2015 Pac-12 Football Media Days: Will Parks caught red-handed getting in extra reps
BURBANK, Calif. – Arizona safety Will Parks is really taking this senior leadership thing seriously. Yeah, he’s been on the field for all 40 games of his Arizona existence and has started 18 of them the last two years (including all 14 last year), but 2015 will be a bit different. Gone are three key safeties – Tra’Mayne Bondurant, Jared Tevis and Jourdon Grandon – who had been significant contributors since 2011. Also, cornerback Jonathan McKnight had exhausted his eligibility after a 2014 season that saw him lead the team with 13 pass break-ups.
So yeah, Parks knew he had to work hard this offseason. However, sometimes he’s been working too hard.
Wanting to get in extra work, Parks went into the weight room late at night. Wanting his players to get good rest, Arizona Director of Strength and Conditioning Chris Allen was not happy.
“There’s a key code to get in. I never noticed this but when I walked out of the weight room at 11 o’clock one time I looked up and the green light turned red and I was like ‘Ohh…’” Parks told reporters at 2015 Pac-12 Football Media Days. “The next thing you know [Chris Allen] was like, ‘I told you to stop coming in!’’’
There are certainly worse things a college kid can be doing at that time of night. Parks is working – perhaps too much – to become the voice and face of the Arizona secondary.
“You kind of look forward to those kind of moments because they humble you to come out and be a better player, take on a bigger role; [these are] things you gotta be prepared for,” Parks said. “Taking on this role, it’s going to be challenging but I look forward to it.”
He has the confidence of his head coach Rich Rodriguez, who thinks Parks is ready for the added responsibilities.
“Will has been a good player for us. We’ve considered him a starter the last couple of years. The difference now is that the three seniors we had at safety had played a lot of football and they were the leaders back there now and Will has gotta take that role on,” Rodriguez said. “I think he’s going to take it upon himself to be the leader of that group. When we need somebody to step up and make a play or keep things calm back there, he can do that.”
And in case he wants to break Allen’s wish of not working out too hard, Parks can always use the campus rec center.
“I’ve done it a couple of times, but he can’t find out about that, not unless he goes into the database,” Parks said. “If he does that, then there’s something wrong.”