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One-on-One with the Pirates
, August 27, 2010

By Ron Cherubini

Q&A with Will Simmons

By Ron Cherubini
All rights reserved.

Ask 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 photo)

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 linemates.

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 him?

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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Ron Cherubini Archives

08/27/2011 06:20 AM


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