VIDEO: Iese on Playing D-End

Nate Iese, who has already bounced between linebacker, Y, and defensive end in his first year, talks about settling into his role as a defensive end this spring...

Nate Iese talks about playing defensive end:


Q: alright, here with Nate Iese. He's getting through his first spring practice here. So how does everything feel? I mean, are you feeling comfortable in the defense? That sort of thing?

NI: yeah, I'm feeling really… well, I'm kind of progressing at the defensive line now. I had to make a switch from outside linebacker to D-line. So I made that switch, I think, the third practice of spring because of the depth. Coach [Angus McClure - Defensive Line/Recruiting Coordinator] has been doing a really good job helping me with that transition. I think I can use a lot of stuff from outside linebacker and utilize it on the defensive line. So I've been doing a pretty good job of that. So I'm kind of just progressing right now. Just getting a feel for it, you know.

Q: in high school, you played a lot of defensive end but it was in a 4-3, right?

NI: yes.

Q: so how much of a difference is it playing in this 3-4 as opposed to a 4-3?

NI: I would say it's a pretty big difference. For me, in high school, just the transition from the levels of football will be a lot different. The speed. The offensive linemen are a lot more athletic and a lot bigger at this level. And then, to be playing, instead of a 5 technique outside of the tackle and just rushing off the edge and not have to play in-between the tackle and the guard, you could possibly get double-teamed. So they can do down blocks. It's a lot more difficult, but Coach Angus has been doing a really good job teaching me how to take on one block and not have to deal with two people, you know. So he's been doing a really good job of that. I'm getting a pretty good feel for it right now.

Q: so it's adjusting mentally obviously to kind of a much different position than one you've played. And then adjusting to it physically. I mean, obviously, you're a little undersized for a defensive end in this system.

NI: yeah, most definitely. Most definitely.

Q: Have they talked to you about how much weight they want you to put on in the offseason?

NI: they actually haven't. They haven't talked to me at all. They keep telling me, "Eat more. Eat more. Like eat more until you're uncomfortable." But I would say that I would have to put on more weight. I mean, 300 pound linemen, if you get doubled, that's 600 pounds. I'm like 250. I actually weighed in yesterday at 235. Probably losing weight just trying to hold my ground on the defensive line so I do have to gain more weight, but I think I'll be fine.

Q: do you think, I mean, for you personally, they may not have told you anything, what weight do you want to see yourself at if you're going to play that position full-time?

NI: if I was going to play that position, I would want to see myself at around maybe 260, 265.

Q: do you think that's reasonable for you?

NI: I want to keep my speed.

Q: sure.

NI: that's one thing I want to do. I don't want to gain so much weight to where I become slow.

Q: yeah. You watch those big uglies. You don't want to be like that.

NI: yeah, I'd rather gain more muscle than just straight-up fat. Just eating and eating. Just gaining tons of fat.

Q: you don't want to carbo load?

NI: yeah. So I'd rather just gain muscle and keep my speed so I can get off the ball and still be athletic against offensive linemen, you know.

Q: it seems like a lot of guys in the offseason actually dropped a little bit of weight, especially the linemen. Do you think that's something that Coach [Sal Alosi - Strength & Conditioning Coordinator] can do for you? Maybe have you gain a lot of muscle without losing too much athleticism?

NI: oh, yeah. Most definitely. Coach Alosi's really good with that. We do a lot of work in the weight room so I'm pretty sure I'm going to gain a lot of muscle. It's just going to happen over time. It'll take a little bit of time, but I think I'll get there most definitely. I'm only a redshirt freshman so I have 4 more years left so I'm pretty sure I'll be fine.

Q: so you don't see yourself at 265 come September?

NI: it's hard for me to see it, but I think I can do it. I'm pretty sure I can do it if I just keep working on it.

Q: does anyone else in your family have that kind of build?

NI: oh yeah, my uncle Harvey from San Jose, he's like 6'7", like 275. 280.

Q: oh, wow.

NI: Yeah, he's really big. My dad's actually the shortest in the family. So I'm pretty sure I got my genetics from one of the two.

Q: I think your dad's going to be watching this. So how tall are you now? You're like what? 6'2"? 6'3?

NI: yeah, about 6'3".

Q: I mean, would you have been more comfortable staying at outside linebacker? Or is it… is it okay for you like switching to defensive end? I mean, would you prefer to stay at outside linebacker?

NI: I mean I came in… that's what I was recruited as so I think, of course, I would prefer to stay there. It's something that I was becoming more comfortable with over time. And I became really comfortable. And Coach [Jeff Ulbrich - Assistant Head Coach - Special Teams/Linebackers] did a really good job with that. Because I was worried, coming in from high school, I was recruited a lot as a defensive end, so I was a little worried coming in when they said they wanted me to play outside linebacker. But I did a lot of stuff that I did in high school still. It was just in a 2-point stance. Just rushing off the edge, going against the tackles. Coach Ulbrich did a really good job with that. And teaching me how to drop off in coverage as well. So I got used to that. But then when they told me to transition back to defensive line, I didn't think it would be that big of a deal. You know, since I was still kind of comfortable with it, and I could utilize a lot of that stuff anyways.

Q: have they ruled out outside linebacker permanently or is it something you could switch back to?

NI: as far as I'm concerned, I don't think anything is permanent for me right now. Of course, wherever they move me, I'm going to try to progress as much as possible. Because it could potentially become permanent if I do well there. So I'll keep working at D-line right now. And just keep working and doing what the coaches are asking me to do. And if they need me somewhere else, they think I'll fit better somewhere else, I'll have no problem making that change. But I, of course, want to become solid at one spot.

Q: one thing we saw last year, toward the end of the year, you were playing a lot of tight end. A lot of Y. I mean, they've said, you know, it's probably not something you're going to do in the future. But was that something that was potentially attractive to you?

NI: oh yeah. I love running routes. I love catching balls. I did a lot of that my senior year. And that was really fun for me. Like coming out here, it was a lot of fun. I was only doing it on the scout team against our first-team defense and I was doing really well, but they had like papers with arrows on how to and where to run the route. So it was easy to like look at the paper and go run the route. Our offense is a lot more difficult and sophisticated than that. So I would have to really get into the playbook before I make that switch.

Q: do the meetings and all that stuff.

NI: exactly.

Q: alright. Cool.

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