Kyle Kalis’ frustration with redshirting last year has been well-documented. The former five-star All-American hated the experience while he was going through it, but in retrospect he sees how necessary it was.
“It’s so tough,” said Kalis. “I thought it would be like high school. I though t I could just man-handle people and throw them to the ground like high school. Block three people on one play and all that stuff. But I came in and that’s not how it was. I learned a lot of technique and a lot of that’s helped me.”
He also learned that technique is as essential an ingredient to man-handling the opposition as being big and strong is. As the mental aspects of his game have improved, so too has his ability to control his space in the trenches.
“Oh, it’s like a total one-eighty from last year,” Kalis stated. “Last season pretty much for me was learn the plays, learn how to control my emotions; not getting too mad after I did bad or something and understand the scheme.”
“Last year towards the bowl game. I started to come around and started to come around the hill a little bit. I started to move guys and I really started to…well I always moved guys. But, I really started to understand the scheme and where to put the guys. And, so that was the main thing. Right abound probably the third month, I started really to get into it and started to understand the stuff. But yeah, it took a while.”
Listed as a starter on today’s tentative depth chart, the redshirt freshman lineman knows the toughest part of the journey still lies ahead. But he is by no means intimidated.
“I think a big part of it is…you can never simulate the 120,000 people in the stadium and stuff,” he said regarding his upcoming adjustment to life in the Big House. But what we can do is we can do the scrimmages… the coaches are yelling at you, there’s calls that are being made, defense is yelling at you. There’s pressure all over the place.”
“I think once we get a few games under our belts, whoever plays I think will be good.”