As one of only two returning starters on the offensive line, Evan Finkenberg hopes to improve his leadership skills on, and off the field this season. “As one of the more experienced guys on the line, I’m of course trying to be a little bit more vocal,” Finkenberg stated, “and also trying to lead by example out there on the field. I try to rile up the guys when everyone seems to be getting tired. Hopefully it all works out for us in the end.”
With new head coach Todd Graham at the helm, the team has just begun to experience some of the major changes that are headed their way. Finkenberg shared his early impressions of the coaching staff.
“I think they are really energetic,” Finkenberg commented. “They are always fired up! They seem like they really want to work with us. Always teaching us new things, and so I was really excited to start working with them.”
The overall atmosphere of spring practice is as different is night and compared to last season. Discipline, focus, and high tempo are evident throughout the team.
“I think as a group we did really well and I think everyday, as coach was saying, we’re getting a little bit better.” Finkenberg commented concerning the first week of practice. “Getting that little inch everyday. Today (Thursday) was a little harder because we’ve got our pads on but it was also fun because we got to start hitting for real. We worked really hard today and I think it was a good practice.
“We’re doing a lot of different kinds of conditioning this year. We’re trying to do more of the mental toughness. The coaching staff will do different things to make it a little bit harder for us sometimes. But it definitely helps once you get out on the field in an actual game.”
The team’s left tackle doesn’t seem to be too concerned about the inexperience at quarterback and welcomes the differences all three challengers to the position possess.
“Each quarterback has a little bit of a different kind of style,” Finkenberg explained, “like how they follow plays or maybe what kind of drops they do. I don’t see myself having to make too many adjustments in that area so I don’t think it’s too big of a deal. It’ll be exciting to see which one wins out on that position.”
The greenness of the offensive line is another seemingly concern about this Sun Devil squad, yet Finkenberg is excited by the performance he has seen so far from his line mates.
“I think we’ve got a really good group of guys," Finkenberg claimed. “I know all the guys have been working really hard and just waiting in the wings while the older guys were playing above them. I think now they’re ready to prove themselves and are ready to go out there and play.
“Jamil Douglas, he plays left guard, right next to me. Kody Koebensky’s a really good center. And Brice Schwab, a lot of people already know who he is but he’s playing really well so far. Looking forward to seeing what these guys will do for us this season.”
With one third of spring practices in the books, Finkenberg is elated for the overall state of the team, and feels confident that his goals for this spring’s practice will be exceeded.
“For me, it’s always trying to get a little bit better,” He explained. “Get my hands a little better. Everything on the line is a bunch of tiny little details. I just need to continue to watch the films and keep studying and just do the best that I can.”