by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff
For Jason Worilds, the answer to both is yes. The Virginia Tech sack expert could make a switch from defensive end to linebacker next year. In his interview with PD, he discussed his preparation for that position change as well as his decision to declare early.
Where are you now?
Right now I’m in Pensacola, Florida.
Ah. Are you working out?
Yeah, I’m working out at Andrews Institute (Athlete’s Performance).
I wanted to talk to you about your decision to declare early, but I wanted to go at it from a slightly different direction, and that is to ask you, what would have kept you at Virginia Tech? What would have made you stay?
I really can’t say anything would have. You know, I made my decision whole-heartedly. I was just something (where) I felt as though I was ready. I thought that I showed a lot in college, I did a lot. I played my heart out for those guys, and I felt like I was ready to take that next step in my career.
When did you start thinking about it? You had a great year your sophomore year. Did people start whispering in your ear that maybe you should consider it after the following year?
No, no. I came to that decision by myself. I didn’t really take into account too much of what anybody outside of my family was saying. My mom told me all the time, you know, that this decision was mine, and that ultimately it was my life, so that I would have to make that decision. So she left it up to me, and I made my decision.
In the end, was there any one thing that ultimately pushed you to that decision, or was it just a collection of everything?
It wasn’t any one thing. I wouldn’t say that. It was just – I just really felt that I was ready. I really felt as though, another year, my game had matured, and I was just ready for the NFL experience.
In terms of the NFL, you’re getting looked at as 3-4 outside linebacker. How comfortable are you with that?
Extremely. Extremely. You know, I just want to play football. Standing up doesn’t really affect me. I didn’t stand up – I played a little bit of linebacker in high school – I didn’t stand up much in college. We did drop into hook curls and flats, so I did some drops, I did some coverage stuff that can be seen on film. But, I’m comfortable, I’m confident. I’m just looking forward to the opportunity.
What do you think is the most important aspect of pass rushing?
I would say your motor. You have to be relentless in your pursuit to the quarterback. The moment that you start slacking – or a lack of effort for whatever reason – is the moment the offensive tackle gets comfortable. And his job isn’t to pancake you on any play, it’s to keep you off of the quarterback. So just always applying pressure by always keeping your motor going.
Does that mean that you have a wide array of pass rush moves, or are you more of a speed rusher kind of guy?
No, I definitely have a wide array of pass rush moves. I think I have some threats on the outside, both outside moves and inside moves… Watching a lot of other pass rushers, I think the thing that separates me from them is that I’m non-stop. I see a lot of guys hit their move, and if their move doesn’t work, they kind of go into a hand battle or arm fight, whereas I feel as though I strive to be relentless on every play.
Who do you think were the toughest teams you guys faced this year?
Alabama. Alabama was a tough team. You know, we lost to them in the season opener. Nebraska was a tough team that we faced. Georgia Tech with their option. That option is a tough thing to face every time we play them. UNC plays us tough; we lost to them.
When you guys played Alabama at the beginning of the year, did you think that they could go on to win the championship?
Yeah, we thought that they would definitely be contenders for it. We didn’t know – well, personally, I didn’t know – how good Florida was at the time. When we played (Alabama) and they beat us, we knew that they were one of the better teams. Definitely one of the better teams I had faced.
Making the transition from college to the pros, have you been watching film or maybe studying different defensive schemes? How do you think you’re preparing for that?
Really just going out there, working on my position drills and watching some film, the little bit of (film) that we get. Just trying to stay open and eager… just trying to stay in the best shape I can, and going out there, making sure my feet are fast and that I’m as explosive as I can be.
Do you think your primary focus right now is getting ready for the combine?
I’m curious what your height and weight are right now. Have you been told to put on some weight?
No, I’m alright where I’m at. I’m around 253.
And have you been measured in the 40?
You’re confident in your speed and your drills and things like that?
Yeah, sure. Yeah, I’m confident.
What do you think is going to be the biggest adjustment for you next year?
Understanding the game from a coverage perspective. If I do stand up, that is. If I do stand up and play outside linebacker, just being comfortable as far as reading formations and adjusting to formations pre-snap.
Now, are you originally from New Jersey?
How does a New Jersey guy end up at Virginia Tech?
(Laughs.) Great recruiters. Coach Kevin Rogers recruited me out of Virginia Tech, and he went on and took a job in the NFL (Vikings QB Coach). And, you know, Coach (Charlie) Wiles, my defensive line coach, and Coach (Frank) Beamer came and kind of took over. The trio kind of recruited me, and that’s what lured me down there.
People watching from the outside don’t really know much about Virginia Tech beyond the football team and maybe a little bit about the campus… If you were a recruiter, how would you bring somebody there?
First and foremost, the people here. It’s a college town all the way. It’s just, everyone, they’re very nice people… Just seeing how warm the people are initially, it kind of won me over.
Even though it’s a decent-sized school, did you feel like it was a small campus atmosphere?
Yeah, you could say that, definitely. It’s a close atmosphere. But, you know, there are schools in the area – Radford is about 15 minutes away – so there are other schools in the area where you can go and see other things.
So what is your schedule like?
I wake up in the morning, I eat breakfast around 9:30. My first workout is at 10 o’clock. We lift and we run for about two hours. We break – you eat a snack, you eat lunch. During break I go and, whatever I want to work on (that’s) extra, I do that. And then, we come back and we meet again and we have our second workout. It’ll be basically running and lifting for another hour-and-a-half, two hours.
And you’re going to be down there all the way up until the combine?
And then any plans after that, or are you just going to take it as it comes?
I’ll probably just take it as it comes, you know. I have a pro day (March 18), so I’ll just make sure, wherever I am, just to get ready for my pro day.
Well, good luck, Jason. Thanks a lot for talking to us today.
I appreciate that. Thank you.
Email Chris Warner at [email protected]