Over the previous couple of seasons, Tony Michalchuk earned a reputation as a special teams demon…all the while awaiting an opportunity to be a starting linebacker. With President’s Trophy winner, Taylor Wallace, graduating after last season, the opportunity was there for Tony to earn the starting WIL spot. “Back in spring camp the coaches said that I was in the mix of things, and would be one of the players competing for the starting spot,” Michalcuk explained about the situation. “It was there for me to earn and keep, or to lose. I worked my butt off in the off-season.”
Tony went on to comment about playing special teams, and transitioning to a starting linebacker. “I love playing special teams. That’s where I got my opportunity to be on the roster, and I’ve slowly progressed to where I am now. I love starting. It’s a rush that I’ve never felt before.” Tony has made the most of this opportunity, and currently leads the Huskies in tackles.
Defensive coordinator, and linebacker coach, Ed Carleton had praise for Michalchuk. “He’s filled in well. It’s nice when a kid like that gets the chance to play. He’s done lots of different things for us over the years, but never been a true, full time, starter. This year was his year to lock that up, and he has. He’s done some great things on the field for us.”
Michalchuk also has praise for his fellow linebackers, as well as the entire defense. “I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys to be out on the field with. Good things happen when we all do our job. Sometimes things just click, and so far it’s been working out this year. I have to share credit with the secondary and DLine. The DLinemen get in there and take on double teams. Us linebackers are able to fill our gaps. Sometimes we get there untouched, and sometimes we have to make some tricky plays. Nico has been a ball hawk. He’s on a streak,” Tony stated before jokingly adding, “It would be great to keep that going. Maybe if Peter or I can get a pick, we’ll throw it to him so he can keep the streak alive. Peter, Nico, and I have good chemistry in practice. We’ve been together for a couple of years now too, so we understand how each other plays.”