Some players are overwhelmed when they hear that the coveted blackshirt is now theirs. Some just sit and gape in awe as the moment passes them by, they still finding themselves speechless. For others, it's exaltation at the realization of a dream and for others, they grin a little, say thanks and get back to what they were doing. Kabongo stands as elated about the achievement, respectful of what it means, but for him, it's what you to do keep that shirt that means so much more. "It's good." Kabongo stated. "I am happy to be a blackshirt and I know there are a lot of expectations with that, that I go out there, work hard and do what needs to be done."
As for how Patrick was presented this honor, it was fairly simple. "He (coach Bohl) showed a highlight film and I was on it, so I was like, wow." Patrick stated. "But, I have been working for awhile to get this far, now I just have to work harder."
Though Patrick is fully aware of what being a blackshirt means now, it wasn't always so. Hailing from Canada, Kabongo's knowledge of the blackshirts was limited. "I didn't know much then, but I know about them now." Patrick said. "It's the blackshirts. You are recognized as a very good player on defense."
Patrick is indeed known as a great player on defense, but that's the least of his contributions. A fiery, emotional presence, Patrick has also stepped up to the role of, leader and it's one he takes seriously. But, he also points out that though he is now a blackshirt, that won't make him a better leader, because that's not what leaders are about. "Even without the blackshirt, I would still be a leader." Kabongo stated. "A leader is not what you wear, it's what you have inside. I am very happy to have it (the blackshirt) and a lot of great players have worn one, but it doesn't make you a leader."
This entire off-season, the defense has gotten most of the hype. Scoring 10 sacks in one scrimmage and all but hog tying the offense in everyone besides, the defense has confidence and they have fire, but Patrick stated that confidence aside, they will be ready for a war this Saturday versus ASU. "We are happy with what we have done, but we are taking Arizona State seriously." Kabongo stated. "Actually, we are taking them very seriously. They are a good team and we are excited to play them and I think we will do good."
Excitement for the defense is easy to come by. Most fans are drooling over what this new batch of blackshirts are capable in conjunction with the established veterans. Patrick though, finds just as much excitement in what's going on, on the other side of the ball, especially with his old freshman roommate. "I am very excited to see Jammal play." Patrick said. "When we were roommates, we always talked about it, when he or I would be able to get in there. I think he is going to be very good and that the offense is going to surprise a lot of people."
When you meet Patrick personally, the first thing that comes to mind is his size. He's big. No, he's actually REAL big. You can simply shudder at the idea of being the offensive linemen that has to go against him in practice and especially in games. Kabongo's fiery nature has been exclusive to those times where he is amongst his teammates and in a football atmosphere however, as off the field, he's actually quite soft spoken. One thing he isn't soft spoken about though is this team. He's excited at what the defense can do, energetic when he talks about the offensive potential and when you ask him what he wants to do as a player and as a teammate every time he steps on that field, he's short and to the point. "Start strong and finish stronger." Patrick said. "That's what it's all about."