For Fabbians Ebbele, the chance to be a four-year starter for Arizona at right tackle isn't an opportunity that is coming as a complete surprise. He admits that the opportunity at such significant playing time was something that attracted him to UA and is something that drives him to compete every day.
"I looked at the situation, I knew five seniors were leaving," Ebbele said. "I knew I had an opportunity to step in, and it definitely excites me. It makes me want to work harder every day."
However, that chance hasn't come without an immense amount of hard work, as the 6-foot-8, 295-pound redshirt-freshman spent his first year with the program putting himself in a position to be successful this season against some of the top defensive ends in the Pac-10.
"Last year I just had a lot of opportunities to go up against great defensive ends with Ricky (Elmore), D'Aundre (Reed), and Brooks (Reed)," Ebbele said. "I took advantage of that and worked hard every time I could to get better for this year."
This season, Ebbele will be part of the group that is charged with replacing all five starters from a season ago, a challenge he believes the group will overcome.
"Every year they say there's something that lacks or someone that left that we always have to improve on," Ebbele said. "We're really good at facing adversity, so we're just going to go out and show everyone that we're ready."
Potentially making the situation much harder is the loss of Bill Bedenbaugh and the addition of Robert Anae as the offensive line coach, but Ebbele insists the transition has been smooth so far.
"It's really great working with Coach Anae," Ebbele said. "He really wants us to get a mindset, that's what it all starts with. If you're not prepared mentally or if you're not mentally focused, you'll come out and have a bad day."
With Coach Anae and an entirely new offensive line in place, Ebbele sees a bright future for him and his fellow big men in the trenches.
"We're going to be as good as we want to be," Ebbele said. "We're going to all be together this year, and we're all going to be together all next year. We can get better every single day."
Now that spring practice has officially ended, Ebbele is focused on getting better throughout the summer and the beginning of the fall in preparation of his first year of Pac-12 football.
"I'm trying to get jacked," Ebbele said. "We'll be in the weight room working hard. We're trying to get everything together with out communication and make sure that's all good and everyone knows what they're doing. We don't want to be hesitant, we want to come off the ball not holding anything back."
Ebbele knows he has big opportunity
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