July 5, 2009

Owl Freshmen: One Big Family

Owl Sports Watch talked with the unofficial spokesperson for the 2009 Owl signing class Saturday night, Nic Hammett. The strapping Linebacker from Rockdale gave us an insight into how he and his fellow freshmen have adapted to their new lives as student athletes at Rice. Nic called us from Tanner Leland's house, where he spent the July 4th holiday.

We asked Nic about his personal adjustment, and if being diabetic has complicated the process.

"No I'm doing the same as anybody else - getting used to the running, lifting hard, and trying to get used to doing things the way they want us too. I'm so used to monitoring my blood sugar that it's no big deal anymore. I'd say most of us are going through similar struggles. The biggest challenge for all us is probably going from being the best athlete at our school to being with a team where everyone is a great athlete."

OSW: Okay, then what has been the biggest adjustment for you?

"Probably doing things with the right form. I really thought I had good form until I got here. I was more strict with my technique at my high school than anyone else but I didn't realize I was doing things wrong until I got here. We've all had to relearn some things. But we're all starting to see results after only 3 weeks of lifting correctly."

OSW: What message or tone have the upperclassmen established?

"From the beginning they just told us there's a certain way to do things. The little things in football are important, you have to get in the habit of doing things right - from the biggest to the smallest of details. They also made sure to stress how important it is to care - about each other, about our education, and about winning."

OSW: Who are the older guys on the team that set an example?

"Well they all set an example, but (Andrew) Sendejo is a guy that everyone looks to. So is Scott Solomon. Terrance Garmon has really helped the Linebackers."

OSW: Have you and the other freshman been overwhelmed at all?

"No. So far we've really stuck together and made sure everyone is doing well. We look out for each other. Everyone gets along; we're like one big family."

OSW: What has been your favorite thing about Rice so far?

"I'd say the way the older guys have taken us in. They've been hard on a few guys but they've really made us feel part of the team. The other thing is the way the entire freshman class has come together."

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