Albury Motivates Himself, Former Teammates to Success - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Albury Motivates Himself, Former Teammates to Success

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MORGANTOWN -

Spring break for the WVU football team gave many of the student-athletes a chance to get away from it all. It was a brief hiatus from classes and workouts and two weeks of spring practice.

Imarjaye Albury used his week off to go back home to Miami, Fla. to speak at his high school.

When you think about it, that is exactly what he should be doing this time of year.

Albury enrolled early at West Virginia, so while his senior classmates at Northwestern High are preparing for college, he is already wrapping up his first semester.

Stephen Field had recently taken over as head coach of Albury's prep team and invited the Mountaineer back to his old stomping grounds to share some of the wisdom a few months of collegiate athletics had given him.

"He gave me the opportunity to talk to the team, which was awesome," Albury says. "Basically what I told them was to take advantage of the offseason because in college, the offseason is the hardest part."

This is something he learned the hard way. In the middle of getting accustomed to a new town and new classes, Albury was getting worn down by the winter workout program that would prepare him for the spring.

He says he told his old teammates that "walking around with a gut ain't pretty anymore," and that despite the success he has found, he wishes he could go back and do more in high school to rid himself of any regrets he may carry with him today.

"It's hard work once you get up here to this level, so I talked to them specifically and let them know to take advantage of every opportunity – in the weight room, on the field, because when you get here, it's no joke at all," says Albury.

The advice he dishes out is based on what he has experienced in just a few short months in Morgantown. Each practice, defensive line coach Erik Slaughter can be seen and heard ripping into Albury, demanding that he do better.

If the freshman fails to complete a drill precisely the way it was meant to be done, Slaughter makes him go again and again until he is satisfied.

"That's exactly what I want," Albury admits. "I don't want anybody taking it easy on me and that's what I was looking for in a coach coming in. That just lets me know that he cares about me, he wants to see me get better and that makes me want to get better and appreciate him more."

Albury believes the reason Slaughter demands perfection is because the rest of the line has performed so well and Slaughter does not want Albury to look like a freshman compared to his teammates.

But he is, and if things were not coming to him at the same rate as the players lining up alongside him, it would be understandable. As his coach continues to push him, though, he begins to realize that he is being given the opportunity to compete for playing time and it is up to him to take advantage of it.

He fights to come off the line vertically and use his hands and his strength against the opposing offensive line. He works with the strength staff to get rid of that unpretty gut he spoke of in Miami and develop into the size that will give him the biggest presence this fall.

More than all those physical changes, he is improving his mindset.

"It's not just the weight room and technique, it's confidence and just having that dog in you. It all comes together when you're going against big guys like Josh Jenkins," Albury says of the senior offensive lineman. "Those guys go hard, they come at you hard and they won't take it easy on you just because you're a freshman. So you've got to feel like if I don't go hard, he's going to run me over and I'm going to be embarrassed in front of my teammates."

He has no intention of being embarrassed.

In just a few short weeks of spring practice, Albury has pushed his way past more veteran teammates to find himself as the primary backup at nose tackle on the staff's most recent depth chart.

"I'm just grateful right now that coach has that trust in me to be the backup," says Albury. "But that doesn't make me stop – it just motivates me to keep working. I'm a freshman right now and there are going to be freshmen coming in [this summer], so there's no room for just stopping."

It is the mentality he brings with him each day and it is the message he shared with Northwestern High School when given the chance over spring break.

In order to ensure that his college career is devoid of the regrets he says he feels about his past, he approaches every workout and every practice with an attitude that allows no room for defeat – the same attitude he hopes to introduce to offensive linemen in the Big 12.

"I'm not going to let this guy demolish me," he says. "I'm going to demolish him. I'm going to give it my all."

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