Q&A: Oliver ‘turning up the heat’ for final collegiate season
From casual fans to the most devoted Cougar alumni, everyone in Houston knows about sophomore defensive tackle Ed Oliver and the havoc he brings to the football field. If not, they at least saw him score a touchdown in the Hawai’i Bowl on Christmas Eve. Before long, football fans everywhere will know his name.
The NFL-bound Oliver dominated offenses in his first two seasons. His freshman year he ranked second in tackles for loss nationally, he led the nation in pass breakups for defensive lineman and was named to the First Team All-American by seven national outlets. Refusing to be content with his freshman performance, Oliver won the Outland Trophy for being the best interior lineman in his sophomore season.
The Cougar spoke with Oliver after practice to discuss his success and his intention to enter the NFL draft.
The Cougar: How has the offseason gone, Ed?
Ed Oliver: Same old same old, you know. I live a life of adventure, I step on sea urchins (in Hawaii). You never know what could be going on.
TC: Got up close and personal real quick huh?
Oliver: I went out there in the ocean, I was just playing around. I didn’t even know what a sea urchin was, but I stepped on it. He let me know who he was real quick. You the king of the sea? Okay.
TC: Well, first off, how would you grade your last season?
Oliver: Man, I would give myself an F just because I was hurt, I wasn’t able to perform. But I did the best I could with what I had, so I guess I’d give myself a B-minus.
TC: So spring practice is going on right now, and you have the spring training game coming up. What are you guys going to try to get out of that, and what’s the main goal?
Oliver: The main goal is just to get the young guys on the field to prepare them for next year and basically just get a feel for who can play and who has work to do. It’s not so much for the older guys, but to get the younger guys involved.
TC: What are some goals your team has been making for next season?
Oliver: Going out there and attacking everybody. Not letting off the gas and treating everybody the same way. Every opponent is the same opponent no matter how many games they won or lost. Just going out there with our minds on straight.
TC: Do you have any personal goals for yourself?
Oliver: I want to be the best me I can be for the guys around me. I know if I do that, great things will come.
TC: What are some things we should expect from you before you head off to the NFL Draft?
Oliver: Just going to go hard every play like I always have been. I kick it up a notch every year, so I’m turning up the heat a little more this year.
TC: Most people at your level would be looking to the bright lights of the NFL, but that’s not you.
Oliver: It’s a process, and the process is never easy. When you stray, and you let people tell you how good you are, you lose sight of what’s real. I got a little reality check today of where I need to be and how hard I need to work to get to where I was because I’m not there right now. When you first start spring ball, mistakes are okay, but we’re in week three and I still got mistakes. That’s unacceptable. I feel like there were a couple plays today I let my team down, and that can’t happen.