VIDEO: Joe Mathis on Spring Ball, Day Two spoke Wednesday with BUCK Joe Mathis after Day Two of Washington Spring Football Wednesday about his move to the linebacker spot from the defensive line, the differences between the two, and whether or not he considers himself part of 'Death Row'.

What food do you have to give up to get to 250 pounds? “Probably the white rice and chicken. Not giving up the chicken but probably the seasoning, the cheese, and the mayonnaise. That stuff. That stuff is probably the stuff I need to give up.”


Do you want to drop weight to be more agile in coverage? “Yeah. I can cover at this weight. Looking at the next level I need to get lighter so I can be a little more flexible and a little more explosive. I feel like at this weight I’m way more explosive than I’ve ever been. I’m just going to try to figure it out, trying to find the weight that best fits me so I can stay fast, quick, and still strong.”


Is it daunting filling the shoes of previous BUCK linebackers at UW? “I look forward to that. I feel like if they weren’t here I would have been in their situation. I’m just ready to go. I’m happy I learned from one of the best, Hau’oli (Kikaha) and Cory Littleton. I’m ready to go. It’s my turn now.”


Was there a moment that you bought into the Petersen system after the change from coach Sark? “Yeah. I mean I think I bought in at the end of my sophomore year; when I started making more plays and stuff I bought in and said ‘keep faith in the team, keep faith in God, and just keep working.’ That’s when I finally got it.”


On how expecting a child has changed his life “It’s changed my life tremendously and made me into a better person. Everybody sees me as a role model now. Before people looked up to me but I really didn’t talk to them. Now I feel like I have a reason to learn how to be a better man, a better son, and a better person. It changed me, man. It makes you thank the Lord for everyday he puts you on this earth and count your blessings.”


Could you have ever imagined making the 3.0 board when he first got here? “No. Like I said my fiancé, she really got on me too and really wanted to change me. And I wanted to change myself and prove everybody wrong because I feel like some people thought I was ignorant or something or thought that I didn’t have the smarts to be here.”


What changed to allow you to get your grades up? “At first, when you’re a freshman you just don’t even care. You ‘re just like let me do whatever to pass. Now I’m really focused on learning the stuff. A lot of my classes are for the real world, whatever I want to do with my business. That’s why I’m really locked in.”


What would you like to improve most this spring? “Consistency. Really consistency and conditioning. My technique is there. It’s just being consistent with it. That’s it.”


On the switch to BUCK “BUCK is in like a different thing because I played JACK last year in the nickel and BUCK is pretty much that. I was in coverage and stuff. It’s not anything different. It’s a lot easier than playing 4i.”


What makes it easier? “I’m like the size of a backer, because last year I was like 238. It was harder playing 4i. Backer is easier because it’s not taking a toll on your body so much. I think that’s just my natural position. I played that in high school. I just moved to d-line when I came here.”


How did the switch come to be? “I was supposed to play linebacker last year, but they needed to find a way to get Travis (Feeney) and Cory (Littleton) and all of us on the field, so I had to go down to 4i. I was originally supposed to play linebacker last year.”


On his role this year “They’re finally going to let me go this year, let me finally be able to stay in the game and make some plays. Last year I had some good plays, but I’m the type of player that if I stay in the game I warm up.”


How can the defense improve on last year? “We’re going to be a lot bigger this year. The outside backers, get Benning (Patoa’e) going at the other backer and have me there. We have Azeem (Victor)’s crazy self there, and Keishawn (Bierria); we have everybody coming back and everybody this spring and this past winter was hungry in the weight room and getting after it. It’s going to be an exciting year because all we think about – everybody thinks of the first game – but we think ahead. We’re going to try to win the PAC-12. That’s all that we’re going to do this year.” Top Stories