Joe Silberzweig – Defensive Lineman on and off the field: An exclusive interview with a star of the football team, Joe Silberzweig. With the Superbowl over, here’s the inside scoop on how Penn’s football team stays fit and healthy. This is how Defensive Linemen, number 75 stays in such good shape. Other hobbies include fine dining and trying to look hipster. Watch out ladies!
How does your position impact the team? Within the defensive line I play nose tackle for the Quakers. We run a 3-4 style defense, which means I line up a across from the Offensive Center most plays. The D-line battles all game long to control the line of scrimmage and get push into the offense backfield. Although you may not realize it from the stands, the team that controls the line of scrimmage will always win the game.
Do you have any pre-game ritual? I normally down 8-10 red bulls right before kickoff.
What is it like traveling around to other schools? Traveling is less glamorous than a lot of people think. The team approaches each road trip as if it’s a business trip. We make sure to stay serious and focused until we finish each game. Typically, we will travel on Friday’s and check into a hotel on our opponents campus Friday night. Following that, we have a team dinner in the hotels banquet room and about 2-3 hours of meetings after that. On game day, the coaches like to get us up early with a team breakfast, followed by more meetings, then off to the stadium.
What is a typical day like? Each day of the week has a different purpose in preparing for our next game. After a Saturday game, we return Sunday night to watch film and condition. Monday is our day off. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are our longest practices of the week and focus on game planning. On Thursday, we practice in just shoulder pads and helmets and touch up any strategies that need fixing. Friday practices are short and concentrate mostly on special teams, all to get us ready for game day on Saturdays.
What is your most memorable moment on Franklin Field? Beating Harvard to clinch the Ivy League Championship this past fall. It took a year round effort, but nothing beats lighting up a celebratory cigar on Franklin Field.
What is it like repeating as Ivy-League Championship? Repeating as Ivy Champs was a great accomplishment. Every team came at us with their best shot trying to take us down, but this year’s team felt destined to win it, again.
What was your best play this year? Early in the first quarter against number 1 ranked Villanova, I had wrapped up the running back for an 8 yard tackle for loss. It was very exciting for me, so exciting that I tripped over the running back and fell while trying to celebrate.
What is your best move on the field? Without a doubt, the Bull Rush. The Bull Rush is the most physical move on the field and is a test of brute strength. It also happens to be extremely simple and just entails a defensive lineman attacking the offensive lineman and trying to force him backwards by any means possible.
What is your inspiration for continuing football in college? Admission to Penn.
I know football players are tough guys, but have you had to deal with any injuries? Like anyone else on the team I’ve had my fair share of injuries over the years. My most difficult injury to overcome was ACL and Meniscus knee reconstruction surgery freshman year. I had to take a medical redshirt and sit out the 2009 season, but was able to concentrate on my rehab and make it back to play in 2010.