With Dennis Pitta emerging as a go-to tight end in the passing game and Andrew George showing consistency, Vic So’oto was left with a major personal decision to make. He wanted to contribute to the program. He wanted to make an impact for himself and his teammates. Seeing that it would be tough to find extensive playing time at tight end, and that MWC First-Team linebacker Bryan Kehl was moving on to the NFL, So’oto made the move to linebacker.
So’oto’s move has added speed and depth to the position. His presence has been noticed by anyone who has been present at the beginning of fall practice, and his teammates, such as defensive leader Jan Jorgensen, have some very positive things to say about him.
“Vic helps us out a lot with just the energy that he plays with,” Jorgensen said. “He gives us a spark that we haven’t had. He makes some noise, which is a lot of fun.”
As one can imagine, the transition from one side of the ball to the other is a major adjustment, but So’oto has done it with pride and effort. However, he knows that that he does not have to make the adjustment only on his own efforts. After all, this is a “Band Of Brothers.”
“There is a lot of support we have here with Jan, David [Tafuna], Kellen [Fowler] and David Nixon,” said So’oto. “And Coach Lamb is a great coach, so it has been easy.”
One of the big differences for So’oto between playing offense and playing defense is the setup of practice in general.
“Every practice you have to bring it,” said So’oto. “At the beginning of practice Coach [Mendenhall] tries to get us tired … so we will be tired at the end of practice when we have scrimmage. We have to play well when we are tired. It’s being mentally tough. It’s rewarding, you know. It feels good to get that sack.”
In addition to learning a new scheme, So’oto has had to adjust to different conditioning goals after switching to defense.
“Conditioning is the biggest thing,” said So’oto. “Being able to make it out here defensively through a whole practice is a big thing.”
So’oto also said that there is a new mindset that comes with playing defense.
“Its definitely different, you know,” said So’oto. “Having the mindset that it’s being out there for three plays and getting off is definitely a major difference.”
Anytime there is an athlete that unselfishly makes a major decision to better a team, fans all feel like they have to cheer for them. But as for Vic So’oto, one doesn’t have to make themselves hope for the best for him. Instead, it comes when they see and feel the positive energy he brings and the enthusiasm that he plays with.
“Vic seems reborn and is having a great camp,” said Coach Mendenhall.
One word that is constantly uttered by those involved with football is ‘adjustments.’ Without evaluations and subsequent adjustments, it is nearly impossible to find success no matter what field or vocation an individual may be in. With this position move, Vic So’oto embodies the principles of evaluation and adjustments.
Hopefully the adjustment that So’oto has made at the “halftime” - if you will - of his collegiate career will bring him the success that he deserves.