True sophomore defensive lineman Brigham Harwell was moved to defensive tackle from defensive end, and he's had a good winter practice.
So, last season didn't start out too well for you...
"No. The second week of training camp I got my knee scoped. It was a really big setback. I had high hopes of coming in and making a big impact as a freshman. But it happened for a reason. I learned a lot. I came back early in the season but it was a pretty big setback and I'm ready to start all over again this year."
Did it set you back for the entire season? Were you feeling a residual effect from the surgery during the rest of the season?
"Oh, yeah. It really didn't get ready to go, I didn't really feel good about it, until about the sixth or seventh week of the season. In the second game of the season, against Illinois, I had five tackles, but I was struggling to get in there after the play. It got stronger, but it was bothering me all season long."
How do you feel now?
"I feel well now. I'm good now. I've been working on my knees in the weight room and they're doing well."
Being thrown out there as a true freshmen, with a knee injury, were you a bit overwhelmed?
"Probably. It was a lot faster that I thought. And to get thrown into it just as a freshman, but then to have my knee, it was...well, I wasn't really comfortable at first. (Former defensive line) coach (Don) Johnson kept telling me to play through it, that things would change and to not think and just do it. He helped me out a lot."
Now you've been moved to defensive tackle, at the three-technique. How different is it?
"Tackle is a lot different, at the three-technique. Everything is a lot faster now. I'm learning but I'm feeling good about it."
How did the move come about?
"The coaches all told me we needed a three-technique for spring practice, and I was there, so I wanted to fit in anyway I can to help out the team."
Are you happy with the move?
"I'm happy just playing football. Any position is better than not playing. It doesn't matter. I'm happy just playing. I'm really excited."
How much different is it going up against offensive guards rather than tackles?
"It's a lot different. There is really a lot of things that are different. You might not think there is. For one thing, I'm getting cut a lot more. But that's how it is. I have to step up my game and be prepared for those double teams and cuts."
Do you know if the move is permanent?
"After spring camp Coach (Karl) Dorrell and I will have a meeting and we'll see where I'm at. I think I'll probably stay at the three-technique. Right now I'm 270 pounds and hopefully I'll get to 280 or 285 by next season while I keep up my speed. So, with those extra ten pounds I think it will be good."
Do you think you can do that in the off-season?
"I think I can. I'll just put on muscle. I don't need to put on fat. I need to keep up my speed. Seeing how I've done since I got here, I think I can add 10 to 15 pounds of muscle by next year."
What were you in high school?
Then when you came in last year how much did you weigh?
"255 or 260."
So, you think you still have some potential to keep gaining weight and strength?
"I do. I've been doing it since I got here and it's not really slowing me down. I think 280 would be a good weight for me."
How do you like the new defensive line coach, Thurmond Moore?
"He's been really good. It's always different when you get a new coach, but I think he's come in and fit in really well. Getting a different coach you then get different things he can teach you, so it can really benefit a player. He's been great to work with, too."
What kind of goals do you have for next season?
"As a team, we're looking to win the Pac-10. We're looking to play in the Rose Bowl. That's the only goal you can have as a team and we're going to work to try to do it. So, that's really the only goal right there."
How about for you?
"Well, I shoot high. I'd settle with being an All-American and first team all Pac-10."