Photo by John Nakano

Senior defensive tackle Adam Gotsis is in his third year as a starter on the Jackets’ defensive front. Voted as a team captain earlier this season, he shared his thoughts on the team’s recent performance and what they need to do to get back to winning.

Technique: You were voted team captain earlier this season. What does that mean to you personally?

Gotsis: Personally, it’s a pretty cool accomplishment to be nominated by your peers. I have the opportunity to lead by example and be put in that position of leadership. This is an awesome opportunity to really embrace that role and be more than just a guy on the team, and I relish the opportunity.

Technique: What are your thoughts on the team’s recent struggles?

Gotsis: We’ve been struggling a little bit. I don’t think it’s anything that we can’t fix. We have been hurting ourselves a lot more than how it looks on TV. It’s more about mistakes that we are making, like misalignments and assignments. It’s bad, the position that we are in, but we dug this hole ourselves, and we have to dig ourselves out.

Technique: What can you learn from this losing streak?

Gotsis: It’s just about correcting mistakes, watching the film and fixing whatever mistakes are made so that the next time you are in that position, you don’t make the same mistake.

Technique: Is it affecting team chemistry or morale at all?

Gotsis: I mean, there are never smiles when you’re losing. Everyone is down, but there is nothing you can do about it now, so you have to look forward each week and take each day for what it is. You can’t think, “What if?” because you can’t change anything.

Technique: After the Clemson game, Coach Johnson said that one reason for the team’s struggles might be that the players are trying too hard. Do you agree with that statement?

Gotsis: Yeah, to a certain degree, I agree with that. We want great effort out of guys, and when guys play with great effort, some of them try to do too much and not worry about what they just need to do. At the end of the day, you just have to do your job and don’t try to do five people’s jobs or everyone’s job. Just do your job. If you do your job and you trust that the guy next to you is going to do his job, then we should be alright. It’s about playing with effort, but it’s more about being smart with your effort, not running around trying to make every play, just being smart and playing hard.

Technique: Is the defense performing at the level you thought they would be coming into to the year?

Gotsis: I feel like we’re doing pretty well. You look at the games, and it’s not like we’re getting destroyed or run over, it’s more like we get to a good down and distance that we’re holding them to, and we give up a big play. It’s more of the big plays that are hurting us than us giving up something like four yards per rush. It’s not like that at all. We’re holding them to small rush yards, then all of the sudden we’re giving up a 65-yard run. It’s more about paying attention to detail and making sure we treat every play as a new play and not being like “we got beat deep” or “we stopped them here” because at the end, that play is already gone, and you can’t change it. You just have to look to the next one and be consistent.

Technique: What has the defense been focusing on most looking ahead to Pitt’s offense?

Gotsis: Just fixing up mistakes from previous games. We know that Pitt is a good team, and they are physical, and they are going to try to run the ball on us so we have to be able to stop the run and that’s going to be a big factor for us.

Technique: Do you consider this upcoming game a must-win?

Gotsis: Yeah, because every game is a must-win. You look at every game, and you want to go 1-0 every week. That’s the mentality you have to have. You can’t think, “Oh, if we win this, we will be 3-4.” It’s all about going 1-0 every week from here on out.

Technique: What do you expect the team to accomplish down the stretch?

Gotsis: Right now, we’re not even thinking down the stretch, we’re just looking week by week. You hope to win week by week, and at the end of the day, you just live with the result.