By Alex Norman
From time to time we like to catch an area athlete for a quick question and answer session. Recently The Knoxville Focus spoke one on one with Gibbs offensive lineman Ollie Lane, who has verbally committed to Tennessee’s Class of 2018. Lane chose Tennessee over Virginia Tech and Duke, among others.
Knoxville Focus: Well the first question is the obvious one… Why Tennessee? What appealed to you about being a Tennessee Volunteer?
Ollie Lane: Well honestly I’ve been a Vols fan my whole life. My Dad grew up here so… orange ran in the blood. It was just a dream for me to have the opportunity to be about to play college football, and it was a bigger dream to be able to play at Tennessee. So it is something that I have wanted to happen for a long time.
KF: Is it kind of the best of both worlds… that you get to play at a major SEC program and you get to do it close to home where your friends and family can see you play anytime they want?
OL: That was one of the huge reasons why I chose Tennessee. I get to stay in the great state of Tennessee, 20 minutes from my home town. Everyone around here is a Vols fan anyway.
KF: What is Tennessee’s coaching staff telling you about their expectations for you and what they want to see you work on during your senior season here at Gibbs?
OL: They got a lot of big expectations for me. Coach Wells has given me a layout of how he wants to build me into a bully… use me in a big way for the offensive line, get in there at center a little bit… I’ve been working on my snapping. They’ve given me some tips and hopefully I can use those and make a big impact.
KF: I know you want to be an early enrollee. How much of an advantage would that be to get to campus in January as opposed to June?
OL: I think it would be huge, honestly… I started looking at graduating early last year to give me a head start against all the other signees in that class. Would propel me forward to get an earlier look at the field.
KF: Let’s talk about this Gibbs football team. Last year you guys got to the second round of the 5A playoffs. I know that this season you not only want to get back to the postseason… but advance even further…
OL: We’ve got big expectations for this team. We only graduated about seven seniors. This is my senior year and I want to go out with a bang. We have been striving… we have been in the playoffs for many years but never getting past the first round. Last year we cracked the second round for the first time and it opened the door for a bigger and better year.
KF: What would it mean to this Gibbs community to have this Eagles team make a serious run in the playoffs?
OL: It would be huge. On a Friday night this place is packed. People are standing all along the fence… the band is playing the student section is loud… it would be huge for this community and I think we have something cooking for them.
KF: And finally, is this bitter sweet? Knowing that Tennessee is about to begin but your time at Gibbs is coming to an end?
OL: It is a little bitter sweet. I’ve spent a great four years here. I’ve been around this program for a long time with my brother playing here four years before me. I’m gonna miss it a lot. I’m definitely gonna miss it. Last chance to play with my friends that I grew up with so I want to make it big with them.