Four for Four with Nick Ekbatani

On where he fits in with this offensive line:
“I’ll fit in wherever they need me; I’ve played every position since I’ve been here, and whoever’s lagging I can fit in for. It will create some good competition, get guys going.”

On the difference between last year’s offensive line and now:
“Guys are stronger this year, and while there are a lot of new faces and a lot rookie mistakes happening, they will only decrease as experience increases. But I think as a whole offense things have improved, and I think that’s why we’re better.”

On what went wrong since last season:
“Definitely you’re only as strong as your weakest link, and a lot of things last year forced guys to play. Baca did a great job for being a true freshman, but he wasn’t expected to play when he got in there and as 18 year old kid, he struggled at first. As soon as someone got hurt, they had to put in a guy who has never played before – Mike Harris, Sonny Tevaga. That experience helped them out though.”

On lacking experience on the O-line:
“It helped us grow up fast – traditionally, since I’ve been here, coach has been stuck with five guys, and they played them, played them played them. Then once those guys left, it was like we were left with a bunch of experience. I don’t think that will happen now.”

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Three for Three with Jeff Baca

On getting Nick Ekbatani back:
“To get him back means more competition, more rotating, and it is killer. He’s a senior, a returting starter, the only guy who started 12 games last year, and he’s a special player.”

On being forced into action last year:
“The experience I got last year was awesome – they didn’t want to use me; last year the plan was for me to redshirt when I first came in. But its football and I ended up getting thrown in there. That experience is huge. I know so much about the game because of those eight games last year. I see stuff and I know stuff just from experience.”

On having a seven- or eight-man offensive line:
“I’ve never been around an offensive line like this. Last year, we did not have an eight-guy line. We just didn’t have the depth. This year, it’s different to me. Coming out of high school, you have your starting five, and that’s just your starting five. Where he’s from, the NFL, you have an eight-man line and they rotate. I’m a big fan of that.”

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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.

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