1 Day At A Time For UNLV Safety Evan Austrie

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One of the stars of UNLV‘s season-opening game against the Southern Utah University that was played on August 31st was Senior safety Evan Austrie, who had the first sack of his Rebel career. This was also UNLV’s first sack of the season. Austrie is coming off of a season in which he had 66 tackles, including 3 tackles for loss, 3 passes broken up, and a forced fumble. Through three games this season he also has one pass break up and 24 tackles. This means he is on pace for 96 tackles, and 4 PBUs, which would both be career highs for the senior safety.

Austrie said his first sack felt good and he felt he set the tone of the game for the UNLV defense. “It’s big. We just wanted to come out fast, so I think I set the tone there and the defense picked up from there we did a good job executing,” Austrie added.

Besides being on pace for career highs in multiple categories, he won a lot of defensive play of the day awards from Defensive Coordinator Tim Skipper when he posted them on Twitter during UNLV’s Fall Football Camp. Austrie said “I expected to play like that. I’m not going to let it get to my head. I’m just going to keep on working and I just want to do it again–keep on rolling.”

Photo courtesy of Zimbio

The Senior safety is not letting it get to his head since the Rebels currently stand at 1-2, with their only win coming against Southern Utah, a 56-23 trouncing of the Thunderbirds. However, Austrie has kept up his production over the first three games, having 7 tackles against Arkansas State and 8 against BIG-10 foe Northwestern. He had 9 tackles and a sack against the Thunderbirds. Even though he is keeping his production up, he said he needs to work on his missed tackles.

“I had like 19 missed tackles last year. I really want to cut that number down,” Austrie said emphatically.

Nineteen missed tackles is a lot, especially in the back end of the defense and he is determined to cut that number down. He said it starts by watching more film and getting into the facility earlier, preparing himself for each day by putting in more work. He is not a finished product by any means, and he knows that as well. He said, “I come in the facility a lot earlier now, like an hour before meetings even start. I make sure I get a good stretch in. I make sure I am eating. I’m just taking care of my body the best I can.”

Another thing Austrie did say is the whole team is working on missed tackles. For Austrie, in particular, to get to where he wants to be, he needs to work on that. So far, he is on pace for an improved season in that category with the defense looking much more aggressive this season than last. They are not afraid of making the big plays, fighting for every yard, and finishing tackles.

Photo courtesy of Zimbio

Austrie has not had a season in which he has been fully healthy and played in every game. While he started 11 games in 2018, he also only played in those 11. In 2017 he played in 7 games and in 2016 he started 2 and played in 8. All in all, it points to the fact that Austrie has not been healthy for a full season in his Rebel career. He is trying to do everything he can to stay healthy by taking things, “day to day” especially now that Free Safety Drew Tejchman is out for the season with a torn LCL.

Austrie is a big part of the defense, winning the competition for the starting strong safety position over Bryce Jackson who won multiple defensive player of the day awards during the Rebels Fall Football Camp. “In order for me to be able to play the full season, I have to take extra precautions such as taking care of my body, getting in the ice tub, stretching before and after practice, really just taking care of my body,” Austrie said.

With it being his senior year, Evan Austrie is looking to leave a mark on the Rebels. With the mentality that Austrie has, he knows he has to lay everything on the field. He said he has to, “just play every game like it’s [my] last.”

 

Evan Austrie

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