Abiamiri Hoping To Live Up to His Potential

Freshman defensive end Victor Abiamiri possesses a wealth of talent that we're not even sure he comprehends, or he's too humble to admit. The 6-5, 265-pound freshman gained 20 pounds over the off-season and still looks thin. We spoke with Abiamiri after Tuesday's practice to find out how he's adjusting to life at Notre Dame, and asked about his progress through spring practice.

Victor Abiamiri says adjusting to life as a freshman hasn't been easy. "It was pretty difficult," said Abiamiri of the first few months as a freshman. "I remember back to the first couple days of camp. I had to completely switch my stance around, learn more and different technique, as time went on, I kind of got used to it. I feel a lot more comfortable where I am at right now. I think I'll develop into a much better football player this year."

One of the hardest adjustments for Abiamiri was leaving his family behind. The Baltimore, Md. native had to leave his family and two brothers behind. Both brothers are close to Victor and are football players at the University of Maryland.

"It's been tough. I communicate with my brothers as often as I can, at least twice a week. They're going through the same thing that I'm going through right now with spring ball out at Maryland. They kind of give me advice. The first couple of days of spring ball was kind of tough so I called them up and talked to them about it. They kind of settled me down and told me about the objectives of spring ball and how it was to get me ready for next year. I do miss them, but they're still there for me."

Abiamiri was able to deal with the adjustment enough to see some action as a true freshman—something very rare for defensive ends. "I was quite nervous I must say," said Abiamiri when asked to recall his first snaps in college football. "The first couple of plays, the first couple of games, every time I got the jitters before I went out there. I think it kind of took away from my play a little bit. I started to get into my comfort zone a little bit and I think it will help me next year not to be rattled so much."

Abiamiri finished the season playing in all 12 games. He finished with 22 tackles, four tackles for loss and a sack.

Playing was a thrill for Abiamiri, but he says he was somewhat disappointed in how he played. "It kind of motivates me. I realize that I haven't played up to my abilities and what I can be. Each day is kind of striding to that direction to try to live up to that ability. I don't want to be the one that has the ability and wastes it on something and not being able to play up to that ability. Every day I'm trying to improve my game to reach that ability."

Expectations are something Victor knows plenty about, but he says he doesn't feel any pressure to perform as an individual. "I really don't feel any pressure for me individually. I do feel pressure for us to have a good season as a collective unit. I think we have something to prove to the nation. I think we're a very good defense, better than we showed last year, so I kind of put the pressure on myself to do the best that I can do to try to help the team in any way I can."

Abiamiri has added 20 pounds of solid muscle over the winter to his 6-5 frame. We asked him how he felt he was moving with the extra weight. "I don't feel any different at all. We have the best strength coach in the country in Mickey Marotti. I was actually surprised because I feel quicker, faster, more agile, it hasn't been anything at all for me to deal with."

Victor does see a difference in practice this spring compared to the fall, however. "Things just come easier for you. You've had the system for almost a year so it's not so mentally overwhelming. Everything is kind of memory now where everything was brand new when I came here. You catch on to things quicker. It should allow me to play instead of think so much."

Finally, we asked Abiamiri about the one thing defensive line coach Greg Mattison yells at him the most about in practice. "I'd say consistency. I might have a really good play and then on another play I completely blow it. That's what I was talking about earlier and playing up to my ability. I need to be consistent and have that flash and that spark on every single play."

There is no question that Abiamiri has the talent to play in the NFL some day. He seems very focused on realizing his potential while at Notre Dame. If he does, the Irish should be posting more wins and sacks in the near future.

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