All year round, former Husker and NFL veteran Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In the "Carriker Chronicles" video series, he breaks down the latest NU news, upcoming opponents, player updates and recruiting information, and he offers his insight into the X's and O's and more.
On Wednesday's episode, Carriker is joined by Nash Hutmacher to discuss his high school wrestling career, why he picked Husker football, how wrestling helps Hutmacher play defensive line and more.
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Check out a full transcript below:
Welcome to the Carriker Chronicles, the people's show, where we check the pulse of Husker Nation, brought to you by Nebraska Spine Hospital. Today I'm joined by Husker defensive lineman Nash Hutmacher. How you doing today, Nash?
Nash Hutmacher: Good, good. How are you?
Adam Carriker: Good. I want to thank you for joining me. So your nickname is the polar bear. All right, so a couple of these first questions people may have heard the answers to before but for those who haven't, enlighten us, how'd you get the nickname, the polar bear?
Nash: It happened when I was like, an eighth grader or freshman, somewhere around then, just polar bear was a nickname some of the wrestling parents, some of them just kind of gave me. With the wrestling, you know, especially back then I was, I mean, I'm obviously a big dude, but then also I had like bleached, bleached blond hair back then and so I kind of, and I still have blond hair obviously, but then was a lot more noticeable. So that's kind of just how it happened. It started off just a few people calling me it, and now, obviously, a lot of people know about it.
Adam: All right, so basically from the bleached blond hair, are you going to show up on campus with the bleached blond hair?
Nash: I don't know, to be honest with you. I still have blond hair, that's for sure.
Adam: All right. Okay, so you mentioned wrestling. Now you had some success in track, all right, two-time, you did some two-time state champion there, two-time all-state, three-time all-state football player. Now in wrestling, it's interesting, you were the No. 1 wrestler nationally at 285 pounds. You have two national titles. You're a four-time state wrestling champ, 166-0 career record, almost as good as Bill Goldberg before he lost, which was 173-0, before he lost, if you know who Goldberg is, I'm a big pro wrestling fan. But you had a decision to make between wrestling and football because you had Nebraska, Missouri, Oregon, Wisconsin talking to you about football, South Dakota State, Ohio State talking to you about wrestling, and in football, I mean, you were the No. 1 football player in South Dakota. Things of that nature obviously, recruited nationally as well. So talk to me about the decision between football and the decision between wrestling and how you arrived at playing defensive line for the Huskers.
Nash: You know, there for a little while, I didn't really know what I wanted to do when I was younger in my freshman, sophomore year. Right away it was, I was thinking I was going to wrestle and then as I started getting more big-time football scholarships and stuff, you know, scholarships like for Nebraska, Oregon, Wisconsin, all those places, that I kind of decided that I was going to play football, instead of wrestle and once I got those final three down with Nebraska, Wisconsin and Oregon, it just came down to where I felt like I had the best fit. Nebraska was where I felt like I had that best fit at and where I just think I had the most room to succeed, room to grow, room to be a better person. That's kind of how it went, just as more time went on I just started to like football more and more as I was playing it and learning more about it and that's why I decided to play football in college instead of wrestling.
Adam: What made Nebraska feel like the best fit? Was it the relationship with Scott frost, was it Erik Chinander, was it the strength and conditioning staff? What about Nebraska made it feel like the best fit for you?
Nash: I'd say it's a combination of all the people. I just really related to a lot of players. The coaching staff is great, obviously. It's just where I thought, where just the people is what made it for me, and they're all really great people, and they really just do want what's best for the players and want them to succeed, play at a high level, so that's what it came down to is just people and the cultures that it's built around.
Adam: Now it's interesting you mentioned the blonde hair earlier because I looked at a couple of pictures right on your Twitter account before we started this interview here. Has anyone ever told you that you kind of, somewhat look like Brock Lesnar in a way? Have you ever heard that before?
Nash: I've heard it quite a bit, actually.
Adam: Yeah, I wouldn't say you guys are twins or anything, but I definitely noticed that especially, I've seen the picture of him with the wrestling headgear on, his hands in the air like you have on your Twitter. That was one of the first things that popped into my mind. Do you watch WWE at all?
Nash: No, I've never really gotten into WWE.
Adam: Okay. So how does going back to the, shall we say, the real wrestling, how does that help you when it comes to playing football and specifically in the trenches on the defensive line?
Nash: I think it helps a ton, especially on the defensive line. Staying low, hand placement, use of your hands, body awareness, stability, like all those things that kind of transfer right into being a good defensive lineman. Wrestling can teach us a lot of those things, and I feel like the two sports go hand in hand together. I mean, that's, that's how I've always thought, you know, if I wasn't in wrestling, I don't think I'd be as good of a football player. If I wasn't in football, you know, I might not be as good of a wrestler, so that's kind of what I've always thought of it.
Adam: Now, is there any possibility you could do two sports? I would imagine football and wrestling, doing those two together would be pretty challenging, but like, you look at the Davis twins, Carlos and Khalil Davis, although Tanner Farmer, former Husker offensive lineman, went to another college (Concordia), was eligible right away, did pretty good as a wrestler last year, about won a national championship at that level. But the Davis twins Carlos and Khalil Davis, they competed in football and in track here in Nebraska, is there any possibility of that for you?
Nash: Maybe we'll see as time goes on, but right now I just think it's going to be football. At that level, if I want to be the best I can be. For myself, focus on one sport and just be the best I can be at that.
Adam: So I'll be honest with you, I felt like I should ask the question, but I was hoping that would be your answer to the question, because you are correct. Focusing on one thing makes it much easier to get good at one thing. Talk to me, going into your freshman season, who knows when you guys will be able to be back on campus working out, going to class, work with Zach Duval, but whenever that is, how big do you think it's going to be to get in the weight room, work with Zach Duval, work with the strength and conditioning staff? How much of an emphasis is that going to be your first couple of years in Lincoln?
Nash: I think that big time, not only in the weight room, doing runs, you know doing running workouts, whatever, you know, just getting down there and learning, learning and getting bigger, faster, stronger. That's so big that, especially you know, that first year, first two years. That's very big just to get down there, get in shape and get with the program, learn everything you can. That's what I'm most excited about.
Adam: What are some of your favorite lifts and/or what are some of your best lifts that you do?
Nash: My favorite lifts are probably squat and deadlift.
Adam: How much can you squat and deadlift?
Nash: I squat right around 600 pounds and deadlift around 600 pounds as well.
Adam: Nice. So what are you currently doing now? Obviously, there's challenges to working out. Do you have some sort of a workout from Zack Duval that you can do at home, or do you have some place to go and work out? What are you currently doing at the moment to get ready to play football whenever that can happen?
Nash: There's a little gym in town here that's staying open, and so I get to work out there, and I've just been doing the same workouts I've been doing for the last however many years. I haven't really gotten anything from them to do. They said keep working, doing what you're doing, once you get here we'll get you on a program and stuff, so I've just been working out with my dad up the gym, my dad and little brother at the gym, and I've been doing, obviously, all the homework and stuff. I've been going fishing quite a bit and kind of stay busy that way.
Adam: Do you think when you arrive on campus, well, I'm curious, what's the first thing you're going to do when you arrive on campus? Let's start there.
Nash: The first thing I'm going to do, I'll probably go hang out with some of the guys that are already in place and talk to them and just start getting ready to go for over the summer, over wherever we get to go down and start getting ready and preparing to work hard and work hard.
Adam: Have you ever had a runza?
Nash: Yes, I have.
Adam: Are you a fan?
Nash: Yeah, I am.
Adam: Wan'Dale Robinson had never had a runza before he showed up here. I asked him that question. He didn't know what it was. And then he tweeted me like two days later, "Had my first runza." And I think he enjoyed it pretty well. It's question I like to ask people who are kind of new to the area. Have you talked with Coach Tuioti, Chinander? Are you looking to be a nose guard, a defensive end in this 3-4, or are they gonna see how that plays out?
Nash: I'm most likely going to end up being a nose tackle for them, so that's what the plan is. That's kind of what the plan has been, pretty much the whole time and they say, you know, "We can see how you develop as a player but that's what we see you playing, or see where you're going to be as of now."
Adam: I do have to ask, and actually it's funny, my wife just got these medical masks in the mail from one of her friends, so every time I go to the grocery store, now I've got to wear these medical masks. When you go to the gym, OK, because not a lot of gyms are open right now, and I know you said it's a small gym, but like, do you wear gloves? Do you wear a mask? Are you nervous at all? How does that work mentally for you there?
Nash: No, we don't have masks and gloves on. Pretty much every time we go out there actually, there's local nurses and local doctors that are in there working out with us, and they aren't wearing masks or gloves either, so that doesn't really worry us when those guys are in there doing it too.
Adam: OK, what would you say as a player your biggest strengths are at this moment? And what would you say are the biggest things you need to work on and improve on as well?
Nash: I'd say my biggest strength is probably just my work ethic. I like to get in and get after it. I like to learn. And I would say, right now, my biggest weakness as a player is that I've just been, I played at a smaller school in South Dakota, so the competition wasn't there every week for me. So that's something that I'm looking forward to, getting pushed every day in practice and all that. I say I need to develop more as football player, my football IQ, you know, just learn as much as I can as soon as I can when I get down there. Because it's just a whole other level of thinking, a whole other level of play once you get there, so I just need to learn, just learn. That's my biggest thing. I think.
Adam: I'll give you a piece of advice: don't say biggest area of weakness, say biggest area of improvement needed, something like that. I'll give you that piece of advice right there. It's all about a mindset, a mentality. All right, last question for you, and I'll give you the floor with this one:do you have a message for Husker Nation, for Husker fans, like what can they expect to see from Nash Hutmacher?
Nash: I'm coming down to work hard and be the best player you can be for the next four to five years and just to get after it every day and hopefully tear it up on game days.
Adam: All right, man, I want to thank you for joining me. I appreciate your time and good luck as you prep and get ready to come in. Hopefully we get to play football this fall. (Yeah, hopefully.) All right, cool. So also, this is my number. If you want to go ahead and save it, feel free to hit me up anytime I'm always willing to help out the young guys. Until next time, Husker Nation, go Big Red, and always remember...to throw the bones!
Thanks again to the Nebraska Spine Hospital. Ladies and gentlemen, when it’s your spine, you do not want to mess around. Experience matters. That’s why you can trust the experts at Nebraska Spine Hospital, the region's only spine specific hospital. They are the best at what they do.