Rodney Hardrick Interview

Daniel Kantor FishWrap, FishWrap Archive

Hardrick wraps up Michigan State player.

Kevin Cline

Hardrick wraps up Michigan State player.

With the departure of linebacker Tony Washington, Oregon’s linebacking corps needs a new leader. Redshirt senior Rodney Hardrick has the ability to become that leader. I met up with Hardrick to discuss what the future of Oregon’s linebackers looks like.

Daniel: It is a very young linebacking crew with [Tony] Washington gone. What are the young guys doing in order to get ready?

Hardrick: Just basic stuff and fundamentals.

Daniel: How does it feel to not have him around anymore?

Hardrick: I miss him; I hang out with him a lot off the field, on the weekends, barbecuing and stuff. Christian French, Tyson Coleman, those guys have stepped up a lot. He (Washington) was one of our quiet leaders; he led in a different way. Now we have new guys taking up that role. I miss him as a person, but I hope the best for him.

Daniel: How is spring practice going?

Hardrick: It is going really well. I watched all the film, identified all the areas I need to improve in, and I made that a goal. I have made progress this spring, as well as the other linebackers. We have all gotten a better knowledge of how to control the defense.

Daniel: What have you been focusing on individually?

Hardrick: The areas I want to improve on from last season are my footwork, which will improve my missed tackling. I am starting to let my feet do all the work, and let the rest fall into place. I am working on pass rushing when I get the opportunity to blitz off the edge. I have all the tools in my book to succeed.

Hardrick controls the defense in the Wyoming matchup.

Kevin Cline

Hardrick controls the defense in the Wyoming matchup.

Daniel: Any young linebackers stepping it up?

Hardrick: Jimmie Swain has done really well this spring, so has Danny Mattingly. Our new walk-on, De’Quan McDowell has done well also. The group has gotten a lot better and has taken a new role, each person has improved in their own way.

Daniel: How about the other side of the ball? Have any offensive players stepped up in your eyes?

Hardrick: The first one that comes to mind is Royce Freeman. He reminds me of some guys we played last season, not going to name any names. He is such a great athlete; it is exciting to play against him every day.

Daniel: Have you been focusing on the opponents for next year?

Hardrick: Not at all. I feel like this time is for ourselves, and get better at what we need to do.

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