All year round, former Husker and NFL veteran Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In the "Carriker Chronicles" video series, he breaks down the latest NU news, upcoming opponents, player updates and recruiting information, and he offers his insight into the X's and O's and more.
On Friday's episode, Adam Carriker shares a story of his experience going through grueling spring practices and how it eventually shaped his playing career.
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Here's a transcript of today's show:
Welcome to the Carriker Chronicles, the people's show, where we take the pulse of Husker Nation, brought to you by Nebraska Spine Hospital.
I know, I know I'm supposed to be skiing down a mountain right now. I've advertised this show as me skiing down a mountain. That is going out Monday, I just recorded it ladies and gentlemen. People seem to really be enjoying it. So tune in on Monday. I'm sorry, I'm sorry. It's a little bit delayed, but it'll be worth it. Trust me. It's probably one of my favorite shows I've done in quite a while. So tune in Monday to see me skiing down a mountain while I talk about my favorite Husker football game of all time that I've ever watched. Through trees, double blacks, under a lift, someone tries to run into me, all that good stuff.
Today's show: I want to talk about spring ball and what it meant to me as a player. Now I'll be honest with you. I hated it, especially when I was young, but it also may very well be the turning point of my entire career from college to the NFL and everything else. Now as a young guy, I viewed it as this random month of practice in the middle of spring for no apparent reason. Now, there's obvious reason why it's there, I understood it. But as a young guy, I hadn't yet found my way to be frankly honest. Obviously the weather is much different than it is right now outside, and I had friends who were boating, you know, and there's a particular memory that I have.
We're going to practice, I'm taking on double teams, we're warming up. We're getting ready for this practice, we're in warm-up lines and I'm just pouting and whining like a little baby. Our new newly hired strength coach Dave Kennedy comes up and goes, "what's wrong with you?" He knew exactly what was wrong. He goes, "what's wrong with you?" I'd say nothing. He says, "you know football is hard, right? I still didn't say nothing. He goes, "you know, this ain't for everybody, right?" I didn't say a word. He just walked away. I've never forgotten that.
Now as spring went along, what I discovered is that I could play. I wasn't highly thought of, I've talked before about how I had a big chip on my shoulder, but I didn't know. I was just kind of lost, I was just kind of angry at times. I was going against Richie Incognito every single day in practice, ones versus twos, that's what it was back in the day. He was a left tackle, I was the right end. He was first team all-conference, preseason All-American, and not the most pleasant individual in the world. As time went along I was winning more battles than I was losing, and the more time went along I discovered I was definitely winning more battles than I was losing against one of the best players and toughest guys and not so wonderful human beings on the football field. We got along off the field just fine, but for obvious reasons we didn't always get along on the field. Competitive — offensive line, defensive line — I was holding my own and then some.
Then we had a guy on our team at the time who came into my recruiting class, if you remember him: J.B. Phillips. We called him Big Smooth, he was over 400 pounds. There was a scrimmage that we had towards the end of spring ball where I knocked him on his back. This is a 400-pound guy who can move, an athletic individual. I was more than holding my own against one of the best ones players in America and Richie Incognito, a future multi-time Pro Bowler. I knocked the 400-pound guy on his back who was the biggest guy in our team, and that may have been the turning point in my career when I realized: this ain't for everybody, but it's for me, and it took going through that to figure it out.
Spring ball is where a lot of these guys are going to find themselves. They're going to get better, they're going to get those reps that they may not get during the season, they may just be on scout team but now they're getting an opportunity. Ones versus twos, twos versus threes, ones versus ones, twos versus twos, threes versus threes, fours versus fours. With Scott Frost, these guys are going to get opportunities that you may not get any other time of the year, and a lot of these guys are going to get the opportunity to find themselves.
For me: spring ball went from being this random month of practice in the middle of spring for no apparent reason, to every year looking forward to it. That's when you get better. Winter conditioning, spring ball, summer conditioning. That's when you get better. That's when you win or lose games, not during the season. It's about preparing. I always say to my kids, "get ready to get ready." They go, 'what does that mean?" We got to get ready to get ready. That's what winter conditioning, spring ball and summer conditioning is all about. It's getting ready to get ready. Until next time Husker Nation, go Big Red and always remember to check out my show on Monday when I'm skiing down a freaking mountain talking about Husker football. I sing at the end too, it's pretty cool. Go Big Red and always remember to throw the bones!
Thanks again to the Nebraska Spine Hospital. Ladies and gentlemen, when it’s your spine, you do not want to mess around. Experience matters. That’s why you can trust the experts at Nebraska Spine Hospital, the region's only spine specific hospital. They are the best at what they do.
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