He’s the quarterback of the defense, a senior linebacker who would like nothing more than a championship run during his final season as a Husker. During the journey, Will Compton will take some time each week to give the Journal Star his thoughts on the season or whatever topics come to mind. This week, we’re wondering how a player gets through those final 24 anxious hours before a season opener. Compton in his own words:
“You really hone in on your preparation Friday. You go through your walkthroughs, your meetings, your film work, and then you get those kind of final speeches about what we need to do, and controlling what we can control. You might go and watch a movie, but when I get in my room I’m finishing up on preparation, looking through my notes, trying to envision what things will look like and how I’m going to attack each and every play. I try to play each scenario in my head and try to play a game mentally. Sometimes it is hard to sleep you’re just so anxious. You’re so ready to get going and get out there on the field and show the fans what they want to see and carry out all your expectations and your goals.
“Coach Bo, he always has great stuff in his speeches. And then there will be chapel and Mass, and I kind of like listening to that stuff. It just kind of calms you down. It brings stuff more into perspective. You've got to block out all that outside stuff … and live within those walls and not get too high or low just because it's about to be game time.”
Then the bus ride, and the walk through the crowd to the stadium.
“Whether you have head phones in and you're playing music to go with it, it’s awesome, it’s unbelievable seeing the support we get. And if my family members come, seeing them toward the end of the walk, and getting to hug them before the game. Then you go in and do your rolling out, your massages, your stretching, just trying to mentally prepare for what’s about to happen.
“I might listen to a couple pump-up songs early in the day, maybe on the bus ride before that walk. But once I hit the stadium, I might do some nature stuff, some yoga stuff, some Johnny Cash, some country, some stuff that reminds me of my grandpa. 'God’s Gonna Cut You Down.' I like that. It’s kind of like a pump-up but still brings you down. I like some slower stuff just to stay focused.”
Then those final moments before kickoff.
“Bo will give a speech, and you’ll hear all the fans. Then we’ll do our prayer that we’re known for. And you start to hear that music, and I’ll take a knee and say another prayer by my locker by myself. And then you just kind of live in the moment. You can’t get too high with it, too amped up with it. But still live in the moment, feel the goose bumps.”
-- Brian Christopherson