The Bootleg On the Spot with Usua Amanam
You were hurt for a lot of last year. How has it been getting into the swing of things here in camp finally being fully healthy?
It’s cool. The coaches are helping me out a lot and the older guys are really showing me what to do. They’re really helpful in me picking up the offense and stuff like that.
How frustrating was that for you to be sidelined your first year of college?
It was tough. Having an injury is extremely hard, I feel mentally more than physically, but the trainers held me through everything and my coaches were real positive and helped me out.
When were you finally 100 percent?
How do you think you’ll be used in this offense? Purely as a running back, a slot receiver, or maybe a combination of a few positions?
To be honest, I don’t know. Wherever coach wants to put me, I’d be glad to take that position. I just want to help the team in anyway possible. Whether I’m getting one play or five plays, it doesn’t matter as long as I can help the team.
That said, where are you most comfortable within the offense? Isolated in space, running between the tackles…
Anywhere on offense, just anywhere on offense.
Now when you were being recruited and first arrived on campus, there was some talk that you might shift to defense, maybe see some time in the secondary. Has there been any discussion of that recently?
Not from what I’ve heard. Coach Shaw has kept me in the running back room, so I guess I’m playing offense.
Obviously you missed some time last fall, but what is your perception of the defense this camp? Do you think there has maybe been a change in the attitude compared to what you saw last summer?
Yeah, I feel like the defense has a personality this year. They’re playing with a chip on their shoulder. Everyone is writing them off like we have a bad defense or something. They have something to prove and they’re really out there balling.
In your position group, is there anybody that you’ve been working with that’s stood out in these first few weeks of camp?
Yeah. The three older guys I’ve been working with, Jeremy Stewart, Stepfan Taylor, and Tyler Gaffney all played last year. I don’t want to say have been holding my hand, but they have helped me learn the offense, and I’m really grateful for that because a college offense is extremely tough to learn, and they’ve been helping me out the entire time.
Post-Practice media session with offensive lineman Matt Bentler
So, you’re getting an opportunity to play with the starters?
I’m just filling in right now for Andrew Phillips, and I got an opportunity to work with the ones this week and it’s been good.
What’s been the difference for you that’s helped you vault up the depth chart?
I’ve just been working as hard as possible and competing with the guys at my position, and everybody has been playing pretty well.
So you don’t feel like there’s been any noticeable improvement in your game, it’s just getting that opportunity?
I feel like I’ve just come out here and my fundamentals have gotten a lot better, but honestly everyone has been working, pushing each other.
What were the emotions the offensive line had to deal with after the passing of Andrew’s father? That must have been tough for you guys to deal with…
Yeah, for us, we’ve really come together as a group and rallied around Andy these past few weeks. It’s really hit home with everybody and we’re all close with him. So, we’ve all just been working harder with him gone trying to rally around him.
Working with the ones, it must be nice having Chase Beeler on your right and Jonathan Martin on your left. How has that been?
It’s going great. Both those guys are really experienced. They’re great players, and it’s been a pretty fun week working with them.
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