During the season opener, Potoa’e had himself a very successful and productive game with notching two sacks and three tackles for loss.
For his efforts, Potoa’e earned the Pac-12 Defensive Lineman of the Week award.
The transition from starting as a defensive lineman, then as an outside linebacker and now back to playing on the interior of the defensive line has been challenging for Potoa’e.
Hailing from local Lakes High School in Lakewood, Washington, Potoa’e was rated a four star recruit during his senior season in high school.
Throughout the course of his career, the Husky coaches have wrestled with the best position to play him at to best utilize his strengths.
Now for his final season as a Husky, the coaches have brought Potoa’e back full circle to where he really belongs.
With playing on the defensive line, Potoa’e can use his high motor, run forward and get after people style, which he is fully embracing.
“More freedom! Just being able to be chaotic and not think about much. I mean..obviously you have a job and you have assignments, you have a gap to be in but for the most part, you can play around with it..really just add your style of play to the game!” Potoa’e told DubLife this week.
Adding his own style seems to be exactly what Potoa’e is doing, after being in year five of his career on Montlake.
Gone are the days of playing with hesitation at the outside linebacker position and figuring out how to drop back into coverage.
Some players are just best suited to go forward and not backwards, and Potoa’e is a prime example of a player that fits that mold.
While going through the grind of an everyday football routine, Potoa’e is also mindful to take it all in and enjoy his final season with his teammates.
“I’m just thinking about it being my last year, you know..it being my senior year, just enjoying my brothers..not really so much the playing..I mean obviously playing, practice, games, all that is going to be fun but really enjoying my brothers and my time with them on or off the field!” Potoa’e told DubLife.
What is certain is that Potoa’e is extremely focused and not taking his final year for granted, which seems to be making him a lot happier.
A new position change, success on the field and enjoying his teammates seems to be the formula for Potoa’e this season.
Now being one of the elder statesman on the defense, Potoa’e is drawing on his past experiences to help out his younger teammates.
His evolution into a leader this season is something he doesn’t take lightly, as he feels the need to give back to the defensive newbies.
“You know..just seeing how they carry themselves and maneuver themselves around the program..just seeing the help that they need..I’d be wrong if I didn’t step in and take that role!” Potoa’e told Dublife. “Cuz you know..I’m one of the oldest so, who would I be if I didn’t do what was done to me when I was young, so..I feel the need to pour into them what was poured in to me and show them through experience, what to do so when they are one of the older one’s they can do the same!”
It seems as if Potoa’e is pouring everything he has into his senior season and if his performance in the season opener is any indication, he is poised for an All-Pac-12 season.
The transition back to the defensive line for Potoa’e was a much needed one. He found himself again through the process and is ready to flourish.
It’s simple really! Freedom..chaotic..not thinking much, his style!
For the Husky Defense and more specifically Benning….”Let Freedom Ring”.