The junior from Lakewood, Colo., continues to be one of Nebraska’s most valuable offensive linemen, starting at right tackle this season but also flopping to left tackle when the Huskers do some substituting. Sirles has been a contributor since his redshirt freshman year and will be making his 23rd career start Saturday at Michigan State.
Q: This offense has had at least one 100-yard rusher in seven straight games. Do the linemen take pride in seeing that every week on the final stat sheet?
A: Our backs are fantastic. Ameer (Abdullah) has done a fantastic job, doing everything that he’s needed to do stepping in with the Rex (Burkhead) injury. And Rex has been a huge supporter and teacher when he’s out. I wish we had more rushing yards against Michigan this last week (165) because I think it was probably our season low, but that’s just something that we’re going to keep coming back and keep working on, because we always want to be able to rush the ball.
Q: When games start, do the linemen even think about it that Rex isn’t going to be back there behind you?
A: It doesn’t matter who’s back there. It can be Ameer, Imani (Cross), Braylon (Heard) ... anyone back there. We’re going to block the same way for all of them, because we all know that they’re good backs and they’ll make some things happen.
Q: How are the offensive line starters holding up since you’re all playing so many snaps with only a seven-man rotation?
A: I think you have to look at our offseason program, and then (James) Dobson does a great job keeping our bodies in good shape. It’s week nine now and everyone’s feeling this. It’s not just one team’s tired or one team’s lagging. Football season is demanding on your body, and that’s for everyone. You just got to find ways to push through the fatigue and the tiredness.
Q: How difficult is it for you when you can be on the right side of the line one series and then the left on the next?
A: It’s a challenge mentally and physically, just being able to constantly tell yourself you have to flip things in your mind. But I’m starting to get more and more used to it as the season goes on.
Q: As far as the fact that they trust you to do it ... ?
A: They trust me, and I don’t want to let them down as much as anything else.
Q: How did this team try to minimize making too much of the win Saturday night or into Sunday so as not to lose focus on the week ahead?
A: We just need to stay the course. We found a recipe that works, as far as the way we practice and the way we do everything around here, with holding each other accountable and things like that. These last few weeks we’ve had success, so we just need to stay the course with that and not get too high or not get too low.
Contact the writer:
402-444-1042, firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter.com/RKaipustOWH