It seems to go against everything athletes are wired for. Most athletes want to be in the mix in whatever sport or whatever position they are competing for as soon as possible. Occasionally an athlete comes around who understands where…
It seems to go against everything athletes are wired for. Most athletes want to be in the mix in whatever sport or whatever position they are competing for as soon as possible. Occasionally an athlete comes around who understands where he is at athletically and understands and even insists he is held back to make sure he is the best he can be. Robbinsdale Cooper senior Adam Cook might have a chance to make an impact this fall as a freshman, but he has told the coaches he thinks the best thing for the team and himself will be to redshirt.
On the surface, it seems like a strange decision, but when Cook explains the decision, it makes perfect sense. As a junior Cook had a successful season at guard. As a senior, he moved to tackle.
“I made the transition from right guard to left tackle,” Cook said. “Coming into the season some of the (college) coaches weren't sold on my pass blocking. That was something I worked hard at during the summer to improve my footwork and put myself in a position where the college coaches couldn't use that against me.”
Although it might not seem like it, moving from guard to tackle and right side to left side was a process.
“I am right handed,” Cook explained. “Being right guard, it was easier to block the three-technique on my dominant hand side. Left tackle was an adjustment just off my dominant hand. Then at tackle, you go against more speed than at guard. Guard is more of a straight-line power position. Tackle is more of a speed and pass blocking position. That was a big adjustment. The other thing was learning to use my hips more. At guard, I could use my strength to overpower people. At tackle, I had to learn to move my size.”
Being in space instead of inside where you have help was the most significant adjustment for the senior. Cook adjusted quickly.
“I think I move my size really well,” the 6'7″ 330-pound senior said. “I play basketball, and that helps me with my feet and my lateral quickness. I can get downfield and make those second and third level blocks.”
Cook has a specific skill he is looking to improve before he plays college football.
“I need to work on run blocking out of a two-point stance. In college, tackles play out of a two-point stance more often.”
This winter Cook has been playing on the basketball team. Although he doesn't start, he gets varsity minutes as an inside defender and rebounder.
“It is an opportunity to continue with conditioning and footwork,” Cook explained. “I am not trying to get a basketball scholarship out of it, but it is a way to keep in shape and help the basketball team out a little bit.”
On the football side of things, Cook ended with seventeen scholarship offers.
Recruiting started slow for Cook but picked up after his junior season.
“My top three schools were Concordia-St. Paul, Southwest Minnesota State, and Augustana. I had some Division I schools coming in late in the process, but I figured if it took them that long to see me I figured I wasn't going to be a priority, so I wanted to go somewhere I knew I was wanted. I was in contact with Western Illinois up until the end, but they had a coaching change recently. I felt it was time to end it – Concordia was the place for me.”
Cook likes the direction of the Golden Bears' program.
“I get along well with the coaches,” NFN’s 29th ranked senior said. “I have known them for a couple of years now. It is close to home. That wasn't a necessity for me but is handy. I was excited to be part of a program that is changing the culture. We will be building something.”
Cook doesn't know if he will be a right or left tackle but expects to have a year to figure it out.
“I made sure I am going to be redshirting this year,” Cook explained. “That is something I need to do. Up until my junior year basketball was my sport. I didn't hit the weight room like a football player until my junior year. I feel like – it was my fault – but I missed out on some prime years of weight lifting and getting my body where I need it to be. I feel like that first year of college lifting and practices will be nothing but helpful.”
There also is an academic reason for redshirting.
“I will have five years of scholarship, and I can get the first year of my masters done while I am on scholarship,” said the probable business major. “My redshirt decision is not just because of football.”
Although on its face it doesn't seem like it makes sense – in actuality – Cook's decision to stay on the sidelines next year makes all the sense in the world.