After missing a couple of games due to injury earlier this year, redshirt freshman Jacob Alsadek has become the starting option at right guard for the Arizona Wildcats.
He provided some really in-depth answers to some questions after practice on Tuesday night regarding being a freshman on this offensive line and some other things. Here's what he had to say:
What does it do for your development having all those older guys around you?
Alsadek: It's obviously really nice for me, cuz I have (Fabbians Ebbele) on my right side, and I have Steven Gurrola on my left. Those are two great players, so I think that's been a huge help for me. And anytime I have any questions, I can go to Cayman (Bundage) because he plays left guard. Like today, I said to Cayman 'Hey man, I'm messing up on this step', and he helped me out and watched me and he helped me fix it. Being the youngest guy, it kinda sucks, because I don't really like it, because sometimes some things are my fault. But it's okay, I think that for all of us it's a good thing, especially my first year that I'm not the oldest guy cuz I know next year it'll be a little bit different.
Do you sometimes look towards next year and your different role you'll have?
Nah, I'm more of an in-the-moment person, but sometimes it does cross my mind like 'Wow, there's a lot of people on the offensive line leaving next year', so it's gonna be different. And I'm excited to see what the future holds this spring, but this week is a big week for us.
What's the biggest thing you've improved on from Week One to now?
That's a good question. I'm just trying to get better at whatever; every single thing that I'm doing, I try and just be better. But I think my hands have been better. Back in the spring I was really just blocking with my head. I kind of have some scars on my nose, but that's not the right thing to do. But at least I didn't get any concussions, knock on wood. But I just think that if you can use your hands it takes you to a whole other level. And doing a little bit more of what the coaches tell us to do, the little things that matter most. Even more than being in the right spot.
Has facing some of the bigger, faster defensive lineman the past few weeks been an eye-opening experience?
Yeah. My first game was UNLV. I thought they were good, cuz that was my first game. And I still think they're good. But it was definitely eye-opening for me, going against 94 from USC (Leonard Williams). That was a lot of fun though, cuz I like a challenge. That was definitely a thing where he pointed out a lot of mistakes and a lot of my flaws and I just came back and I worked on it. And this last game, I felt like my pass protection was a lot better than it usually is, so that was good for me. I was happy in that sort of area.
How did you end up assessing the line's play against UCLA?
I just wish we would have communicated better. There was a couple times where we just didn't communicate. After the first couple three-and-outs, we were just kind of eye-opening, and I didn't think we rose up to the occasion, and that's kind of hard for me especially. I even admit to myself, it was kind of eye-opening to me, and that I just wish we really attacked it. As offensive lineman, you have to communicate where the backers are, what they're doing, and what's going on. It's a little bit different when you can't communicate as well as you want to.
How do you bring the running game back up to where it was earlier in the year?
Just getting movement I think. Sometimes we kinda just stop our feet, and you've gotta keep your feet moving through the block and you gotta keep blocking. You can't just stop, and I think that's been a big one for us. And getting to our right aiming points, and not letting a guy make a one-armed tackle. That's obviously really frustrating cuz that happened to me a couple times the last game, and after watching the film, it just really pissed me off. He shouldn't be making a one-armed tackle on me, but I stopped my feet.
Is there a difference for the line between when Terris Jones-Grigsby is in, and when Nick Wilson is in?
No, to be honest I really don't even notice until they're running in front of me and I'm running down the field. I think they do a good job, but no there's not really a difference at all.
What was your mood like after the UCLA game?
I could barely talk to my parents. And that was the first time I had seen my parents in like two weeks or a month. My mom was crying because this is the first time I've seen her in forever, and I just didn't want to see them. I was just so mad, and pissed off, and I just don't what that to happen again. We got beat. It was bad for me. To me it was bad because it was on the offense. The defense played great, and it was up to us to be able to score and we just weren't scoring. And we were barely giving (the defense) anytime to rest either. So many snaps, and it was partly our fault.