Gus Zilinskas says there is a lot of technique involved in being a good defensive lineman. Zilinskas is a 6-foot-3, 255-pound junior defensive tackle for the Cherry Creek football team. “Playing on …
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Gus Zilinskas says there is a lot of technique involved in being a good defensive lineman.
Zilinskas is a 6-foot-3, 255-pound junior defensive tackle for the Cherry Creek football team.
“Playing on the defensive line is mainly about technique,” pointed out Zilinskas. “It helps to be bigger. If you are smaller but have better technique than some of the bigger people, you will do better than them. I guess I'm pretty big so they put me on defense.
“I like running around, trying to find the ball, trying to tackle it, taking the ball away, and stopping the other team from scoring. I work on technique every day at practice and do some training at Elite Speed.
“If you want to stop the run you try to get a lot of separation between you and your man so you want to stick your arms out as far as you can on the defenders chest and then you can move and work off of him. You can like swim move or pop his hands off.”
Through seven games, Zilinskas had 41 total tackles or 5.9 tackles per game. He had four sacks among eight tackles for losses.
Q&A with Zilinskas
What's your favorite pre-game meal?
I really like spaghetti. I usually eat spaghetti the night before a game and about like four hours before the game actually starts. I think the nutrition is pretty good but I have always liked it.
Who is your favorite athlete and why?
J.J. Watt. He does a lot on and off the field. And he is one of the top defensive players in the league right now.
What would be a perfect performance in your sport?
No missed assignments, a sack or two, maybe a fumble recovery, and a couple tackles, tackles for losses
What is your favorite class in school and why?
Math, algebra 2. I really enjoy it and my teacher. I've always been pretty good at math.
What do you like to do away from sports and school?
We go skiing in the winter and I play lacrosse in the spring.
What are your plans after high school?
I would like to go play college football someplace and I don't really know what I want to study yet, maybe something in engineering or sports psychology.
What is your favorite movie?
“Free Solo.” This guy climbs El Capitan and he did it without a rope
What pre-game rituals do you have?
I always go and stretch in the weight room and lift a little bit to get the blood flowing. And then I just hang out in my car and listen to some music to get into the game mentality. I like rap music.
What situations do you like the offense to face as a defender?
I like third and long because it is pretty much going to be a pass. So we get to rush the quarterback more. I like the shorter third and two because it is going to be more physical.
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