Note: The following appears in the June issue of Orange: The Experience. For full access to all of the publication’s content, join IPTAY today by calling 864-656-2115.
By Stephen Puckette // Athletic Communications
Q; How’s the recovery coming?
Seckinger: It’s going really well. I’m moving back into seven-on-sevens. I haven’t necessarily gone full speed or done everything as far as lifting goes. My knee feels great, so it’s really more of a precaution to give me more time. Once summer two rolls around this month, we’ll start picking up everything as far as lifting and speed work.
Q: What’s the mental process for recovery?
Seckinger: I’d say the toughest part is pretty much right about this time, when you start getting back out onto the field. You’re trying to move, and you’re trying to run, but the muscles and tendons are locked tighter. They’re not as strong as they used to be. Mentally, you know how your body should work and move, but physically you can’t do it. You’re not quite as fast right away, your fast twitch muscles aren’t quite as quick as they used to be. That’s something you have to develop through rehab. It can get really frustrating for an athlete who’s used to being able to do all of this stuff, and then all of the sudden you push it and can’t do it. So that’s really frustrating.
But a lot of times — especially with my injury and I’m sure with a lot of other people’s injuries —you’ll have a period of time where you’ll get a lot better over a span of two weeks or so, and then you’ll plane off and won’t see much improvement. Then you’ll get a lot better over the next week to week-and-a-half, and then you’ll plane off for a little while. There are times where you plane off and you’re going to treatment for two-and-a-half to three hours a day, and that’s after/before lifting in between classes. When you’re putting in a ton of time each week and you’re not seeing any improvement, which can be mentally draining. It’s also hard sitting out during the spring and seeing everybody working together. Everyone’s out there getting better, and you’re in the weight room working upper body, not able to run around with them.
Q: What makes this team different than previous ones?
Seckinger: Obviously we have a lot of talented players, which we have had all four years I’ve been here. I guess it’s the depth and experience we have. A lot of our secondary in the defense is very experienced. We lost Robert (Smith) at safety, but we’re pretty much bringing everybody back, and the guys who are going to replace Robert also have a lot of playing experience, which is awesome. When you lose people from the top defense in the country but you still have a lot of returning guys who have playing experience under their belts, that’s always an encouragement. Offensively, we lost only a couple of guys; most of our guys are coming back, and that’s really exciting.
I think the experience level and the maturity that we have is valuable. You can practice all you want, but there’s nothing like having game time, whether you’re playing a smaller school or a Division I school. When you’re in a game, it’s different. There are a lot of things you can’t simulate. But we have a lot of guys who are coming back on the team who have been in games. I think that makes a big difference.
Q: What is it like being one of the old guys on the team now?
Seckinger: It’s a little different. Every year, you have a lot of expectations for your season. You feel a little more responsible for how things go. Not necessarily in the game, because people are going to perform how they perform in the game. But right now, during the summer time, how people put in work. What’s the overall culture of the team? What’s the morale of the team? How do people work together? You have to take on a little more responsibility. Running seven-on-sevens, you can’t have coaches out there. You try to take on a leadership role in that, and in the weight room.
Different people lead in different ways, whether it’s by example or vocally, or a little bit of both. I would say all of the older guys are finding how they can lead in the best way possible. All good leaders need followers, and all followers need a leader. Luckily, I think the guys are starting to embrace what this senior group is trying to do and the mentality we’re trying to bring into the season. So far, I think they’ve responded really well.
Q: If you could go back, what would you tell your younger self when you first came to Clemson?
Seckinger: I would say that attitude is everything. How you approach things and the way you view things can impact the outcome of something. Even if the outcome is good or bad, your attitude can change it drastically. I didn’t necessarily have a bad attitude in my opinion, though.
Coach (Dabo) Swinney preaches attitude all of the time, and once you start getting into a position where you can see the outcome of it, it’s amazing how much of a difference it makes. A lot of it is attitude, how you approach things. A lot of it is also confidence in yourself. I came from a private school, so it was a really big step from there to Clemson. If you go into it with a positive attitude and confidence to do it well, then a lot of times it will end really well for you.
Q: What’s post-grad looking like?
Seckinger: Obviously, I’d like to play football for as long as I can. As far as classes go, I just started my master’s program. I’m going to get a chance to finish about half of my master’s degree by the time I’m done (with football). If I can’t play after college, then I would like to one day aspire to own a business. We’ll see how that goes.
Q: What kind of business?
Seckinger: My family has a tourism business. I don’t know if I’d necessarily want to work in tourism, but I’ve gotten a backstage pass to seeing how to run your own business, the lifestyle that it is and what you have to put into it. Being a business management major, it’s something that interests me, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to go that route right away. Obviously that takes some time to do.
Q: Favorite place to eat in Clemson?
Seckinger: I would probably say Pot Belly Deli or TD’s, depending on the meal.
Q: How many pictures of the 2013 touchdown catch versus Georgia do you have hanging in your room?
Seckinger: One up here and one back home.
Q: I know you’re a big hunter, what’s your best hunting story?
Seckinger: There are a lot of great ones. Two of my best friends are my cousins George and Boyce Campsen. I hunt with them all of the time. I would say my most anticipated time of the year is spring break, because it’s the only break we get a guaranteed week off. The last two years we’ve only been able to hunt for a weekend or so, because our spring breaks for Clemson and The Citadel haven’t lined up. Three years ago, it lined up to where we were on spring break at the same time. We spent at least seven days out in the woods, doing nothing but turkey hunting. Being able to hang out with your best friends would probably be one of my best memories in recent years.
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