Talking with Uche, 1 of 3

First of a three part interview with Uche Nwaneri, offensive lineman with the Jacksonville Jaguars

How do you pronounce your full name?

The whole thing is pronounced Oohchay-chew-quew Wan-air-e.

That's Nigerian, right?

Both of my parents are from Nigeria. Usually parents give their kids an English name too, but my parents didn't do that so I just shortened my whole name.

What have you been doing this offseason?

My offseason pretty much consists of working out, because you really can't stop working out. You have to be in shape and ready to go when OTAs start up. You take a little time off because 17 straight weeks is not easy thing to get through so you may want to get a little time to yourself. You may want to go visit the family, or take a trip somewhere for a couple of days but you try to stay in a routine so you don't get out of your comfort zone and so you don't get out of shape. A lot of the things that I'm going to do are going to based off a routine that will help me stay in shape by the time OTAs come.

How does Jacksonville compare to your hometown, Dallas?

Jacksonville is a good city. It's a little slower but you know I'm not in a rush. I'm not the type of person to always be on the go. It fits me and it fits my personality. There's a lot of land to cover in Jacksonville but it's not quite as filled up as Dallas is.

Jacksonville's probably much different from Indiana too…

[Laughing]To me it's a step above Indiana! I can't say Indiana is my favorite place to be as far as the environment because when winter come around it's brutal. You're dealing with 6, 7 and 8 inches of snow everyday and it's a pain so Jacksonville is definitely an upgrade coming from Purdue.

Tell us about being recruited out of high school.

I got a recruited by a lot of schools. One of my main motivations, which now looking back at it was kind of childish, was that I wanted to get away from my parents, I wanted to get away from the state. I had a lot of offers from schools within the state like Texas A&M, Texas Tech and TCU. I had a good amount of schools outside of the state. I chose Purdue because it was in the Big 10 and at the time, the Big 10 was like the premiere conference. You know, they had Drew Brees and they were the big ten champs so I figured that was the best possible choice for me at the time.

What are the main differences between college football and pro football?

The pros are fun, you're doing what you love but at the same time it's a job and you wake up early in the morning, get there early in the morning and then stay until the late afternoon going into the evening. It's a lot more complicated. The speech especially. There are a lot of things they say in college that are the simple version of how they would say in the NFL. There are so many more terms you have to understand, so many more concepts you have to understand … I think it's actually a big step mentally for someone coming out of college who's going into the NFL.

How was that transition for you?

It wasn't too steep to me. I felt like there were some difficult things to comprehend at the beginning just because for me, in particular I was playing multiple positions on the offensive line when I got there so I had to understand a lot of different concepts. You know, some things you need to know at guard that you may not need to know at center and then there are things at center that you definitely don't need to know at the guard position. The center position is like the quarterback of the offensive line. It's a complicated thing to deal with. I think for me that was the hardest thing to get a grasp of- playing not only guard but at center too.


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