‘I was never expecting to throw up on my first day’

Cody Erbacher

Roosevelt Nix called his high school coach in a minor state of panic after he finished his first day of football practice at Kent State.

Nix, a true freshman, didn’t know if he would be a starter at the time. On that first day of practice, he puked.

The coaching staff puts the defensive linemen through a grueling series of stadium steps, sprints and gassers, getting players in shape, even if they vomit.

The effort he put in during that first summer session at Kent State made him sick, but it also made him a starter on the nations top-ranked rush defense.

After three games, Nix has recorded two forced fumbles, along with two sacks. As a team, the Kent State defense has held opponents to 1.8 yards per carry.

Assistant sports editor Cody Erbacher caught up with Nix after practice to talk about the pressures of starting as a true freshman on a Division I defensive line.

How tough was the training to get the defense where it’s at right now?

This summer conditioning up here was tough. I definitely threw up quite a few times, but it was definitely worth it. I just knew I needed to keep pushing myself to get on the field.

Did you ever puke in high school?

No, I never puked. After I puked I called my high school coach and I was like, “Coach you never made me throw up in high school. “ I was never expecting to throw up on my first day.

What was his reaction?

He just laughed. He reminded me it wasn’t going to be a joke at the Division I level.

In high school you wrestled along with playing football. Did you ever think about continuing the path to a wrestling career?

No. No. It was just a one-time thing during my senior year to get ready for football.

How did it compare to the football training?

The summer conditioning up here was definitely tougher than wrestling practice.

You’re starting as a defensive lineman on the top-ranked rush defense in the nation, and you’re a freshman. What’s that like?

It’s fast paced. I had to learn the game quick and a lot of plays quick in camp. They mention that every day in practice that we really thrive on being a No. 1 defense in the rush, and we really work on it in practice.

How would you compare this level of football to high school?

You can’t compare this to high school. It’s a whole different ball game. All the film, study sheets and tip guides, it’s all different.

You’re already contributing to this team, recording both forced fumbles and sacks. How do you keep your composure and continue to post numbers?

I’m blessed with God-given talent and being able to expose it with some of the upperclassmen. They all look to me to do my job, and I look to them to do their job. I don’t know what to think when it happens. Just got to go do the next play. You dwell on it when you get to the bus. It’s an honor to get sacks. I work hard for it, and my team works hard.

What do you want to see for the rest of the season?

We want to continue to be a No. 1 defense, and we want to win the (Mid-American Conference) because we haven’t done that in a long time.

Contact Cody Erbacher at [email protected].