UW's 'Big Cat' Vital To Defense's Success

Aug. 28, 2000


Baseball player Andres Galarraga has the nickname of "Big Cat."

If the University of Wyoming's defense is to be successful this season, itwill need its "Big Cat" to be on the prowl.

The Cowboys' "Big Cat" is senior strong-side linebacker Adrian Hill. UWcoach Vic Koenning gave Hill that nickname when he recruited him out of highschool in Cedar Hill, Texas.

Koenning was the Cowboys' defensive coordinator when he recruited Hill.

"Coach Koenning gave me that nickname because he said I had quick feet,"Hill said. "When he was recruiting me, he wrote me a letter and the front ofit had 'Big Cat' on it. He asked if I liked it and I did."

Hill's quick feet and athletic ability have helped him make 61 tackles,seven tackles for losses and three fumble recoveries the past two seasons.This will be the second straight season Hill will start at strong-sidelinebacker. As a sophomore, he backed up bandit (combinationlinebacker/defensive end) Patrick Chukwurah.

When you talk about UW's defense, names like Chukwurah, noseguard Jeff Boyleand safety Al Rich (recently moved to running back) get most of theattention.

"The media may overlook him, but guys on this team don't," said Chukwurah,UW's defensive captain. "Like all of us, he has a role on this defense, andwe need him to fulfill his role."

Position coach Jim Pletcher, said Hill has shown great improvement throughspring and fall camps.

"Adrian has done an excellent job responding to coaching and making himselfa better player," Pletcher said. "Technically, he's gotten a lot better withhis fundamentals, which is going to make him a better football player.

"The outside linebacker position for us is vital because the player has tobe a guy who makes big plays for us. Adrian is that type of guy."

During spring and fall drills, Hill proved his big-play prowess with fourquarterback sacks.

Still, he said he has to prove himself.

"The first couple of years I was here, I moved around a lot," Hill said. "Ibacked up Chukwurah at bandit my first year. My second year I had a coachwho had never coached (strong-side linebackers) before, so it felt like Iwas out there playing by myself.

"This year I feel good about myself. I've been up there the whole summerworking out.

"I feel good about the coaching staff and the techniques they've beenteaching me. I feel like I'm going to contribute big this year. I'm justwaiting to show everybody that I am here."

Name: Adrian Hill
Year at UW: Senior
Position: Strong-side linebacker
Height/weight: 6-2, 229
Hometown: Cedar Hill, Texas
Favorite food: Pork chops.
Favorite music group: R&B. "I'm a slow-music type of guy. I don't like allthat fast and rap music."
Hobbies: Fishing.
Football hero: Bill Romanowski. "His technique and his toughness going outthere every game. I like to watch him play and try to take what he does tohelp me."
Top UW highlight: "(The 1998 game) at UNLV. We were in overtime and Irecovered a fumble to help us win the game. I picked up the ball and sawnothing but green in front of me. I knew I was going to make the biggestplay of the game. But someone came and tripped me up."