Bad news for Big Ten offensive lines counting on Jared Crick's MCL sprain to be a nagging injury during the fall.
"I have been 100 percent for about a month and a half or so, plus some," said Crick an interview with Big Red Report in late June. "I'm actually a lot stronger in my legs now compared to then, because of the rehab. I'm doing great."
Crick only went through a few practices in the spring, before sitting out all of April. At the time, the move was considered more precautionary than anything, but Nebraska fans will be excited to hear he's fully recovered as expected.
"At first I was sort of bummed out because I couldn't do much at all, but at the end of spring ball I kind of realized how important it is to see how the defense works," said Crick. "I got an outside view. Coach JP (John Papuchis) and I talked about going through the process of sitting out. He told me that I didn't need to worry, because I would learn and get that outside look at the defense that I normally wouldn't get being in there. At the end of the day it was a bad deal, but I have to just look at the positives."
It's hard to imagine Crick learning anything more to take his game to even a higher level. Last season, the All-American recorded 70 tackles, 9.5 sacks, and 17 tackles for loss. He needs 10.5 sacks this season to become all-time record holder at Nebraska, with just five to reach the top five.
"Whatever happens, happens. Don't get me wrong, I'm going to go out and try to get as many sacks as possible," said Crick. "At the end of my career, it would be nice to go back and see that I have the sack record, it's not like I'm not going for it. It's just not my first priority. My first priority is to win ball games. Indivdual accomplishments and goals are not priority number one for anyone on this squad."
Much has been made this off-season on how Big Ten offenses will prepare for Crick and Nebraska's veteran defensive line. On paper, the Huskers enter the Big Ten Conference with the strongest unit up front.
"I have no idea what any opponents in the Big Ten are planning to do to attack me. As far as I know, they are just going to play their game. If we tear them up as a d-line, they will then have to make adjustments," said the senior. "No matter what they throw at us, we are going to be throwing a lot at them as well. I could care less what they do to me or try to do to the defensive line to slow us down. As long as we do our job, everything is going to be alright.
While we had pre-season All-American on the phone, we asked what sepearates playing defensive tackle for the Pelini brothers and Nebraska compared to elsewhere.
"Definitely technique," said Crick. "You watch a lot of teams and their defensive tackles just run straight up field and shoot the gaps. If we do that, we are going to get pulled really quick. It's not how we play. We play with our hands and on the man. Not a lot of people understand that about our defense. We don't go out and just try to make plays. We do our job on the defense first and when we have the opportunity to make plays, we take advantage of it. You have to have great technique, footwork, hands, and eyes to play defensive tackle for them."
Want to hear more from Crick? Check out next month's edition of Big Red Report magazine.