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 talks to Husker running back Wyatt Mazour about his takeaways from his Nebraska football career, what it meant to earn a scholarship as a walk-on and more.
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Here's a transcript of today's show:
Adam Carriker: Welcome to the Carriker Chronicles, The People’s Show, where we’re checking the pulse of Husker Nation. Brought to you by Nebraska Spine Hospital. Today I am joined by former Husker Running Back, Wyatt Mazour. How are you doing today?
Wyatt Mazour: I’m good Adam, thanks for having me.
Adam Carriker: Hey, thanks for joining me! Is that weird to hear, “Former Husker running back,” literally a week ago, you were playing for the Huskers, now you’re a former Husker, is that weird for ya?
Wyatt Mazour: Oh yeah, for sure, I don’t think it’s hit me yet. I think pretty soon it’s gonna fully hit me. So far, it’s a totally different lifestyle and I’m entering a different chapter in my life. It’s a weird transition, and it’s gonna take some time to get used to.
Adam Carriker: Talk to me about the ups and downs of your senior season. Probably a few more downs than people would have liked. What do you think were some of the reasons for those frustrations this past season?
Wyatt Mazour: I would just say, there is really one hurdle that we need to overcome, and that’s just finishing. All the games besides Minnesota and Ohio State were one score games. That’s been a common theme for us the past couple years. Losing all the close games. As far as everything else goes, we were really inconsistent with the offense and defense. It seemed like when one was clicking, the other wasn’t. That’s something that the coaches bringing in more talent and getting to know the system a little better, is going to improve. But the biggest frustration is not being able to finish. I think Coach Duval and the rest of the coaches are going to put a focus on that this offseason, because it’s bit us in the butt a lot. It’s something that’s really frustrating as a player and a fan watching. We have to be able to overcome those (moments) and come out with a W.
Adam Carriker: What are some of the things after some of those close losses that the coaches would talk about when preparing for a game the upcoming Saturday as the season progressed?
Wyatt Mazour: They just kept preaching the little things. That’s what it comes down to. A lot of those games came down to one or two plays that were the deciding factor. But even if you take those out, the small details in every play- when it comes to the inside zone for instance, everyone can do their job but one person and that can affect the play a lot. It can mean the difference between a three yard gain and a 50 yard touchdown. It was really just the little things that they kept preaching that we needed to fix. That’s what we focused on during the bye weeks, was getting back to the basics and making sure we do the little things right. As far as going into next season, that’s something that is going to help us take the next step and come out ahead in those games decided by one or two plays.
During the games, you don’t think about that on some of those plays. Even the ones where we had good gains, if we had better perimeter blocking, we could have sprung for a touchdown. So that’s something that the coaches and players are taking to heart. The perimeter blocking was getting better each game and it was opening up some holes later in the season.
Adam Carriker: Talk to me about the guys coming back for winter conditioning. What does a typical winter conditioning workout look like under Zach Duval?
Wyatt Mazour: Hah! It’s tough, I can tell you that. I think I heard that they’re starting next week. We did that last year too. Right before break, we got a couple lifts and conditionings in, so when we came back, we knew what to expect. Winter conditioning, they put a focus on circuit in the weight room. It’s really taxing, and in my experience, one of the best ways to improve your conditioning. You’re definitely tapping into the sympathetic nervous system and forcing the body to really meet its thresholds. It forces you to put everything you can into it. The coaches ramp it up a little bit too. They’ll be doing a lot of circuit for a month or two, and focusing on speed and agility work. I like that about this staff. The conditioning isn’t the usual, 100 yard sprints, or gassers. They implement a lot of conditioning that you would do on field. Football is a really fast and aggressive sport, and the coaches put that into our conditioning. From my experience with other staffs, it’s way better because you’re able to use your offseason conditioning on the field during the season.
Adam Carriker: Let’s talk a little bit about your story. Coming out of high school, you had opportunities to go elsewhere. You chose to walk on at the University of Nebraska. Talk about that process, the decision, and what it meant to you to come play football at the University of Nebraska.
Wyatt Mazour: I had a couple D1 schools like Wyoming and Iowa State looking at me, as well as a bunch of Ivy League schools. Of course, a bunch of NAIA schools with some pretty good scholarships if I chose to go that route. Ultimately, it came down to being a Nebraska kid and watching the games on Saturday, and dreaming of even having the opportunity to be affiliated with the program… I have two older brothers, and my family all bleeds Husker Red. The History and the love for the game, it really was an easy decision once it came down to it. But it was tough, I sacrificed financially to be here. Fortunately, last season I was awarded a scholarship. Looking back on it, I made the right choice. I’m super blessed to be a part of this program and to be an alumni. If someday, my sons have the same opportunity, I’ll tell them the same thing, follow your dreams.
Adam Carriker: That was going to be my next question. You see the videos, and I remember some of my teammates who originally walked on get scholarships. What was it like when you found out that you had earned that scholarship?
Wyatt Mazour: It’s really tough to put into words. When it happened, it was kind of like up until that point, I felt like I wasn’t getting- not rewarded- it felt like this staff was the first staff that gave me a chance and saw the potential I had. So for them to show that by giving me a scholarship with all the hard work I put in… there were days I was doubting the process. You know as a former football player, it is tireless effort you have to put in and the grind is insane. No one really knows until they’ve gone through it. Going through all the stress and all the work that goes into being a student athlete, to have that type of appreciation meant a lot to me. It definitely brought a tear to my eye, just knowing that I was appreciated and given a chance. It was a dream come true really. I’ll forever be indebted to Coach Frost and his staff for all they’ve done for me.
Adam Carriker: It’s funny you mention that, getting opportunities or not depending on who was here. I felt like for the past three or four years, every Spring Game was a Wyatt Mazour show. That’s how I always kind of felt. You were awarded the scholarship, and you got the opportunity to play during the Iowa game. You scored the game tying touchdown. Obviously the game didn’t end quite how we would’ve liked, but talk about that moment. It’s a rivalry game, you guys are fighting for a bowl game at home, and you score the game-tying touchdown. Talk about that moment.
Wyatt Mazour: Yeah, so you can kind of spin an adversity line if you go through my career. Concussions my freshman year, then missed half the year with a pulled quad. This year I was playing with a Lisfranc sprain in my left foot. Those are pretty bad injuries, so I wasn’t even supposed to come back. That happened during the Indiana game, so I played four or five games with it. It was just numbing it up before the game. I felt like, when that happened, I kind of get dealt bad cards a lot. Even still, I try to make the most of my opportunities. During the Iowa game, all I was looking for was an opportunity to show my ability. I hadn’t scored a touchdown in Memorial Stadium yet. I scored in the Big House, but not in Memorial yet. I was really looking to score a touchdown there for the first time in my career. For it to be against Iowa in a big game, there was a lot of emotion involved. I think I screamed for like two or three minutes after it.
I feel like that just shows my passion for everything. I poured my heart into this program. It’s definitely hurting that I can’t play another game in that jersey, but for that to happen on Senior Day, with my family and my fiancé’s family to be there to see that is really special to me and something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
Adam Carriker: One last quick question for ya then I’ll let you go, what’s next for you in life? Will you train for the NFL? What’s next for Wyatt Mazour?
Wyatt Mazour: After football, I want to go to PT school and be a physical therapist, specializing in sports therapy. I haven’t decided about anything else yet, I’m trying to just take this week off, but I know after football I want to go to PT school. Hopefully somewhere in-state, but I’ve applied to a few different places.
Adam Carriker: Very cool, well if you decide to pursue the NFL, good luck there, if it’s PT school, good luck there, my friend. I want to thank you for joining me.
Wyatt Mazour: No problem, thanks for having me.
Adam Carriker: Alright Husker Nation, until next time, Go Big Red, and even though he’s an offensive guy, always remember…
Wyatt Mazour: 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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