When offensive lineman, Nick Demien 6'5" 300 arrived at Missouri last June, expectations for the physically gifted big man couldn't have been much higher. Early in fall camp, Demien was slotted at offensive guard, where he went up against men who are just as physically gifted as he is. Demien, who had been able to physically overpower and overwhelm high school players, discovered that he was going to need to develop as a player at Missouri.
So, Demien settled in at third team right guard, and went to work. As a freshman headed for a red-shirt, Demien spent the 2010 season working on the scout team, and getting to work in Coach Ivey's Gun Glub.
During the early bowl practices, the young players, who had been working with the scout team, experienced the opportunity to get a lot of repetitions working on the Missouri side of the football. Demien took a few minutes to visit with ShowMeMizzou, and talked about that opportunity, and his goals for the upcoming off-season.
"It was great to be back in the Missouri offense," said Demien. "To get a chance to go out there and show show your stuff, or what you've learned. Working hard, to try to get better, and trying to find a spot for next year."
"I really can't predict the future," said Demien. "But, I'm going to try my hardest, and hopefully, find a spot somewhere along the line, and show what I've got, and hopefully, things work out."
After I asked Demien to be more specific about his immediate goals, he complied.
"Specific goal, would probably be to find a spot," explained Demien. "I mean, that's kind of the biggest thing. It really doesn't necessarily matter where. You know, just finding a spot."
By "finding a spot", Demien means a spot on the two-deep depth chart, which would, of course, translate into playing time during games.
Demien responded to my question about his specific goals for the off-season workouts, and he talked about what he needs to work on to get better.
"I probably won't gain any more weight," began Demien. "Definitely try to get stronger. You know, always trying to get stronger, and improve what I can in speed, and agility."
Demien talked about the improvement that he's made since fall camp.
"I've definitely gotten used to the speed," said Demien. "The speed, I think, is a big thing for just about every freshman, coming in. It's definitely a different game speed, coming in. Everybody hits a little bit harder. Everybody's a little bit bigger. Everybody's got a little bit more intensity. That's one thing that I kind of feel that I've started to get a hold of, and become comfortable with. I'm working to improve on pass blocking, getting a little bit more used to pass blocking. I didn't do as much in high school. I've got to get a little bit better at it, and I've got to get a little more used to it. Just all-around kind of hone all of my skills to the best of my ability."
Demien said that he likes the competition against guys who are just as big and strong as he is, and he admitted that he prefers the 11-on-11 periods.
"It's fun! It kind of brings out a little bit more real football," explained Demien. "You get a chance to go up against somebody that's just as good as you, if not better. And, you kind of see what you're made of."
"I like to go against the better guys," said Demien. "And, I like when it's kind of open, and they don't know what's going to happen........................ You get to go out there, and smack heads."