Andrew Wicker, a junior offensive lineman who is attempting a move this fall from DT to the OL despite mising all of spring with a foot injury, is not bashful when it comes to predicting the impact he will have on the OL when August rolls around.
"I didn't change from defensive tackle, where I was going to get a lot of snaps, to the offensive line without being determined to get a lot of snaps there," he said matter-of-factly. "I'm going to play and I'm going to play a lot. You can write that down."
But first things first.
Andrew is in the final stages of his foot rehab and that has to be settled before anything else can take place.
"I'll be 100% when August practice starts. I'm about 95% now. I have been running in the aquacizer up until now, but I will start running next week out of the aquacizer. It will be a day-to-day thing, but I expect to be cutting and going full speed in two or three weeks," he predicted. "I know I will be ready by August. I could have been ready earlier, but the trainers and doctors felt there was no need to push the envelope. The timeline was always for the first of August."
In the meantime, Wicker has been working on his conditioning and doing as much strength work as possible.
"All the strength coaches are letting me do right now - at least with heavy weights - is the bench. I benched 405 yesterday," he continued. "I will start doing the other lifts soon, but I feel good about my conditioning to this point."
OL Coach George DeLeone is hesitant to state anything conclusive about Wicker's return or the potential for quck playing time. After all, he hasn't seen Andrew play a snap, but Andrew feels he benefitted from spring mentally and will be ready to wrangle a job in fall.
"I have to look at the positive side. Sure, I missed valuable reps, but on the mental side, I might have gotten more out of spring than the other OL. I got to step back and see everytime someone did something wrong and everytime someone did something right. When you are in there getting reps, you can only concentrate on what you are doing," he stated. "I learned a lot of things in spring - mentally. I believe I understand what to do. Now, it's just a matter of getting my body to do those things."
"Wick" has also been watching a lot of film in the offseason and doing OL drills on his own, in slow motion mostly.
"I've been working on my stance, steps, different assignments. I know Coach DeLeone doesn't know what I can do yet, but it's my job to prove to him I can handle it. I'll be ready. I think the physical part will come back pretty quickly," said Andrew.
For supposition, let's say Andrew makes a major splash. Where does he fit in?
"I think I'll get a shot at right guard, but I'm not sure. From looking at everything, that seems most likely," he noted. "I'll play wherever the team needs me, but from what little work I did get in before my injury at OL, right guard seemed to fit me the best."
Wicker is healthy and ready for 2005
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