Talking with Uche, 3 of 3

In this final installment, lineman Uche Nwaneri talks about the changes in the offensive line and coaches, expectations, and more.

What position do you think you'll play this season?

Center could be a possibility, I know the center position. I played it all through the pre-season, my rookie year, and last year… so it's definitely something I can play. If the coaches want me to be a center, obviously I'm going to be a center; I'm not going to say no. But you know I can play that position, I can play right guard, I can play left guard and you never know. Circumstances in training camp may dictate that more than anything else. Last year, Brad Meester got hurt and that moved me from left to center so we'll see.

What happens if both Mo and Vince come back healthy?

If both Mo and Vince come back, obviously that's huge in helping the strength in our offensive line. Those guys are seasoned vets; they've been through this a number of times so for me, either way, the team is winning by getting those players back. It helps to develop younger guys like me by learning from guys like that and at the same time it creates a healthy competition to bring out the best in each player's abilities and to put the best players out on the field when the season starts.

Who's the leading candidate to play left tackle of Khalif Barnes leaves?

NO CLUE!

Which of your teammates impresses you the most?

Everyone has great work ethic, I mean, this is the NFL. We're all professionals and we have to bring a great work ethic everyday to enable us to be successful. Now with that being said, on Sundays that's the test. That's the day you get to see what you're really made of. For me the person that I saw that is really just fun to watch him and fun to block for him is Maurice Jones-Drew. That guy puts his butt on the line every day. A lot of players are gunning for him because he's a key player on our team so Maurice for me on the offensive side is someone that I see on Sundays and I'm like, ‘ that's a real football player right there.' Everyone goes out there on Sundays and bust their butts and also in practice but there's no person that goes in there and says, ‘well I don't feel like playing today … I don't feel like playing this Sunday.' On the defensive side we have Rashean, Daryl Smith, and Mike Peterson … all those guys over there on that side, Clint Ingram, they're all over there busting their butts … Reggie … everyone goes out there ready to make plays. It's just a matter of being a cohesive unit so those plays can be made.

What do you think about the changes on the coaching staff?

I really don't know enough about the coaching adjustments that have been made. I don't know all of who exactly has been brought in. I know that we brought in a new defensive coordinator, from Cleveland I think. We also have a new strength and conditioning coach, who I've actually met, and he's a really nice dude. But I don't know about all that. That's a coaching thing, they know more about that than I do.

What are your long-term goals?

My goals personally … I want to be a person who this team can rely on to get the job done in my position day in and day out. I want to be able to stay in Jacksonville for as long as possible. I like Jacksonville, I really want to be a Jaguar and for everybody our ultimate goal is to make the Super Bowl and to win a ring. For me that's my ultimate goal here also but at the same time I want to be someone that can be looked at in the community and on the team as a dependable person.

What kind of work have you done in the community?

I went to the Clara White Mission, Big Brothers Big Sisters bowling, I spoke at a high school in Nassau County, and I spoke at an elementary school this season. I've done a number of different activities. I did the Christmas gift run over at the WalMart off of Philips Highway so I've done a number of different things in the community. I really like being around kids, I love being around kids. It's fun to play around with them and I like to see a smile on their faces. It's something that I've always looked forward to- having somebody older than me when I was younger- and I just want to give that back now that I'm in the position to do a little mentoring myself.

It must feel good to know that those kids look up to you.

It definitely has a lot to do with that. You get to go back and help these kids steer them along the right path and to encourage them to reach their full potential in life.




Jags Illustrated Top Stories