I, Kia: Week 4

Micah Kia is out for the season with a torn right ACL.
But his mind still works and is mouth is still firing.
Hopefully, we can run this I, Kia feature every Tuesday, if things work out.
Here’s what he has to say before Week 4:

I’m excited that the guys are excited. To see how they have kind of a twinkle in their eyes. It’s to be expected. They’re ready to get into conference play, very exciting conference play, with the way things have turned out the last couple weeks.

It’s encouraging to see the Pac-10 conference as a whole; there is no week off so to speak. We can’t go into a single game thinking we can slide by guys. There are no lower standards. But, there is no type of fear. No team “fears” another team. It’s always cutthroat. We, as a whole, have a good understanding of that, and it helps to block out the hype.

Some teams when they go into a bye with a good record, they get a little relaxed. They feel like , ‘We’re doing well, let’s just take this time off, chill out a little bit, and we’ll start working next week.’ I think we did a good job of working hard last week. Had a couple days to get our legs back, Sunday was a great mental practice. I think they’re ready to bang some heads today.

But it can be difficult not to buy into this. Coach Neuheisel has stressed the last few days not to get distracted. It doesn’t matter what anybody says. What the papers say, what the stats say. What matters is who shows up on game day. The coaching staff has done a great job of stressing to the boys, don’t pay attention to anyone but us.

Still, that last drive last year was monumental. It’s those moments that fuel you for the next game. It’s that feeling that enables you to go through those tough workouts and the early mornings and the long days at school. It’s what every player lives for.

This year, it’s awesome that we’ve been able to have the same starting line. Knock on wood, we’ve been able to stay away from major injuries. It’s the biggest single position on the football team. Five players truly play as one, and there needs to be that understanding. An unspoken knowledge of what the guy next to you is going to do. That trust and that relationship is built during practice. But the overlying trust and dependability will then come during games. Being able to play next to the guy over and over again, you know how he plays it, and you play off it. Being able to have the same unit in there and grow together is outstanding.

We need to stay focused. Stay away from distractions. Don’t try to do anything extra. Play the game like how you practice it every day of the week. Stay away from the hype. Just do what we’re taught. It’ll be an interesting game. I’m excited to watch it.

Injury Report

With two-a-days over, here’s a brief rundown on how many of the injured stand. Some on crutches.

Micah Kia, torn ACL, out for season
Nick Ekbatani, sprained knee ligament, 4-6 weeks
Keenan Graham, broken jaw (suffered in scrimmage), no timetable
Christian Ramirez, high ankle sprain (scrimmage), no timetable
Morrell Presley, sore quad, should return soon
Kai Forbath, sore leg, back tomorrow

Some good, some bad.

Neuheisel after practice

Quote of the Day, on Micah Kia’s injury:
“Tough times don’t last, but tough people do. I expect him to be helpful with Bob in terms of helping young players as sort of a student-coach. Both Kyle Bosworth and Logan Paulsen had similar circumstances a year ago, and here they are excited about this. It seems like a million miles away, but is actually right around the corner.”

On what he hopes to see on Saturday:
“The same thing every coach in the country hopes for – great adherence to the fundamentals you’ve been teaching and then no injuries. Maybe not in that order.”

On the commitment to the running game this season:
“I’ve noticed the attitude in it – there’s no question the attitude’s been there – but consistency still needs to be progressed. We’re not there yet. But coaches and players alike are committed to the idea that we’re going to do that. We just have got to continue pounding the meat, as Rocky would say.”

Micah Kia on the injury

Micah Kia on his initial thoughts from the knee injury:

“I didn’t know what happened. I’ve never had knee problems in the past. The initial shock wasn’t extremely painful with the adrenaline running. But what happened happened.”

On the frustration of the injury, and on the bright side:
“It’s just frustrating – as a unit we’ve been working really hard. I was looking forward to playing this year. No tears, but it has sunk in. The fact I still have my redshirt and can still come back gives me confidence.”