The Southern Methodist University coaching staff did not need to tell defensive end Nick Antaki his fate. The Jesuit product was well aware of the playing time he was going to receive last season as soon as he stepped on campus.
"There was no chance of me playing," the red shirt freshman said. "Both the coaches and I knew that.
"I knew it'd be the best decision to go five years instead of four" That is exactly what he did in red shirting last year after entering the program "obviously physically behind."
The defensive end said he needed to adjust to the speed of the college game when he first arrived at the Hilltop.
That is not, however, the case with Antaki now. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound red shirt freshman said his speed and reaction time are down not to mention that he has added 50 pounds to his bench press and nearly 175 pounds to his squat.
Antaki, however, is not the only one that has benefited from a significant change this past year as the Mustangs hired former Hawaii head coach June Jones to fill the same position this past January.
That change has resulted in spirited practices that Antaki said did not take place during his red shirt season when he and the defense were often matched against an offense that was "just going through the motions."
This year, however, has already been different with the excitement that comes with handing the keys to the program to an offensive guru like Jones.
Yet Antaki and the defense are not backing down from the offense in practice. "Everyone talks about how great (Jones') offense is," he said. "That just gives us incentive to show up the offense and get talked about as well."
Antaki, meanwhile, does not need any incentive to play hard after finishing the spring behind two players on the depth chart with two players coming in at the same position. He is accepting the challenge, however, instead of lamenting over it.
"It's going to be a fight for the position," he said. "I wish I was starting—but I'd much rather be a starter because I earned it."