Q&A with Michael Alisa and Eathyn Manumaleuna

Jun 27, 2012 - Posted by Mason Porter on June 27, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Updated: June 27, 2012 4:09 pm

Q: How has this offseason treated you?

Michael Alisa: I think this is the best offseason I've had in my life in terms of working out. It's been different, not just for me, but for the team as a whole. I think that's fueled me through workouts. Other than that I've been working at sports camps as a counselor. You get to stay at the dorms every night and eat at the Cannon Center for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I'm just eating like a runaway train trying to put on some weight for the season. Besides that I've just been dating around here and there. 

Q: What's the chemistry like on the team, do you have any best friends?

MA: Eathyn used to be one of my good buddies but then he got married and went MIA.

Eathyn Manumaleuna: I've got a new best friend now (laughs).

MA: But really, I don't feel like there are cliques. I feel like last year there were cliques on the team, but not this year.

EM: I feel like it's because we have more leadership on the team this year. Riley Nelson has helped a lot, he's brought a lot of leadership.

MA: Last year we had colonies, this year we have a strong central government (laughs).

Q: How does that leadership affect the team?

EM: We all love Riley Nelson. He brings a great atmosphere into the locker room. He's got great leadership qualities and we all love him. It even helps make us want to practice harder.

MA: We all come to practice excited to be with our guys and we work hard together. When you do that, it brings you closer together. So it's just a cycle.

Q: What are the biggest games on the schedule this season?

MA: Washington State is a big game. I've got my eyes on a few teams, though. Notre Dame, for one. Going into South Bend will be fun because of the atmosphere over there and it's a historic place to play. I've got some friends on that team too, so it'll be a friendly rivalry game.

Q: Do you enjoy playing on the road?

EM: I love playing on the road. When we went to Ole Miss last year, I felt like that was our home field.

MA: Texas was fun, too.

EM: I like to go to away games and try and make it our home field. It gives me a little chip on my shoulder and a little more motivation. I think it's really exciting to play on the road.

Q: What's it like to quiet a crowd on the road?

EM: It's the best. Last year, in Texas it was quiet most of the game.

MA: And you hear your own little fan section in one corner making noise, so it's fun.

Q: You lost some players from last year, how do you feel about that?

MA: We lost some guys in the O-line. Matt Reynolds and Terence Brown were really good players, but having Brock Stringham and Ryker Mathews step in ... those guys are legit. I'm just as excited about our O-line this year as I was last year. The main thing is keeping them healthy.

EM: On defense I think we only lost a few guys.

MA: Yeah, the D-line especially is going to be solid. You've got four guys who have started for three years. That's unheard of.