CHERUBINI CHIMES IN
One-on-One with the
August 27, 2010
By Ron Cherubini
with Will Simmons
All rights reserved.
any coach or player on the East Carolina team who the toughest hombre on the
offensive line is and you are likely to get the same answer across the
board. Nice enough guy off the field, but when Will Simmons straps on the
foil, he apparently leaves a lasting impression. At 6-5 and 300-plus pounds
plus, the long-armed guard says that he might be a little bit nasty up front
in the Pirates offense, but that it is the only way he can play the game. He
has to get in that zone where it is isn’t enough to block an opponent… you
have to destroy over and again.
Simmons is jacked up to be a first line guy this year and paid great tribute
to his mentors a year ago. He sees Coach Jeff Connors' strength and
conditioning program as being a big differentiator for the line this year
and promises that whatever happens this season, he and his linemates will,
at the very least, put a lasting impression physically on opponents.
Will was kind enough to sit down for a chat with Bonesville to share his
insights on the upcoming season.
Will Simmons (70) in action (ECU SID
One-on-One with Will Simmons
Q: Coach (Lincoln) Riley
indicated that of all of the offensive lineman on
the roster, he regretted that he did not get you
more game reps last season because he felt, looking
back, that you were ready to play then. Talk about
what you learned last season and how it will help
you step in this season ready from the jump?
A: I learned a lot from the guys
last year… Corey Dowless and D.J. Scott taught me a
lot about (playing line in college). If I had to
(not play as much in order to learn) again, I would
do it the same way again. Sitting back and watching
how those two could take over a game and how they
performed in certain situations was very valuable to
me… all their techniques and responsibilities that
they had – watching them and talking to them about
it – has taught me a lot.
Q: You have earned a reputation
on this team as being, perhaps, the most physical
and nasty OL on the line. Talk about that reputation
and how you think it came about for you?
A: Hmmm. I think a lot of people
on this team respect me and that might have
something to do with why they say that. I think all
of us are physical guys. I guess the way I play is a
little nasty in there… I’m not afraid to get a
holding call or two. I just play as hard as I can
each play. I really respect those guys on defense
and we battle it out out there every day.
Q: Fans worry that having to
replace four offensive lineman means that our OL is
going to struggle this season. Tell us why we
shouldn’t be concerned about the line? Discuss
A: We are still good at pass
blocking, but I think this group is going to allow
us to run the ball a little better this time around.
We are bigger and stronger and I think we are closer
as a group. And… I think the work Coach (Jeff)
Connors has done with us is a big difference. We are
all a lot stronger, physically and in our heads. You
have to be physical and smart in the run game and we
are all expecting to have success there.
Q: What defensive player on our D
gets you hyped up when you go head-to-head against
A: There are a few of them…
obviously there’s Michael Brooks and Jimmy Booth and
then over at the end spot, Matt Milner and Derrell
Johnson…I get into with all of them.
Q: You worked against these guys
all last season. Do you see a difference in them
this time around?
A: Every one of them has gotten a
lot better. Like I was saying before, Coach Connors
has been working with those guys, too, and they have
all improved a lot. And Matt and Derrell… they are
stronger and played a lot last year and that really
shows when you work against them.
Q: I know you respect all of your
teammates, but is there a guy out there that you
really just hold in high regard and why?
A: Our quarterback, Dominique
Davis. You know, the way he talks to us and the way
he leads us… everyone likes him and respects him and
wants to play hard for him. He is everything you
would want in a quarterback and leader.
Q: Talk a little bit about the
center position. Who is getting the reps and how do
you feel about that guy?
A: It’s Hugh Parker in there. Me
and Hugh get along great. He is doing great out
there and we work well together. We rely on each
other and he will be fine there.
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