While the rest of y'all were wondering whether Andrus Peat was going to pick Nebraska, I was busy talking to some guy from Cozad, Nebraska who's set to become a first round NFL draft pick in April.
Jared Crick is working out with the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI) during Super Bowl week to learn more about fueling and nutrition and how it affects athletic performance. If you'll remember, a couple years ago, a certain defensive lineman from Nebraska went through the same thing that Crick is going through now.
Given that that my interview was conducted with Crick on National Signing Day, it should be noted that Crick wasn't highly ranked coming out of high school, yet, here he is, preparing to play on Sundays.
Hello, Mr Crick, Jon Johnston from CornNation.com. Have you ever heard of us?
Yeah, I've heard of you, yeah.
Woohoo! I'm already ahead! Probably a cheesy thing to ask, and a cheesy thing to keep in this article, but I do like to know if we're getting around and it's nice to know we are.
I think the thing most Husker fans want to know right now is - how is the rehab coming along - has the injury completely healed?
I'm getting a lot better, been working hard. I've made some bounds from where I was even two weeks ago, but I'm not 100% yet.
In a few weeks you'll be going into the NFL combine and they'll have you do the 225 lb. bench press testing. Will you be ready for that or what will happen if you're not?
If I'm not 100%, I can skip the bench press and wait until Pro Day. I may just wait for Pro Day. Otherwise, I've just been working to get better, been benching and working on range of motion. It's just going to take time to get better, get back to where I was.
So what are you learning from the Gatorade Sports Science Institute?
I've learned there's a lot more to it than just drinking Gatorade. I've learned you've got to get your fuel in before the competition starts, and then recover quickly afterwards. I've learned it's important what's going into your body when competing rather than just what you're wearing.
There are a lot of myths out there that people apply, and I'm learning a lot more about the importance of fueling before competitions.
Here I should have asked something about what myths he's talking about, but I'm a lousy interviewer.
You've learned this because they're doing testing and showing the results? I mean, they test you with and without the fueling, and then show you the difference?
Yeah, they're doing testing and combining on all the results and showing them to me. There are a lot of things I did not do before that hindered me in training. It's awesome that I can do the testing here and learn more about training and nutrition.
You're going to go from Cozad, Nebraska to being a potential first-round NFL draft pick. Is this process making you nervous; there has to be a lot of pressure going into it. How are you handling it?
I'm not worried about it. Obviously I want to test well, but come draft day I'm going to fall where I'm going to fall. Nobody knows where I'm going, people can guess, but in the end nobody knows. I'm going trying to give my maximum effort every single day and then see what happens on draft day. That's where the next journey begins.
It strikes me that this process has to be a little overwhelming at times. I remember reading "Draft Season - Four Months on the Clock" and talking to author Bobby Deren and thinking that there is so much these guys need to do to get ready for the NFL combine and their Pro Day testing that there's no way they can be sloughing off and be successful.
All that work comes down to being measured in a few tests, being poked and prodded, and treated like cattle. The mental aspect of it, well, it'd be really beneficial if you had someone to talk you through it.
Have you had any mentors going into the process on the way to the draft, say, former Huskers like Ndamukong Suh? And how have they helped?
I've talked to Suh a lot. I picked Suh's brain quite a bit, even before I picked an agent, and I've talked to him during the season, and before I got my team together.
Right now I'm just concentrating on doing whatever I can to get stronger, and being here at Gatorade has helped me get stronger. So far it's been a fun process, and along with the things that Suh has taught me, I just want to obtain as much knowledge before I head into the draft.
You know I have to ask a question about the 2011 defense. Husker fans were disappointed in the 2011 defense and as we move into 2012- what's your take on how it turned out and what can Husker fans look forward to next season?
We were very young in spots. The secondary was very young. What we do (on defense) is predicated on everyone working together. If one area slacks off, it hurts everyone.
We were coached well, we just didn't execute on the field. That's something that's been plaguing us for the past couple of years. Things are coming around, but we didn't have the year we wanted to. Execution is one of those things that is correctable. It'll get better; I expect it to get better. We have one of the best defensive minds in the nation coaching us.
You didn't get to play any Big Ten games this season, right? Your injury took you out before conference play. I was going to ask if you were disappointed in missing Big Ten play.
I played at Wisconsin at a little bit during Ohio State.
I'm an idiot for not knowing this before I asked the question so I ask another equally stupid question. Crick's injury occurred during the Ohio State game, but he had missed some playing time before that due to something that happened during the Washington game.
Were you disappointed how your senior year turned out? Wait... that's the dumbest question ever. Of course you'd be disappointed as to how your senior season turned out, you missed most of it. Let's do something else.
Are there any NFL teams you'd like to play for more than others? I'm guessing you'd just say - whoever takes me, right?
Well, I can't control that, so I'm just blessed that I have this opportunity. Wherever I get chosen, I want to win there. I want to have the opportunity to help that team win.
Can you at least narrow it down to any areas in the country you'd like to play?
Not really. Some want to go someplace warm, some want to go someplace cold, I've played in both, and I really have no preference.
Anything you want to tell Husker fans?
Get on Facebook and check us out at the Gatorade Facility. Click on G360, and check not only me out but the other guys here at the Institute.
GSSI conducts a battery of tests on the athletes, including the V02Max test shown here in the youtube video, which is testing aerobic capacity. At the Facebook site, you'll see Michael Floyd from Notre Dame doing the Wingate test, which measures anaerobic capacity, power, and fatigue while trainers continually nag at him to push harder.
The GSSI conducts tests on motor skills, hand-grip strength, and cognitive functions such as hand-eye coordination and reaction time, along with some questionnaires to educate athletes on what they know and need to know about sports nutrition.
Well, from a guy from Curtis to a guy from Cozad, I want to wish you the best of luck in whatever happens. Good luck in the draft, and the next steps in your journey.
Thanks, I appreciate that. Take care.