MOORHEAD-Minnesota State Moorhead linebacker Abe Roehrich sported a unique haircut at the start of fall football camp: short on top with lines shaved in the sides and a mullet in the back.
Dragons defensive back Aaron Doan was the stylist behind Roehrich's attention-grabbing hairdo.
"We kind of wanted to make it look like the Brian Bosworth haircut back in the day," Roehrich said with a laugh, referring to the former charismatic Oklahoma Sooners and NFL linebacker.
Roehrich has since trimmed the mullet and the lines have nearly grown out of the sides. Trying different hairstyles is something Roehrich has done since grade school.
"My mom is never too happy," Roehrich said with a smile. "My mom always says the difference between a good haircut and bad haircut is two weeks. ... It's fun to do something different and lighten the mood."
While Roehrich has currently settled into a more traditional hairdo, his play on the gridiron still gets him noticed. The 5-foot-11, 212-pound Roehrich is tied for the team lead in tackles through three games with 26. The Dragons (2-1) are set to play at No. 21-ranked Minnesota State-Mankato (2-1) at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, at Blakeslee Stadium.
MSUM hasn't defeated the Mavericks since 1981 with MSU-Mankato winning the past four games. The Mavericks have outscored the Dragons 204-27 over those four meetings.
"I feel like we finally can go into this (MSU-Mankato) game saying that we have a realistic chance of winning," Roehrich said. "It's definitely a challenge."
Roehrich was in grade school when he had one of his more dramatic hairstyle changes. One of his older sisters dyed Abe's hair dark black (along with one of his friends) without telling their parents. Roehrich said he had "bleach blonde hair" prior to the color change.
When Abe got home his mom, Julie, initially didn't know it was her son.
"He was unrecognizable," Julie said with a laugh. "I was like 'Holy Cow.' I was shocked."
Earlier in his Dragons career, Abe grew out his blonde hair, so it flowed out the back of his helmet. He had that look for one full season and then decided to cut the flowing locks during last season on a dare from Dragons safety Michael Strand, who is Abe's best friend on the team.
"The Bosworth was the worst one," Dragons head coach Steve Laqua joked. "The shaved racing stripes and mullet look, that was terrible."
Laqua didn't mind the long hair, which was similar to a character from the football movie "Remember the Titans."
"I didn't mind the 'Sunshine' look," Laqua said.
Roehrich grew up on a farm near Stanley, N.D., the youngest of four kids. Julie said Abe always wanted to play catch with the football, starting when he was 3 or 4 years old. After Abe's older siblings left home, he played catch with Julie, his father, Ron, or by himself.
"I think it got pretty good," Julie said of her throws. "I could throw a pretty good spiral."
Heading into his freshman year at Stanley High School, Julie said Abe practiced long snapping all summer, figuring that was his best chance to earn playing time on the varsity team. Abe became the long snapper that freshman year, Julie said.
"He's a great small-town, great character kid," Laqua said.
Roehrich has a penchant for math, too, especially algebra. Julie said at around 8 years old Abe could quickly add up columns of numbers in his head. Laqua said in the football team room, Roehrich and Dragons senior linebacker Aaron Bohl are often working through math problems on the marker boards.
"I'm an analytical person," Roehrich said. "I really like concrete answers."
And while Roehrich is good with numbers, he's never concerned about his own.
"Never, ever is he interested in what his stats are. It's never about self ever," Julie said. "He wants it to be about the team."
Up next: Minnesota State Moorhead at No. 21 Minnesota State-Mankato
When: 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24
Radio: Live stream on msumdragons.com