Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Colby Ring wears number 31 for the University of Minnesota-Duluth (UMD) football team and is a senior captain this season, but that's not necessarily the easiest way to recognize the team's starting middle linebacker.
"A couple other guys on the team, we just decided to grow our hair out one day," Ring said. "It's not really a superstition. It'd just be weird not to have it."
The look may be familiar to UMD fans, who almost surely remember the long, golden locks of number 33 -- another inside linebacker, Kiel Fechelkotter.
"I guess it's something in the system. We've had a few outside linebackers go that direction as well, and that's not something that comes from me," UMD defensive coordinator John Steger said. "We're real happy with the way they're playing, and hopefully we'll continue that the rest of the year."
There's a reason to be happy with the defense as a whole and Ring as an individual. On the first series of the year, he recorded a sack, forced a fumble, and then recovered the loose ball for UMD.
"It's something we've been stressing all spring and then into fall camp," he said of defensive takeaways. "Turnovers are a big thing to have on defense."
"That was a heckuva play," Steger said. "Those are things and those are the guys we need to step up early in the season, and it was good to see those guys do that on Saturday night."
So it sounds like two things are for sure in 2013. One, the hair won't be cut. Two, you'll see lots of Colby Ring on the UMD defense.
"You can't say enough about Colby Ring, the type of person he is or the leader he's been for our football team," UMD head coach Curt Wiese said. "He's a guy we can lean on all season long."