Football is a tough sport; there’s no getting around it. Physically it’s taxing, mentally it’s brutal and emotionally it can be a roller coaster. It’s common for players to look for some sense of release from the stress of the average day. When I talked to Erick Dargan at the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex today in an interview for FishDuck.com, the senior safety told me he and the rest of the DBs have competitions to relieve some of the stress.
I asked Dargan about Oregon’s remarkable turnover margin thus far this season (fourth best in the nation) and the typically quiet and humble safety lit up. He smiled and said, ”It’s natural when it comes to the DBs … Our secondary, we have competitions. Who has the most tackles, who has the most pass breakups, or most interceptions. Friendly competitions that push us to get better.” I followed up by asking what goes through his head when he’s about to make an interception. He said, ”Sometimes those easy one’s I’ll be like don’t drop it, but most come naturally.” Finally I asked him if he normally beats the rest of the DBs, to which he laughed and then responded, ”Yeah. I win a lot. Troy and Ifo also win.”
Troy Hill, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, and Dargan make up one of the most formidable secondaries in the entire Pac-12. When I asked Dargan if playing with guys such as Hill and Ekpre-Olomu helped develop him as a player he said, ”Definitely. First off, those two individuals make you better just by being the field with them. Ifo is a smart individual and a good athlete, and so is Troy.” Against the new all-time Pac-12 leader in yardage, Oregon State QB Sean Mannion, those three are going to have to be on their A-game in Corvallis.
I concluded by asking Dargan about how hard it is to go in there and play OSU in the Civil War Game. He said, ”It’s a tough environment. I wouldn’t say they hate us, but they definitely don’t like us.” Well, don’t worry, Erick — we don’t like them either.
Top Photo by Kevin Cline