Abiamiri Already Making Impact

There have been high expectations for highly recruited Victor Abiamiri. Abiamiri has responded to these expectations by seeing action in both the Washington State and Michigan games. He reached a higher level as he was inserted into the starting lineup in place of the injured Justin Tuck. Abiamiri finished the game with seven tackles, second only to Cory Watson's twelve tackles. The seven tackles he recorded are the most by a starting Irish freshman in several years.

Irish Eyes talked with Victor after Tuesday's practice regarding his progression thus far and the process coming from high school football to working his way into the starting lineup. "It's a long process," said Abiamiri. "Ever since training camp began, I have been working hard trying to work my way up." When asked if he had expected to see so much action this early in the season, he responded, "I'm a freshman, I know I have to bide my time. I just have to do the best I can every day and get better. It's been a good journey so far and I hope we improve defensively and I can just keep on going and keep on playing."

With his playing time increasing each game, Victor feels there are still things he needs to work on to get better, "all around knowledge of the game and better techniques" are areas he feels need work. In regards to improving techniques he stated, "Coach Mattison is a wonderful and awesome coach. He is teaching me how to improve my techniques and do different things; and trying to get me to be the best player I can be."

Being surrounded by a group of veterans has been beneficial to Victor and he has high praise for Justin Tuck. "He has really been a mentor to me. We are roommates on the road so he teaches me defenses a little bit and gives me tips on how to improve my game. He has been a wonderful mentor so far through this whole process." With Tuck banged up the question was who would start in his place, and Victor related, "I kind of took over and got more reps later on in the week. So it was a decision made later in the week and the coaches just tried to get me as prepared as they could."

Undoubtedly the physical aspect of preparing for a game is great. However, the mental preparation also has to be a big factor in being ready for a game. When questioned about the mental preparation, Victor stated, "Obviously, since I am young, I was kind of nervous to get out there, but the coaches really made sure I would be ready." Just exactly what did this readiness consist of? "Taking extra time, one-on-one, coaching me to make sure I'd be ready for the game to kind of put my mind at ease."

Victor came into the Irish program considered a player who would get on the field this year due to his size and speed. The question was could he hold his own against older, veteran players. "The first couple of days when I came out in high school I was used to muscling people but here, guys are bigger and stronger and faster than me. So I had to make adjustments and that is where the technique comes in, and using different ways to try and beat people. I had to learn to adjust. I couldn't just use muscle because a lot of the players are bigger than me."

Even though Victor is a freshman, he feels this is still a crucial season for him and he has to learn from the veterans. "Yes, this is a major year for me. Right now, I'm trying to learn as much as I can from the guys who have been in the fire. They've got advice that only comes from experience. I am trying to learn as much as I can from them to try and improve my game."

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