Unck Unfazed By Losing and Re-Gaining Starting Job

It has been an eventful week for senior Linebacker Mason Unck. In the practices leading to the Eastern Washington game he lost his starting position, which never affected his fine play last Saturday where he was one the leading tacklers. In this interview with DevilsDigest, Unck talks about the dealings of last week, the improved play of the defense, and what the defense can expect from Central Florida this week.

DevilsDigest: Mason, last week has been crazy to say the least – you lost your starting job in practice, and then you come out and play real well against Eastern Washington, and regain your starter position. How trying of a week was it for you?

Mason Unck: It was a fun week (smile). As far as starting position, Ofcourse we all want to start, but we know all three of us (Linebackers) will get an equal amount of playing time. It's cool to be a starter, but as long as all three of us are doing well, that's what matters.

DD: This year you and Solomon Bates are the ones vying for the same starting position. Solomon has been a player that drew a lot of criticism last year. How do you view battling for position with a player that has to fight through so much every week?

MA: Him and I live together, and we're good friends. Sure, there's a competition aspect of it. Whatever happens with the starting position happens. I know he'll be fine, and we're gonna push each other to play better this tear.

DD: The defense has look very strong in the first two games. How much more comfortable is the defense after having one year with Coach Guy's system under its belt?

MA: We feel very comfortable. We laugh about how much we had to think about the little things last year. This year, we just go out and execute without thinking. We have it all down.

DD: What gives you more urgency to play well this year – erasing the horrible year the defense had or the fact that you're playing your last year at ASU?

MA: The senior aspect definitely comes into play, but more than anything it's to prove to everyone that they were wrong when they said that we wouldn't be a good defense. We're doing well so far, and we just have to keep our head in the right direction. The next step is to play against Central Florida as best as we can. A shut out would be awesome, but we have to make sure more than anything that we're communicating well and playing strong. Everything else after that should take care of itself.

DD: You seem as one of the leaders on this team. Do you feel comfortable with that role?

MA: Definitely. I like when guys look up to me, and I like to be in a position to make or not make a play, and say something to a player if I need to say it. I welcome this position, and I'm happy I'm in it.

DD: Coaches and fans are real cautious of your next opponent - Central Florida. How does the defense feel about this matchup?

MA: We have a very good reason to be cautious too. They're very talented in their skill players…their line is pretty good. They got a good scheme, and the coaches really know how to manipulate defenses. We're gonna see a lot of good pass routes by their Receivers, and a lot of discipline from their Quarterback. Their offense is predicated on the pass, but we know they may try to surprise us and run a lot. I was very impressed how they played against Penn State with 100,000 people in the stands. It should be a real fun game against them.

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