Meet Devin 'Uani' `Unga
April 15, 2010
After taking two years away from football for his LDS mission, Devin 'Uani' `Unga is ready to make his mark this year as a linebacker. After playing in the season opener last season against Portland State as a true freshman he is using this spring to dig into defense and learn more about the schemes. With a large family, very oriented in sports and a twin brother on the team, there is no lack of support and you'll always be sure to find an `Unga cheering in the crowd.
How do you like playing for Greg Newhouse?
'He's an interesting guy. I've never really had a set linebacker coach. I never thought he'd be a linebacker coach from just looking at him but he knows his stuff. He really understands the scheme and he really knows how to teach it in a way that is productive for us.'
After playing a huge role on Special Teams, do you feel like that has benefitted you for your spring season trying to find a spot in the Linebacking core Rotation?
'Yeah. Coach Newhouse has always been telling us that the more time you have on the field, no matter where it is, the more prepared you will be when it comes to playing linebacker. I made it a point at the beginning of the year, I didn't play much on special teams but when I did I tried to keep that in my head, to always do something so I could get better.'
Losing some players to graduation and injury how do you feel about the linebacking core after the second week of practice?
'It was sad to see what happened to our linebackers with Keaton [Kristick] leaving, Bubba [David Pa'aluhi] leaving also and then what happened to [Keith] Pankey. I think Michael Doctor has really been stepping up. He's actually been learning a lot quicker than I have. We're still young and we still have a lot to learn but I think we'll be ok.'
What's it like playing for coach riley?
'Everything. I couldn't imagine playing for anyone else. His style of coaching, his style of life; its just me.'
What's it like coming in after taking a few years away from football?
'I think I was anxious to get out on the field. I have some friends that went on missions and when they got back to the field it felt like they lost something. But I think all that time taken for me just built up to where, when I did get on the field I just exploded.'
What are some expectations you have for this spring?
'I really need to learn the system and the scheme of the defensive game. I'm a little behind from where I should be and right now I feel like I'm learning a lot more than I did in the fall so I think spring ball will help me learn more of the defensive scheme.'
What was it like playing in the season opener against Portland State as a true freshman?
'When I first walked out it was packed and I've never been through anything like it so it got my adrenaline going. When I finally did get out on the field my mind went blank and the first person that stepped in front of me, I exploded, I knocked him down. It was just exciting, for that first time in almost three years.'
What does having a football scholarship mean to you?
'I think its a blessing. I guess I'm being rewarded for my abilities that I have to play football and its an opportunity that I have to learn in school also. Paying for school with my talents I think is a great blessing.'
What motivates you?
'My family. All the support that I need comes from them, whether it be for school or sports. I have cousins everywhere. Every game that we've had away we've had family at, at least ten individuals come to games to support us and that really helps me.'
What's your favorite thing about OSU?
'Its a family oriented school. A university that keeps everything close. There isn't much around here so you're friends become very close friends.'
What's the best part about being a student-athlete?
'All my teachers love it. I think the teachers enjoy having student-athletes in their classes. Especially those of us that try hard and put effort into our work because they see that. It gives you a chance to become acquainted with your teachers a lot more.'
Do you have any pre-game rituals?
'I say a prayer before the game.'