Van Noy Is "The Obsessed Freak"

Although he hasn't suited up, Van Noy has made sure to show up just about every day over the course of spring camp. His reasoning for doing so simple. He wants to show his support, help coach some of the younger guys and make sure they don't waste their current opportunities because he'll be back to take from them when he returns.

It's no walk on the beach, even though Kyle Van Noy spends a lot of his time at ‘muscle beach' recovering from a post season shoulder surgery that has caused him to miss spring camp.

"Well, I'm just doing my little bike in the training room where I bike for a little while," said a positive Van Noy. "I haven't started physical theory yet, well just a little bit, and just mostly do lower body workout stuff. I won't have a lot of time but a decent amount of time to recover, but I'll be back for fall camp that's for sure."

After his daily workout of riding the bike, Van Noy then heads out to make his presence known on the Cougar practice field to support his teammates.

"I then come out here and watch the guys practice and try to help coach the younger guys on the team," Van Noy said. "Just showing up and being a team player is what I want to be. That's what I want to be is a team player. I don't ever want to be that guy who thinks he's an individual player and not come around and think he's too cool to come around and hang out with the team."

In the recent past, Van Noy has seen how some high-profile players didn't interact with the guys simply because of their past accomplishments or national status and stardom. Van Noy doesn't want to be that guy, but instead one who plays an active role in positively influencing the team for the greater good.

"Sometimes you get guys who think they're too cool to come around and think they're bigger than they really are," he said. "That's something that has happened in the past. You know, this is my life and football is who I am and my livelihood. It's not something that I want to miss because I'm too cool to be around the guys."

By being out on the field on a consistent basis, Van Noy wants to send a message to those currently suited up.

"I want to be out there more than anyone else probably on the team because I'm an obsessed freak that likes to control what I can do on the field," he said. "It's just who I am and it shows on the field and off the field. When I talk to people about the game they learn really quickly that I'm passionate about it.

"What I want to do is let these guys know that I'm going to come back and I'm going to take it seriously. I want to set that standard and let these guys know that being that obsessed freak is something I want to pass on down to them. You have to lead by example and that's what I'm trying to do."

Setting the standard and cultivating an obsessed defensive culture through example is a contribution that Van Noy wants to pass down to the younger players currently on the team.

"I want to hand off that torch to them with that mindset and attitude towards the game," Van Noy said. "I want to let them know that when I come back it's game on, and that your chances are very limited and that you should take it very seriously because you can get injured or miss games. This is something you won't ever have a chance to do again, so to hammer that into their minds is something I'm working on and I think they're getting that on the defensive side of the ball.

"I watch the younger guys coming up and can see that many of them are getting it early. That's fun for me because I can help in creating the standard and tone of the defense even though I can't be out there on the field."

While the defense will get a shot in the arm with his return, Van Noy is pleased with the progress of the defense and with the attitude and approach of the younger players.

"I'm seeing guys like Manoa [Pikula] and Lene [Lesatele] who are playing really well and get that type of attitude we want to have," he said. "Then I'm seeing guys in our backfield like Joe [Sampson] at the free safety and he's playing really well and Daniel [Sorensen]. They're bringing that mentality to the backfield and so it's good to see. I'm seeing it more and more and with the younger guys as well. It's good to see that."

Along with that "obsessed freak" attitude Van Noy sees among many on the defense, there is one characteristic Van Noy feels will make this group of Cougar defenders more dominant as a whole.

"I think one thing we're going to know better as a defense in the off-season is the d-line is going to know what the backers are going to do and the backers are going to know what the d-line is going to do," said Van Noy. "The safeties are going to know what the linebackers are going to do as well as the d-line, so when you understand the whole defense you can play your position, understanding you don't have to do some amazing thing to make a play.

"To know that every other person knows what to do is huge for us. We always practice when we're tired and we play under duress, so the one thing we learn in Fall camp is we will know how guys play when they're tired and under duress. That's when we learn what their tendencies are and know more about each other. Right now in spring it's about doing your assignment. You don't have to do it right all the time but you have to do it at 100 percent.

"Even if you don't do it right but are trying 100 percent, you start to trust them. Those are the guys you want in the game because you know they'll get it down eventually while going 100 percent all the time. You just have to do your job and you'll make a play because Coach Mendenhall will put you in the right place nine out of ten times. I think all of these things we'll have this year and that will make us a much better defense."

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