Like any player, Nathan Eldridge wanted to be a starter. However, after Zach Hemmila’s death, he surely wanted it to be under different circumstances.
“It was tough because of the circumstances, but we still have football to play and somebody has to do it,” Eldridge said.
“We are getting through it by just sticking together. We’re watching each other’s back to make sure everybody is good and it’s just brought us so much closer together.”
Eldridge has been in a close competition with Levi Walton for the starting center spot, but it appears that he is the most likely candidate to start.
Not only is that surprising because of the circumstances, but also because it’s a position Eldridge never played before.
“I didn’t play any center in high school,” he said. “I knew I was getting recruited to play center, so I practiced snapping and drills before I got here. It wasn’t easy when I got here, but I had already started the process of transitioning.”
There may not be a more intense position on the offensive line than center.
“It’s different because everything is right up close,” Eldridge said. “As soon as I snap the ball, that nose is right at me.
“I call everything also. With our pace and our defense now with the shifting and different fronts, it can get difficult, but it is coming along.”
Eldridge has been snapping to numerous quarterbacks and admits that the competition is one that he is paying attention to.
“It matters just because they are making calls with us,” Eldridge said. “If he is going to override what I am saying, I am going with my quarterback. The best man will get the job though.”
With it being game week, Arizona’s focus has shifted completely to BYU.
“Now we start preparing,” he said. “It’s game time. They are a real good leverage team on the defensive line, so we really have to work on our technique and hands and all that.
“You have to be technically sound with everything. Michalczik tells us to work on our technique, leverage, and everything.”