Reed's game plan: all hustle.
Grilled Duck is a game-day question-and-answer session with a member of the Oregon football team. Today's installment features defensive end Nick Reed, a 6-foot-3, 259-pound sophomore.
Question: What was it like getting the first start of your career last week at Arizona State?
Answer: Starting was something I'd been waiting for since I got here. I waited my turn, and things worked out. People went down, which is tough to see, but someone had to step up and it was my turn. I felt good about it.
Question: What was it like running out on the field before the game knowing you were a starter?
Answer: There were a lot more nerves. And my family was definitely excited. My mom was excited to see that - probably more excited than I was. It was fun for me and my family.
Question: How long was it before it felt like just another game?
Answer: It's always after the first play. After the first play it just feels normal. You've just got to get the jitters out by popping once, and it feels good again.
Question: How did you feel like you played?
Answer: I felt like I played good. I did my job, and I made the plays I needed to make.
Question: You played all 12 games last year as a true freshman. What were the keys to getting on the field so much, so early in your career?
Answer: Well, I came from a really prestigious high school (Trabuco Canyon, Calif., coached by Bob Johnson), and we were doing a lot of the stuff that we do up here. It was a transition to bigger people, but as far as the thinking aspect goes, it was all pretty much the same. And really, I think what helped me get on the field fast was just hustling. Just running all the time. It had nothing to do with my athletic ability, because it's not much more than anybody else's.
Question: Can you compare your first appearance last year to your first start last week?
Answer: Last year I went to Houston, and I found out four or five days before. No one knew what was going on, especially me. I made the traveling team, so I knew I was traveling, but I didn't know if I was going to play. Actually, I got my first college play on my birthday, so that was fun. I was nervous, but I knew I wasn't going to be "the guy;" I just knew I was going to get in and get some reps. Whereas last week, I knew I had to know my stuff and I had to do everything right. There was a lot of weight on my shoulders.
Question: You were used as a pass-rush specialist last year. What's it like playing that role?
Answer: It's something that I like. I'd like to be an every-down player - I like where I am now - but I just think pass-rush is a lot more interesting. It's pretty intense. Again, it's hustle, and that's something where, I may not be faster than a lot of people or stronger than a lot of people, but I can outhustle a lot of people.
Question: You've had to work yourself into being more than that now. It seems Dexter Manley II is in the position now that you were in last season, excelling on pass-rush but still learning to be a complete defensive end, according to the coaches. How have you made yourself into a "complete" player?
Answer: Last year I was a pass-rush specialist, and it was good to be on the field, but I definitely wanted to be a contributor. To become that contributor, I had to be able to take on the run blocks a lot more. Anyone can get out there and run around the edge and make a decent pass rush, but you've got to know the plays. A lot of times last year I wasn't 100 percent sure on the plays. You've got to know your gap-control.
Question: So if your job is to rush the quarterback on passing plays, what, in general, is an end's assignment on rushing plays?
Answer: It's more reading the (offensive) tackle. We play a big gap-control defense, so if I see the ball going one way, regardless I'm staying in my C gap. No one's coming through my C gap - I'm going to hang out there until the ball declares. So you read the tackle, you see what he's doing, you try and basically squeeze in the tackle, and if the ball's coming you get off and make the play. If it's not, you sit there for a second, make sure it doesn't come through your gap, and then you can leave.
- Rob Moseley
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|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Date:||Oct 7, 2006|
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