On the Record: Dominic Espinosa

One would be hard-pressed to find a name that Charlie Strong has mentioned more leading up to the kickoff of the 2014 season than Dominic Espinosa.

Strong has repeatedly said that he wants the seniors of this program to take control of the team, and who better to do that than a player likely to start his fourth straight season at center for UT?

HornsDigest.com recently caught up with Espinosa to talk about several topics pertaining to the program.

Strong has repeatedly said that he wants the seniors of this program to take control of the team, and who better to do that than a player likely to start his fourth straight season at center for UT?

HornsDigest.com recently caught up with Espinosa to talk about several topics pertaining to the program.

Joe Wickline really is a perfectionist isn’t he?

“He breaks down game film really well. So I think we have a lot to look forward to in game prep. I am excited to have Wick on board.”

What all did you hear about Wickline prior to his arrival?

“I heard a lot about him before he even got to Austin. I knew he had a great track record and his offensive lines were always really good up there. They obviously had some of the best [stats], like least sacks. So it’s good to have someone like that here who can hopefully get us there in the years to come. We want to be a well-balanced offensive line.”

Was there anything in particular that Joe Wickline showed right away that made you think he was as good as advertised?

“The fundamentals and details. I think at this level there are certain things that coaches might not work on like your step, and then going over your step again. That’s something that might not get covered by a lot of coaches because you’ve been doing this for years and years. So it might not be an area that you would focus on that much, but he does. He is so detail oriented so he wants you to perfect things.”

It seems like he doesn’t have any problem playing offensive linemen at different positions to see where they best fit?

“A lot of the other guys, he does. All the other guys do. He doesn’t want you to be comfortable. He wants you to see other positions. It’s a cool deal. It’s interesting. Some guys might have thought they were a tackle the whole time but get to find out they like being a guard. It’s really cool. I like it.”

What was your first impression of Charlie Strong?

“Strong. He’s a hard worker himself. He tries to lead by example and that’s a big motivation for us. He is out there way before we are running. So it’s one of those deals that if he is putting in work then we need to put in work too.”

Have you been able to reflect on all that you’ve accomplished here? Starting four years at center doesn’t happen very often at a place like Texas.

“Obviously I probably need to take time after my career to really realize what it all means because it’s happened so fast. It’s been a lot of games. I’ve been blessed to not get hurt and play in all these games. I think it is going to help our team and our offense out in a lot of ways because we don’t have a lot of experience [on the offensive line]. I’ve got experience in a lot of games that a lot of guys don’t have. We are going to need some experience.”

Did you hear the doubters early in your career?

“I’m sure it was there. We hear it all the time, not even with myself but as a group. We don’t listen to any of that kind of stuff. We work hard and try to be the best offensive unit we can be. I know I am not the biggest or the most dominant person in the league, but I’m going to try to be the smartest and be the most prepared. That’s where I’m going to try to shine.”

You’re listed at 6-foot-2 and 308 pounds. Does size matter all that much as a center?

“At times it might when you are going up against a 340-pound nose guard. But it’s a position that you are seeing more and more that you have to be a second quarterback, another coach. It’s different. You are telling other people what to do. A lot goes into it. So you don’t have to be a 6-6, 330 lineman to be that dominant. You can be that averaged size guy. As long as you are smart you can play a long time and I’m a testament to that.”

Were you under the impression that change was needed in this program, as far as bringing a new staff in goes?

“I don’t think we needed something new. I don’t think that’s ever the case. I’m a firm believer that we can have anyone out there. It’s up to the players at the end of the day. They give us an assignment and have to do it to the best of our abilities. If anything, we are embracing the change.”

What have you seen of David Ash so far?

“I would go back to the spring. It was exciting to see how well he was practicing, and exciting to see how well Tyrone [Swoopes] was practicing. He is such a hard working guy and a firm believer in coming back and doing great things because he is so positive. I’m excited to see him back in a roll where he is 100 percent clear. It’s going to be exciting to see those quarterbacks compete all camp long. It’s only going to make all of them better and the team better.”

Do you think Ash will play with any hesitation coming back from a season in which he missed 10 games due to concussion-like symptoms?

“I think he is a guy that it’s not going to bother him because it’s happened to him before and he’s overcome it and played better than he did before. I’m not worried about that at all.”

You lost four starters around you on the offensive line. How do you see this group coming together?

“This year is going to be different because we’ve had the same guys sticking together for another go around. So it’s been easy to adjust. But now it’s going to be a whole new group of guys. I’ll have four offensive linemen around me. It’s different but it’s tough because those are four talented guys and high-level guys. I feel like the talent level of these guys is as good, or better, than the past guys. It will be exciting. It’s just a matter of getting them on the same page.”


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