Q&A: Daniel Laudermilk, MSU Mustangs linebacker

Brianna Sheen

Linebacker Daniel Laudermilk, a senior in history, yells with other football players on one of the first full days of practice, Aug. 13. Photo by Bradley Wilson.
Linebacker Daniel Laudermilk, a senior in history, yells with other football players on one of the first full days of practice, Aug. 13. Photo by Bradley Wilson.

Daniel Laudermilk is a linebacker on the football team and a team captain. With summer practices ending and the first game only about two weeks away, The Wichitan asked him a few questions.

You and many of the 138 players on the roster have been practicing a lot in the summer heat. What has been the highlight of summer football for you?

The highlight of summer football has been the intensity and the progression in our summer workouts with our head strength coach (Jake Landon). This summer in comparison with the last four and a half years that I’ve been here has been 100 percent the hardest, not just because of the weather, but because of the intensity of the workouts in the weight room and out on the field. Our strength coach stepped out and the highlight has been the number of kids out there busting their tails every day. We’re more prepared now for this season than any season we’ve ever had since I’ve been here.

What should the fans watch for in that first home game Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. against Truman State?

Just a lot of hard-hitting from the defense. We have a lot of fast guys coming back on the defense, some big guys too on the front line. On offense we have a great wide receiver core so there’s going to be some explosive plays, some big passes. We have a bunch of young running backs and then we have Dante Taylor whose one of the best running backs in the Lone Star Conference. Watch for him. Watch for Quade Coward and Hagen Hutchison, two of our quarterbacks. Hagen’s explosive running the ball and he’s a good passer. Quade is a great passer all the same and a great runner. Our offense should be just as explosive as our defense.

In a pre-season poll, coaches, sports information directors and media picked MSU to finish third in the Lone Star Conference of seven teams coming in behind Eastern New Mexico and Angelo State. Why?

Normally the pre-season poll is picked on results from last year and a little bit of who’s coming back. Eastern New Mexico was picked to finish sixth in the LSC two years ago and they won it. Even though we’re picked third, and that’s not where we want to be, we want to be first in every section of the LSC, including defense, offense, all of that, it’s just a little motivation going into the season. Taking it with a grain of salt overall and moving on.

Last year, the team wen 6-4 overall and 5-2 in conference play. What should the fans look forward to this season, first on offense then on defense to improve the record?

We went 6-4 last year and that’s not at all where we want to be. And we lost two home games which is not like us at all. This team is a lot more mature than that team.

Now, let’s talk a little about you. You’ve been playing Texas football for quite a few years now, including starting for three years at Austin High School. What got you started in football?

I played golf for a while and it just wasn’t a type of sport that was for me. I just had a lot of aggression when I was younger. He decided to put me in more of a contact sport when I was really young. In Austin there’s a bunch of good select teams. That started me off. I fell in love with the camaraderie and all of the stuff that comes with playing football including the hardships and the glory and the victory.

Absolutely it’s a passion. It has to be a passion if you’re going to play it for as long as any of the five-year or four-year seniors that are on this team or even most of the guys that are halfway through. It’s the passion that keeps someone playing a sport like this. If they don’t have that passion, they normally quit.

If you could give one piece of advice to the new football recruits, what would it be?

Enjoy your freshman year if you do redshirt. It’s a lot of fun. You don’t have as much responsibility on Saturdays. You do during the week when we’re practicing. Enjoy yourself as a true freshman. Enjoy yourself and still remain focused on academics. An extremely important thing is to remain focused on academics for your core classes for the first two years. To the incoming recruits: Don’t be down if you redshirt. Be up if you don’t. Enjoy yourselves while you have less responsibility.

How do you balance that mix of when it’s time to crack down and when it’s time to have fun?

That was tough for me because I enjoy having fun more than I do being serious. Over the years, maturing, having to cut off situations that are becoming a joke or may be hurting someone’s feelings.

Learning the times when you can see someone who is physically or emotionally down and knowing that I need to be there for that guy. Maybe I can go with him to get food or sit him down and talk to him. That’s just maturity in growing up and seeing so many people come in and out of the program and being able to recognize when somebody needs your help and when you just need to back off.

You’re majoring in history, with a minor in mass communication / public relations. What are your plans after college?

After I graduate, I am planning on working at becoming a sports personality, possibly getting into broadcasting or marketing for a sports channel, maybe going to Fox Sports Southwest in Houston or KLBJ in Austin. My ultimate goal would be have some recognition as a sports personality or broadcaster.