Reporter Ashley Young met with Oregon Guard/Center Hamani Stevens at the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex at University of Oregon for FishDuck.com
When you see Hamani Stevens, what pops into your head? His stability on the offensive line? His 6′ 3″, 307 lbs size? Well for me, the answer is simple: his hair. Stevens has demonstrated throughout his five seasons with the Ducks his ability to be an active presence on the line of scrimmage with his tackling, his leadership and of course the signature hairdo. You can’t miss him and he will definitely not miss you. I got the chance to learn more about Stevens and what the last five seasons with the Ducks have meant to him.
But first things first, I had to ask how he plays with his hair. “Wake up, put it in a ponytail, and let it go,” Stevens says of his morning routine before practice. “After practice I’ll put a brush through it, but in the morning you just got to get to practice.”
As a fifth year, redshirt senior, Stevens has been in numerous games and played against a lot of teams. But every year, every team brings a new experience.
Stevens says of this group of graduates, “There is a certain feel to us. We’ve been through Chip as our head coach; he taught us a lot, and then Helf [Helfrich] coming in. We’ve been through two head coaches and it’s been a great experience having both of those guys.”
It has been another unforgettable season at Autzen stadium. Filled with excitement, heartbreak and breakthrough players, these Ducks sure know how to keep us on the edge of our seats. In what might have been the greatest game in the 2014 season, Stevens recaps his favorite game against the Michigan State Spartans. “Beating Michigan State at home was awesome. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it [Autzen] rocking like that before. That game was just crazy, full of energy. It was really good to get that win at home.”
Stevens also mentioned the 2013 Civil War against the Oregon State Beavers. “And probably beating Oregon State last year, just driving down that last minute. I know it was like a fantastic game but just being able to pull it off, everyone sticking together and winning that game was awesome.”
Can you imagine playing in front of 55,000+ fans screaming for your team? Or what it’s like for opponents to come into Autzen knowing that the feeling at Autzen cannot be matched? Running out of the tunnel and seeing the wonder of Autzen in front of you, knowing that the whole crowd (minus like 1/32 of it for visitors) is rooting for you? Wow. Stevens has run out onto Rich Brooks field many times and says that each is unique. “It’s hard to describe that sort of feeling. Running out of the tunnel with the Harley and the Duck, it’s kind of a one-of-a-kind experience. It’s hard to explain in words, but if I had to it would be just too much energy, too much excitement; it’s just an awesome and awestruck feeling.”
However, the season is far from over. The Ducks will travel to Corvallis next weekend for the “not so civil” war against the Beavers. Then they will travel south for the Pac-12 Championship game against UCLA, Arizona, or Arizona State depending on the results of this upcoming weekend. Plenty of football left to play as the Ducks continue to Win The Day. With the return of Andre Yruretagoyena and Jake Fisher and the stability from Stevens, this offensive line is looking pretty strong heading into the final stretch of the 2014 season.
Top Photo by: Craig Strobeck