CHAMPAIGN – It’s often said that there is no offseason for professional athletes. The same holds true for college athletes like Pat Flavin.
A Benet graduate from Lisle, Flavin is a sophomore offensive lineman on the University of Illinois’ football team and has spent most of his summer on campus working out with his teammates as they attempt to move past a disappointing 2012 season that saw the Illini go winless in Big Ten Conference play. Flavin saw his first action as a college player last fall and is looking to make a bigger impact on the field this fall.
SUBURBAN LIFE: What have you been doing this summer to get ready for the season?
PAT FLAVIN: I’ve pretty much been down in Champaign since the last week of June. I’ve been working out, doing conditioning, lifting, running and practicing with my teammates, and we’re making huge strides. Most guys are taking classes, too. I’m taking six hours of classes.
SL: Where do you think you’ve made the biggest strides in your time at Illinois?
PF: Off the field, I think it’s probably in my strength and conditioning. I came in 250 pounds and not very strong, but I think I’ve made good strides in the weight room. Now I’m almost 300 pounds, and I’m still effective on the field. On the field, over the years, my technique has gotten better. I’ve focused on things I used to be able to get away with in high school. I’ve been lucky enough to play behind some great players and work with some great coaches that have helped me learn the game and improve all around.
SL: What goals do you have for this season?
PF: I hope to work my way into the rotation (on the offensive line). In training camp, I was the backup right tackle, but you never really know when your number is going to be called. I know injuries come up and guys move around, so I hope to be able to contribute when they need me and build on the playing time I got last year (19 snaps against Charleston Southern).
SL: How much does last season come up among the players?
PF: I think everyone is really anxious to get things going. I think we feel we all underachieved with the talent we had. This year, we have raised expectations. We know what expectations the coaches have of us, and we’re not going to be satisfied underachieving again. As players, we’ve raised our expectations a lot. We have a lot of guys coming back on offense and defense, so I think we’re going to be solid.
SL: Was it tough last year having to adjust to a new coaching staff?
PF: I think change, changing teams or changing coaches, especially at the college level, is something everybody deals with, and it’s how you adjust. In terms of changing schemes, we had a different offensive coordinator (Bill Cubit), but the concepts and a lot of plays were the same. The offensive line calls and protection take a little time to get used to the changes, but I think everyone is on the same page.