A quick Q&A with freshmen OL T.D. Gross, QB Josh Kern and DL Dwight Melvin.
Oct. 19, 2012
By Mike Chaput
What is practice like under Coach Rodriguez?
T.D. Gross: “The tempo is really quick and everything is really upbeat. That’s how we do our conditioning during the season with maximum number of reps and conditioning.”
Josh Kern: “It’s not like high school. It’s intense, it’s fast paced but it’s fun and gets us in shape.”
Dwight Melvin: “Practice is really fun. It’s very up-tempo. Offense is click, click, click. Defense is off the ball, fast paced.”
What is the Arizona gameday atmosphere like?
T.D. Gross: “It’s great. There are a lot of people who come on campus and tailgate for the games. We do the Wildcat Walk before the game, where we walk through all the fans. There’s lots of energy.”
Josh Kern: “It’s nothing like I’ve ever experienced before. It’s so much fun. Coming out through the tunnel and through the fireworks. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.”
Dwight Melvin: “The gameday atmosphere is great. As soon as we get off the bus, we do the Wildcat Walk with fans everywhere. Once we get in the stadium, it’s mind-set tempo. You got to get right, you leave it all out there.”
What is your favorite Arizona tradition?
T.D. Gross: “The popsicles we get in the middle of practice. Those are always good and refreshing.”
Josh Kern: “I like doing the ‘Haka’, it’s really fun.”
Dwight Melvin: “The ‘Haka’. It’s my favorite so far.”
Coach Rodriguez uses the terms “Hard Edge” and “Spot the Ball.” What does that mean?
T.D. Gross: “Hard Edge, you have to go hard every time. Spot the ball, we want to get up to the line quick and start running plays as quick as possible.”
Josh Kern: “It’s everything about Arizona football. It describes us. We come out here and we have to strap up every time and walk out with a hard edge.”
Dwight Melvin: “Hard Edge means never give up, keep pushing, and go hard all the way. If you get down, missing one play, you have to get your head up for the next play. Never let what happened in the past effect you in the future.”
How are you balancing academics and football in your first year at Arizona?
T.D. Gross: “We, as a group of freshmen, have a lot of study hall hours with academic advisors. We have class in the mornings, then study hall before practice and after practice, so our days are full, but we get it done.”
Josh Kern: “It’s been hectic but we have a lot of people to help us out. We got academic advisors, mandatory study hall hours. It’s not as hard as I expected because we have so much support.”
Dwight Melvin: “Being a student-athlete, the term student comes first. Always first, before any athletics. We go to class, two or three classes a day, study hall, and practice. You just have to keep your mind set right. “
What excites you most about the new Lowell-Stevens Football Facility?
T.D. Gross: “All the new facilities. The new weight rooms and locker rooms are going to be a great improvement to our program.”
Josh Kern: “It’s going to improve the program even more. It’s going to bring in even better recruits.”
Dwight Melvin: “The great new locker room, new cafeteria, just the overall new addition to the stadium.”
What makes the University of Arizona campus so unique? What separates UA from other schools?
T.D. Gross: “The overall atmosphere and support from the fans. It’s a great place.”
Josh Kern: “We got great weather here. Walking around in 80 degrees, it’s been nice.”
Dwight Melvin: “The mall, with all the grass is great. The campus has a great atmosphere; you meet new people every day.”