Football: Bowman, Muller ready for captaincy

By Tom Spencer
On May 5, 2014

Offensive lineman Rob Bowman and defensive end Cody Muller spoke about their new roles as co-captains of the UNH men's football team after the Blue-White practice game Saturday. 

Both captains plan on applying lessons learned from the more experienced players they've been led by.

Bowman served as left tackle in 2011, playing in five games, and switched to right tackle due to injuries and changes in the team roster. He is glad to return to his more familiar role on the blind side, which he played in high school. 

 "Being left [tackle] is a big honor," Bowman said. "I like the pressure and responsibility of being left tackle, and I'm excited for the season."

Seamus O'Neill, a graduating senior who played left tackle prior to Bowman, left his successor with some valuable lessons. 

"[O'Neill] really taught me how to watch film, and how to pick apart someone's pass rush and their different moves," Bowman said. 

However, Bowman cited former captain and offensive lineman Chris Zarkoskie, who graduated in 2012, as a role model for leadership. 

"Zarkoskie taught me how to be a good communicator and how to be there for the other guys," Bowman said. "He taught me how to be a personable leader. Make sure the guys can come to you with an issue. That's one of the biggest things I learned from him."

This communication will become important over the summer, when Bowman intends to make sure the team is keeping up with their physical conditioning. 

"Even if we're going home we gotta make sure they're on, they're running, they're lifting and doing the right things," Bowman said.  

Considered a leader by example, Bowman will be assisting the younger offensive linemen this summer. With players like O'Neill on their way out, less experienced players will need to fill roles. 

Bowman hopes to bring this experience to younger offensive linemen, such as freshmen Alexander Morrill and Andrew Lauderdale, junior George Kallas, and redshirt Curtis Nealer

"We got a lot of young guys playing who aren't really sure what to do, but it's great that they are getting the experience now," Bowman said, referring to the spring practices. "Now is the time to fit into those roles and figure out the little things in the spring. I'm excited to get [the injured players] back, and I'm excited for the guys getting experience."

Bowman knows well what it is like to be a young offensive tackle beginning a college football career.

"[High school to college football] is a tough transition, I've been there before. Really gotta just make sure you're doing your job, and don't worry about anything else," Bowman said. "[You have to think about] the defense, if this blitz is coming, what the play is going to do. That's just football. You have to get your mind off work, school, relationships, family and make sure you're focused on your responsibility." 

Working with quarterback Sean Goldrich is as familiar to Bowman as his position at left tackle. The two played together in high school at Notre Dame High School (West Haven, Conn.). 

"This has got to be close to my eighth year playing football with [Goldrich], and it's comforting to have him behind me," Bowman said. "He's a great offensive leader and he makes good reads and good calls."

Muller looks at his own captaincy in terms of carrying on the tradition of great players who came before him. He plans to live up to his team's expectations after they selected him as one of the captains. 

"It's a great honor to be respected by my teammates," Muller said.  

Muller will be a six-year veteran of Wildcat football after being redshirted for a second season by the NCAA on a medical hardship waver. 

He plans to put that experience to use as captain in what will be his third season as a starter on the defensive line. 

"It's awesome having been around the game so long. I've been around our system. I've seen guys ... from the past," Muller said. "[I've been] taking bits from all of them ... lead by example, lead vocally on the field and off the field." 

"We're really excited to have Muller back [for a sixth year]," Bowman said. "He's a great player and a great leader." 

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