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 Wednesday's episode, Adam Carriker interviews Lincoln Southwest linebacker Nick Leader about walking on at Nebraska, and his dad's influence on his decision, plus more.
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Here's a transcript of today's show:
Adam Carriker: Welcome to the Carriker Chronicles, where I’m checking the pulse of Husker Nation, brought to you by Nebraska Spine Hospital. Today I am joined by Lincoln Southwest outside linebacker/defensive end Nick Leader. He will be walking on and joining the Huskers this upcoming season.
How are you doing today, Nick?
Nick Leader: I’m doing good, how bout you?
Adam Carriker: I’m good, man, and I want to thank you for joining me. Now, your dad, David, was a walk-on for the Huskers and lettered in 1991 and 1992. What advice did he give you when it came to choosing a school?
Nick Leader: He pretty much just said, do what your heart wants to do and don’t have any regrets about it.
Adam Carriker: What was his advice when it came to walking on versus potentially accepting some scholarships elsewhere? I know you had offers from Missouri Western, Sioux Falls, and some others as well. What was his advice when it came to that decision right there?
Nick Leader: He basically just said, whether you have a scholarship or not, do what you want to do. Your mother and I love you and we will support you no matter what, so do what you want to do for the next four to five years.
Adam Carriker: That’s pretty cool. So we have about 20 walk-ons committed to Nebraska right now. It’s the largest class we’ve had in quite a while. Why do you think this class is bigger than any of the ones we’ve had in recent years?
Nick Leader: There’s been a lot of walk-ons to come through there. They’re really important to the program. They show up day in and day out and work hard just like the scholarship guys do. This staff understands that and knows how important it is, so I guess they’ve just been amping up the numbers.
Adam Carriker: Now, the coaches want you to play outside linebacker. Do you have a preference which position you play, whether it’s DE or OLB?
Nick Leader: No, I really don’t have a preference. I’ll play wherever they want me to and I’ll do it to the best of my ability.
Adam Carriker: I’ll tell you right now, the one you want to play is OLB in a 3-4 scheme. It’s a lot more fun then DE, too. So, you’re doing good there. So Scott Frost, whenever people visit, he likes to gather everyone together and give them a group talk about what’s going on, what he has planned, and why you should come to Nebraska. What was your biggest takeaway when he talked to you and your group when you were there on your visit?
Nick Leader: I would say the thing that stuck with me the most is, “You’re gonna come onto this team and you’re gonna be treated like everybody else. We’re gonna push you, the workouts are tough, and everybody is gonna get an opportunity.”
Adam Carriker: Now what’s your best attribute as a player? If you had to evaluate yourself as a coach, what’s your best attribute and what is something you need to work on the most?
Nick Leader: My best attribute, I can say would be as a pass rusher. That’s something I really enjoy and I seem to be all right at, I guess you’d say. Something I need to work on is making sure I’m going hard every single play… no plays off, I guess.
Adam Carriker: Everybody coming in knows you’re gonna spend a lot of time with the strength and conditioning staff and head strength coach, Zach Duval. What is your impression of them so far?
Nick Leader: From the short time I got to visit with them, I’m already encouraged. They seem like a great group of guys who are going to work you hard and mold you into the kind of player they want you to be.
Adam Carriker: I like to lift in general, but there have always been some lifts I look forward to more than others. What are some of your favorite lifts to do in the weight room and what is one lift you don’t like as much?
Nick Leader: Ever since freshman year, I’ve always been a big squat guy. It came natural to me. Also I love hang cleans. I enjoy those a lot. As far as a lift I don’t like as much, bench press sucks sometimes, so I would have to say that one.
Adam Carriker: That’s all right, the two most important lifts are squat and hang clean, so that’s gonna work out well for ya. So, you’ve been to a bunch of Nebraska games throughout your life. Is there a game, play, or moment that sticks out to you in your time going to games while you were growing up?
Nick Leader: I’d say one of them that stuck with me the most was pretty recent, actually. My high school’s game against Grand Island was pretty awesome. Just the atmosphere and everything down there was amazing and I’ll never forget it.
Adam Carriker: What would potentially earning a Blackshirt one day mean to you?
Nick Leader: That would mean the world to me. Just knowing the legacy of my dad playing there, continuing that trend would be huge.
Adam Carriker: Now, let’s say you earn your Blackshirt one day, and you make a big sack, when you get up are you gonna throw the bones? Are you gonna help that tradition come back like it should be?
Nick Leader: Oh yeah, of course, I’ll keep it going.
Adam Carriker: All right, I like it. Now what’s the first thing you’re looking forward to doing once you get on campus in Lincoln?
Nick Leader: Getting into the weight room and the training table and starting to get bigger and stronger.
Adam Carriker: Cool. I always ask this, and I make sure to ask people before the show because sometimes it takes a while to think of an answer. Do you have any behind the scenes stories, something maybe people don’t know that you’d want to share with everyone out there?
Nick Leader: Something football related, the Seattle Seahawks have been my favorite team ever since I was a little kid. I’m a die-hard fan, my room is plastered with Seahawks stuff everywhere.
Adam Carriker: Why the Seahawks? You’re living in Lincoln, Nebraska, you’re half way across the country, why the Seahawks?
Nick Leader: I really don’t know. When I was a little kid, I played Madden a lot, and I would always play with the Seahawks. Matt Hasselbeck and those guys. Ever since then, it’s always stuck with me.
Adam Carriker: So I grew up four hours from Seattle. If you look at a map, it’s Tri Cities, Washington. So I always rooted for the Seahawks growing up, and people aren’t even gonna know this reference, but they played in the Tacoma Dome. They were never good, they won one playoff game, then lost to Dan Marino and the Dolphins pretty badly. Then, all of a sudden I move away and they get good. So that didn’t work out very well for me.
All right, one last question I have for ya. Do you have a message — because the walk-on program is important. You guys are difference makers, you’re gonna make an impact through hard work and dedication. Do you have a message for everyone who is going to be joining you in your class, as you guys enter Lincoln this year?
Nick Leader: All I can say is, let’s get to business, grind it out, and see what the future holds.
Adam Carriker: I like it. All right, Husker Nation, thank you for joining me and until next time, Go Big Red and always remember…
Nick Leader: 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.