Last season, Kody Koebensky spent the season backing up Gerhart, although he received playing time in all games, either in a substitute roll, or on special teams. This experience has helped shaped Koebensky both mentally and physically, as he profited greatly from playing behind ASU’s outgoing senior.
“I benefited a lot from playing behind Gerhart,” Koebensky admitted. “He’s a great center…obviously; he’s going to play in the NFL. It was great watching his film.”
With a new coaching staff thrown in to the mix, the players are reminded every day that no spot is guaranteed, as every position on this team is earned. Feeling the pressure, Koebensky matches the increase of intensity in spring practice, with an intensity of his own.
“We’re all fighting for that starting job,” Koebensky stated. “We all trying to prove we’re a bright spot on this team, and not a weakness. Every day I come out and compete as hard as I can.”
Considering the harsh mental and physical state that collegiate level football puts on a player, Koebensky remembers to always keep it light, by pulling practical jokes on teammates from time to time and making sure the level of levity doesn’t drop too low.
“When things are getting tense in the locker room, I try to keep everyone diffused,” Koebensky explained. “I’m always trying to crack jokes; Corey Adams and I have a lot of fun sometimes.”
With the ongoing tight battle for the starting quarterback position, Koebensky looks at each player as their own individual leader, and focuses more on the relationship between a quarterback and a center.
“They all have great leadership skills,” Koebensky stated. “It’s just a matter of me getting the ball back to them. I think it will be fun to see who the starting quarterback is.”
Coming off a 6-7 season, Koebensky realized that some personal improvements needed to be made in order to ensure the success of the team next season. Koebensky has spent the off-season honing his skills.
“I’ve really focused on pass-protection,” Koebensky said. “It’s also been a lot of weight-room stuff. Working my hands, and making sure we’re getting our punch in there.”
Beginning his first season coaching at ASU, Coach Connelly spent the past four seasons serving as Associate Head Coach and Co-Offensive Coordinator for UTEP. Koebensky likes Coach Connelly’s coaching style, as he feels it fits very well with the team.
“Coach Connelly is upbeat,” Koebensky described. “He’ll get in there and show you how to do it. He’ll tell you how to do it. He’s not going to cut you down. When he criticizes you, he does it in a positive manner. I personally really like it. He’s doing a great job working with us, and showing us what we need to do technique-wise.”
Although Coach Todd Graham has been complimenting the offensive line it seems all of spring, Koebensky isn’t content, and feels the team has some work to do to get where they want to be.
“As the offensive line, we’re never satisfied. We can always get better,” Koebensky remarked. “We want to go to the Rose Bowl and win, and the only thing that wins a Rose Bowl is near-perfection. We have to get there.”
With standout leaders on the front five such as Evan Finkenberg and Andrew Sampson, Koebensky believes he is on the same caliber, leadership-wise, and enjoys working side by side with his teammates.
“I like to lead,” Koebensky admitted. “As a center, you’re making a lot of the calls, so I like to help out with the vocal roles. With my position, I’m usually the one talking out there. Finkenberg and Sampson are real leaders on the field, and they lead by example, and I back them up and keep everything upbeat.”
As the center is often mentioned as the quarterback of the offensive line, Koebensky realizes the importance of comprehending the scheme and recognizing defenses better than anyone else on the line.
“Personally, I feel that is my role,” Koebensky stated.” “I feel I need to know the defense just as well as I know the offense. I think it’s important to understand everything that’s going on. Although it is a lot of film (watching), I try to do the best that I can to understand what’s going on both sides of the ball.”
With spring practice slowly coming to an end, Koebensky is eager to start begin fall camp, as it becomes one step closer to their first game of the season. The center has already set some personal goals for himself.
“I want to come out of spring practice as the dominate starter, obviously,” Kobensky said. “I want to go in to Camp ready to roll. Next year, I want to be All-Conference.
“I’m just going to be the best I can be.”