LFN: Did you have a pretty busy class schedule this year?
S Sam McCloskey: I got here late today as well. Tuesday through Thursday is pretty busy. Monday and Friday, actually, I'll have class.
LFN: What are you studying now? And how has that been integrating with football?
SMC: An MBA type of technical entrepreneurship. There's definitely a lot to it, a lot of hours. So at times it's actually been tough, you know, kind of balancing football practice and whatnot. But it's completely different than undergrad programs, really hands on. I like it a lot. We get to work on our own venture. So I'm trying to work on that and we'll see where that goes.
LFN: Do you have anything lined up for the future?
SMC: Probably end up in construction or real estate, something like that. That's where my interest has been, you know, throughout college. So that's cool.
LFN: How do you manage the Rivalry distractions? What do you tell the younger players?
SMC: I think the tradition has been here for so long within the program. This week, we're really just focused on the game and having gone into all the hoopla and all that stuff. I tell them that it's a gig game. It's gonna mean a lot to the community and a lot of people back on campus. It's going to be hectic and crazy, you're going to be exposed to different stuff. But you guys need to stay grounded, you know, because like I said, we're going out and we're playing on Saturday. It's not our week to go party and whatnot.
LFN: This season, things have turned around on defense. Talk about how it's transformed over the time you came in here.
SMC: I think it's a lot of different things. It's all a process. And I think the process started years ago with the guys on this defense. We've got more confidence. We worked harder in the offseason, got a new defensive staff, a very aggressive staff. So you when you put all those things together, good things happen and you've seen it so far.
LFN: Talk about LB Keith Woetzel.
SMC: He's awesome. He had a really, really good year last year and he didn't get a lot of credit for it because there's a lot of good backers in the league. But I think this year, you know, just watching game film, seeing other defenses play other teams, Keith's solidified himself as the best linebacker in the league. He just has such a nose for the ball, his IQ, and he works really hard. You gotta cheer for a guy that works really hard and puts it on the field on Saturday.
LFN: Kind of like you. What is your leadership style as team captain?
SMC: Not micromanaging, but really making a connection with the guys here and there as you go throughout the year. And once a guy can trust you and know that you believe in them, it's a lot easier to lead. I'm not the biggest rah rah guy. But I say stuff when I need to. I think it's all about those relationships, the connections you make with each other.
LFN: What does the Rivalry mean to you?
SMC: I mean, it means a lot to me. It's really cool, being potentially my last game. That means a lot in itself. But for it to be the Leh/Laf rivalry makes it that much sweeter. A lot of people are invested in it. You know, alumni, people around Lehigh, that means a lot to them. So, I mean, you're going out there representing a lot more than just yourself and the current team you're representing, Lehigh players for years and years behind us. Yeah. So many people.