By Caroline Ballard
Sports Information Intern
The Washington University in St. Louis football team plays its third-straight home game on Saturday against the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Kickoff is set for Noon at Francis Field.
Why did you choose WashU?
Chris Fredrickson: WashU gives me the opportunity to pursue a world-class education while continuing to play the sport I love at an extremely competitive level. WashU football emphasizes the importance of education over football. The coaching staff understands what we are dealing with as students, and that allows us to perform at our best both in the classroom and on the field.
Collin Holte: I chose WashU because it provided me the opportunity to continue playing football while pursuing a top class education. The culture of the university, both on and off the field, made my decision very simple.
Nick Leduc: In high school I knew that I wanted to continue playing football but most importantly wanted to be a part of an elite undergrad business program. There were several schools that provided those opportunities but it was the people at WashU and the positive leadership of Coach K that attracted me to the program.
What is the most challenging part of being a student-athlete?
CF: Time is a big challenge as a student-athlete. I often find it difficult to get involved in other extracurricular activities because of the amount of time I spend on football and academics. Although it is a challenge, it has helped me develop important skills and habits that I would have otherwise not been introduced to.
CH: The most difficult part about being a student athlete is for sure budgeting my time. There are so many things that need to get done in a day and finding the time to get everything you have to get done while making time to relax and do the things you want is very challenging.
NL: The time commitment that goes along with the sport is easily the biggest challenge. As a student-athlete, you have all of the same academic and personal responsibilities as everyone else but with less hours in a day. Aside from the obvious commitment of practice, you have to spend time studying film, lifting weights, rehabbing any injuries, all while being sore and sometimes just completely exhausted.
What is your favorite aspect about playing defense?
CF: Hitting people is the best part of playing defense. You are the one that gets to deliver the blow. Especially playing on the defensive line, you are hitting someone every single play. I didn't play football to avoid contact. I love swarming to the football and having 10 other teammates hitting him with you.
CH: On defense you get to hit the offense rather than getting hit by the defense.
NL: My favorite aspect about playing defense is seeing the offensive players get frustrated. I love nothing more than when their coaches try to run the ball in my gap and I'm right there to stop it. Everyone thinks their plan is going to work when they call the play but when you can overpower an offense and keep them from getting yards, there's no better feeling.
What is the key to playing in the trenches?
CF: Low man wins and hit them in the mouth first. We usually don't get too focused on the small details because at the end of the day, if you are able to get off the ball, stay low, and deliver the blow to the offensive lineman, you are put in the best position to make the play or allow a teammate to make a play.
CH: Playing in the trenches is all about technique and mental toughness. You need to be able to react to whatever the offense throws at you. If you have sound technique and the mental fortitude for the game you will be successful.
NL: Of course, speed and strength are crucial factors of playing defensive line but I think that the biggest key is understanding how to use your body and how you can position it against the offensive lineman. You can be an amazing athlete but you're still going to get blocked if you don't know how to get leverage and use your hands.
What have you learned from playing under head coach Larry Kindbom for four years?
CF: Having a sense of urgency is important. You will always hear Coach K yelling, "We gotta go!" and there's a reason for that. He wants us to have urgency and energy for what we are doing. Coach K always says the task at hand is the most important thing going on in your life, so put all your energy into what you are doing for that task. And that applies far beyond football.
CH: Playing for Coach K has resulted in a lot of learning experiences, by far the best thing playing for him has taught me is adjustability. Being able to take things in stride is a very valuable skill and Coach K's mentality "Bears adjust" has impressed itself on me
NL: Over the past four years, Coach K has been teaching me to have perspective. Many times at WashU, whether it be from football, academics, or something else, Coach K is always reminding me to have a positive mental attitude in everything that I do.