokie made it clear that the beard has a separate identity.
The Michigan Daily: Blake, we’ve got to know about this beard.
Blake DeChristopher: Well, it is The Beard.
TMD: A la San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson’s beard?
BD: I actually think I started that. I was doing this last year, I remember I started before him. But I won’t argue with the guy, because his beard is pretty flawless.
TMD: How old is it? Does it have a mind of its own?
BD: The Beard — well, this beard — was born in August and hasn’t been touched since then. It likes to be washed, obviously, and combed. It likes to go on walks when it’s kind of cold outside, mid-60s, not too cold or chilly out. It’s not a vegan; it likes meat, of course. That’s about it.
TMD: Was this a pact you made with somebody, or is this a solo venture?
BD: No, I liked the look and thought it was cool. Obviously, I look good. Do you see this?
TMD: Yes. Yes I do. At what point did it get its own identity?
BD: It was a little bit of a young buck at first, just a little tyke, so I couldn’t let it go on its own. But once it got a little longer, I couldn’t touch this thing because it’s a man now.
TMD: How long is it going to stay?
BD: I don’t know. I was going to cut it after the season, but I don’t know if it’s going to let me do that. So I might have to keep it for a while. It’ll be a waiting game.
TMD: What’s its favorite experience in New Orleans? Maybe someone it’s met or something it’s eaten.
BD: Definitely the food. The food here as been great and he’s been enjoying that. I love this style of food. Everything’s been real good, we’ve been really pleased with that.
TMD: Thanks for your time. Good to meet both of you.
TMD: Good to meet both of you.
BD: Oh, yes. Nice to meet you. He enjoyed it as well.
The Daily has yet to hear back from Brian Wilson on the accusations that his version of The Beard stemmed from DeChristopher. But Virginia Tech tight end Chris Drager didn’t mind offering his thoughts on the phenomenon on his DeChristopher's face.
Chris Drager: Blake’s just a crazy mountain man.
TMD: How long has the beard been going, do you know?
CD: Yeah, I asked him that this morning, because I assumed it was sometime in the spring, but he said mid-August when camp started.
TMD: Does he often refer to it as a separate entity?
CD: He says it has its own personality. He told me he feeds it a certain amount of food every day.
Somehow, that doesn’t come as a surprise.