Interview with Aleksey Lanis

The redshirt freshman offensive lineman is expected to compete for a starting spot on the offensive line next fall. Having gotten in very good shape, he talks about the challenges he's facing this winter practice...

Aleksey Lanis, the heralded offensive line prospect, will be a redshirt freshman this fall and is expected to compete for a starting spot on the offensive line. He had been working with the second team for most of winter practice, but then worked with the starting OL on Tuesday, when we conducted this interview.

So how are you feeling physically?

"Just a little tired. I mean we've put two weeks in now. But other than that I am pretty happy with myself right now."

Has playing in the rain affected you at all, I know Coach Dorrell said some of the other guys were sick...

"Yeah, I'm sick a little bit but it just comes with the territory. The hardest part is playing in the mud because it's hard to get your footing and hard to work on getting the proper technique down."

Are you concerned with the mud causing injuries?

"You don't ever think about it as a player, you just try and give it 100% and try not to think about it. If you think about it too much, that's when you get hurt."

Talk about what the scout team was like last year and working yourself from there to possibly starting...

"It was a good learning experiencing. I was a little behind last year in picking up some of the zone blitzes, but now when I come up to the line I am able to see where those things come from and now I'm more used to looking at it in my stance and checking out the defenses and what they were going to do."

Did your early enrollment help in giving you with that more time to learn?

"Not really, because they just finished spring practice when I got here. I guess the only good thing was that I got more conditioned."

Former offensive line coach Tom Cable had thought of you as a guard and now you're lining up as a tackle. What are your thoughts on that?

"I played tackle in high school, played guard in high school, played center in high school, so I don't care. Cable also told me that if I dropped to 315 lbs. I would be a tackle this year."

Is that how much you weigh now? "Yeah, pretty close to that."

What position do you prefer?

"As long as I'm on the field it doesn't matter to me."

Dorrell mentioned that you guys are all cross-learning right now, learning a couple of different positions. Does that make it harder, especially as a younger player?

"It's a little difficult but it's better for me to know what I'm doing and the guy next to me is doin. That way I know exactly where I need to go every time. I mean, sometimes I may mess up and I hit one of the other guys' calls but I can pick up the slack because I know what to do." Do you have a preference between weakside or strongside?

"I've played weakside so far here but it doesn't really matter because we run plays both ways."

Talk about the loss of Cable. He made a big difference when he came here.

"Coach Cable kind of surprised us there, and a lot of us thought he would be back. But Coach Colleto has done a great job so far, coming in with the time he's had to prepare -- which was about a week and half from camp. He's really taken us back to doing a lot of the basics."

Would you say that was one of the bigger differences between the two coaches?

Yeah, a little bit. I know the team is really doing a lot of work on the basics this year to make sure we are going through the right reads and stuff."

How do you think you've been doing this spring?

"I don't know, I'm a little behind still. I'm still missing some of my reads and there was a big jump today from second team to first team. It's a little faster, the guys are different and you're not used to playing with some of them."

So, what's your prediction for next year's offensive line?

"I think we will be a better line. We're trying to build on what they did last year."

Do you see yourself starting next year?

"I'm trying. Noah (Sutherland) is a great competitor and he's really the one I am competing against (at weakside tackle), but so far he has been a really big help in trying to teach me the spot. It's a friendly competition so I will be happy either way."

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