Going into Fall Camp the one name that kept coming up when players were asked who looked good this summer was Nick Westbrook. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound wideout spoke to Peegs.com about how Fall Camp is going, and about how much playing last fall as a true freshman has helped him as a player.
For Westbrook this Fall Camp is all about working hard for a spot and doing what he can to push the veteran receivers that are above him on the depth chart.
“It’s going pretty good,” he said about camp. “There is definitely a lot of progress being made, especially at receiver where we are all competing. I have a year under my belt and Luke (Timian) has a year under his belt too. I’m just trying to learn from Ricky (Jones), Simmie (Cobbs) and Mitchell (Paige). Just trying to fight for my spot while also pushing them to compete. And with the whole offense, we have so many weapons so it is just about trying to get it to click.”
The Florida native said those veteran wideouts have been very beneficial for his progress as a player because of all the advice they have given him.
“They have really helped me with my preparation,” Westbrook said. “It could be something like being ready in the middle of a drive with getting to the line as quickly as possible and reading the defense faster and noticing tendencies from the defense that can tip you off to something they are about to do.”
In this Fall Camp Westbrook said his main focus when it comes to his individual game has been more mental than physical.
“Coach (Kevin Johns) is always preaching about having a positive mindset so for me having a year under my belt is all about being more confident,” he said. “I know the plays I can do and what I can do on the field, but I just have to know it in my head and prove it to myself and make those big plays that I need to be making.”
One thing that has helped Westbrook’s confidence was the playing time he got last year as a true freshman.
“It has helped a lot and it has really helped my confidence level,” he said about playing last fall. “When you’re not thinking about what you have to do it makes you much more confident. I don’t have to think about what I need to do on a certain play, or how many steps I take on a certain route, now I just go and do what I have to do. Having that experience really has helped out a lot.”
Indiana offensive coordinator Kevin Johns has noticed that Westbrook is playing with a higher level of confidence so far in camp.
“He’s doing well,” Coach Johns said about Westbrook. “Really I think he has carried off where his summer was. He actually won an award through our strength staff of having the best summer and the most gains of a lot of the guys on our team. And he’s playing like it now. He’s playing in a bigger, physical role and making plays and playing with more confidence. We expect him to do a lot of big things this year.”
Westbrook said it is a great deal of fun to play in an offense that has so many different players that can make big plays.
“It’s a blast just because every play could be a big play, and even though you might not be getting the ball you’re always rooting for whoever it is,” he said. “We all get along really well and we’re like a big group of brothers. It is exciting to know that even if I don’t get the ball if I make my block and do my job whoever has the ball is going to produce no matter what.”
After making it to a bowl game in his first year at IU the athletic wideout said his expectations for the rest of his career are very high.
“It is huge motivation because we preach standards and now that is the standard for us and it is important to meet that standard,” Westbrook said. “I now expect to make it to a bowl game every year and to compete for the Big Ten championship. And I know the team feels the same way. We want to get four rings and we want to do the best we can do for this program and really get it turned around.”
Off the field Westbrook said his first year at IU went very well even though it took him a little while to adjust to the cold weather.
“It is going well for me,” he said about his first year off the field at Indiana. “I have never really had trouble with academics so that has been good. I am doing the Kelley School of Business. I love it up here. The biggest thing for me was the cold being from Florida. I never had a heavy coat until I came up here and I had to buy my first one. But it is kind of nice having seasons because you get to experience all four seasons up here.”