Jordan Hill Ready For Impact

In the 4-2-5 defensive scheme, athletic linebackers are a necessity rather than a luxury. Nevertheless, in certain match-ups, such as the one against Iowa, a physical run stopping linebacker is needed. This is where Jordan ‘Bam' Hill comes into play. The redshirt freshman talked to DevilsDigest about his short career at ASU and the team's first road game.

When talking to Hill, the first order of business was to figure out the origin of his nickname. The linebacker told us that he's unsure why he's called Bam, but he's happy to answer to that moniker. "It's kinda of a unique name," says Hill. "Last year when we're sitting on the scout team with Josh Brayer and Nick Baker, Josh looks at me and says ‘BAM'. I don't know where he came up with it, but it just stuck from there."

Fresh of his redshirt year, the linebacker is pleased to have played in his first pair of meaningful games since high school. "It feels really good to get back on the field, get into it, and hit some people again (smile)." The redshirt freshman says that the mental adjustment was more challenging than the physical one. "Preparing for the speed, and getting ready for the emotion of the game was hard," exclaims Hill. "It's been a long time since I prepared for a game, so mentally I think it was the hardest. In the weight room and in practice you get prepared physically, but it doesn't prepare you mentally."

The linebacker was voted the defensive scout team player of the year in 2002. Hill relishes in that experience, and says his time there was vital for his development as a player. "I think it (the scout team) really helped me," claims Hill. "A lot of guys look down at the scout team, but the way I looked at it was as a chance for me to go against our first team, and get better every day. Going against fullbacks like Mike Karney, and offensive lineman like Drew Hodgdon and Regis Crawford…you have a chance to get back into hitting, and improve your game."

One quick look at Jordan Hill's bio, and it's nearly unfathomable that he would end up on a team not coached by Dirk Koetter. Not only were the two born in Pocatello, ID, but their share the same alma mater (Highland HS), and Koetter's brother Brent coached Hill in his prep days. When Koetter and his staff were still at Boise State, they recruited the Idaho's player of year quite heavily. Even though the linebacker ended up at BYU (where he redshirted), the seeds were planted and following his two-year mission to Australia, he became a Sun Devil. "I was really comfortable with this coaching staff," says Hill. "They recruited me when they were at Boise State, and I had a pretty good relationship with (defensive coordinator) Coach Guy. I liked the style of their play, and I knew what I was getting into. When you start looking at the conferences, you have the Pac-10…and the Mountain West. So, it all boiled down to what was best for me, and what I was the most comfortable with."

Hill's inexperience is hardly a rarity in the Sun Devils' linebacker core. He realizes that the magnifying glass will be strongly centered on his unit in ASU's first true test of the season. However, he maintains that if he and his teammates stay the course, the skeptics will have nothing to fret about. "Critics are critics, and they will criticize no matter what," exclaims Hill. "We have to focus on getting that experience, and when we do that and eliminate the mistakes…it's not really our physical mistakes that are costing us, it's our mental ones. We need to be students of our game, learn from our mistakes, and be sound in our schemes."

Hill hasn't seen extensive playing time thus far in the 2003 season, and doesn't know how big of a role he will have on Saturday. "We got great linebackers and lots of depth. Any playing time I get it's all good (smile)…when I go in, I just need to do my job and do what we've been practicing and coached to do."

"I'm excited to go into Iowa," continues Hill. "They're a great team. They're really sound and they don't beat themselves. They play their schemes to their best of their ability, and don't make mistakes." The linebacker states that Iowa doesn't have elaborate running formations, but their success lies in their simplicity and level of implementation. "They're pretty straight up with their running style. They have big boys upfront, and they execute their offense. They got a good fullback, and their tailback is quick and patient. But if we're do our job we'll be fine." The number of ‘Bam' sounds heard on Saturday may be an indicator of how successful Jordan Hill and the rest of the maroon and gold defense was in clashing with a potent Hawkeyes' rushing attack…

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