Oregon defensive lineman Arik Armstead played for the men’s basketball team as recently this past season, but in late January, he decided to leave the team to focus on football. Armstead, who’s going into his junior season with the Ducks, talked with the Emerald after Friday’s practice about leaving the basketball team, his offseason and former basketball teammate Johnathan Loyd, who is now his teammate on the football team.
How’s your offseason gone?
“It’s been going good. I worked hard in the winter, trying to get stronger and faster and try to take that into the spring.”
Has quitting basketball helped you as a football player?
“Definitely. Being around my teammates more and lifting a lot more than I would have definitely helped me.”
What was your reaction to the Oregon men’s basketball team’s NCAA tournament loss to Wisconsin?
“It was a rough loss. I felt like they could have beaten them, but basketball is a game of runs and Wisconsin went on a little run, so they couldn’t come back.”
Did you talk with any of the Oregon players after that?
“Yeah, I talked with some of the players. I see them on campus all the time. I didn’t really talk to them much about the season though, just saying what’s up.”
Did you talk to Joseph Young before he decided to stay at Oregon?
“No, I didn’t. I’d seen Joe a couple of times. We’re real cool, and I felt like he made the best decision for his career.”
Did you talk to Johnathan Loyd before he joined the football team?
“No, I didn’t know. He popped up at practice and everybody was telling me he was going to try out. But of course, now we’re together. It’s pretty cool.”
How surprising was it to see him out there for his first practice?
“It was pretty surprising. I know he was really good in high school, but he hasn’t played football in a while and he was good out there. It was surprising at first, but he’s one of the team now.”
How has he played?
“He’s been doing well for not playing football for so long and trying to get back into the swing of things. I think he’ll be just fine.”
Have you given him any advice and/or talked smack?
“I don’t play his position, so there’s not too much advice I can offer to him. I just try to help him in any way I can.”
Follow Victor Flores on Twitter @vflores415