Elevating his game | TheUnion.com

Elevating his game

Eric Niederberger isn’t too worried about his standing coming into his first college football season with Colorado State.

The 2010 Nevada Union graduate understands his place and is ready to work hard.

“I know I’m not going to be starting this year,” said Niederberger, who stands 6 feet, 1 inch tall, and weighs 210 pounds.

Niederberger, a defensive linebacker, expects to learn from Ricky Brewer, a fifth-year senior who he has been told will start ahead of him.

Brewer did not play last year because he was suspended by the NCAA prior to the season. As a sophomore, he was an All-American and honorable mention All-Mountain West choice, leading the team and ranking fifth in the conference with 8.7 tackles per game (104 total, 56 solo).

The NU grad racked up accolades of his own during his team’s impressive runs the past two seasons.

In his senior season at Nevada Union, Niederberger made 107 tackles, 68 of which were solo stops, nine sacks and one interception returned for a touchdown. His hard work earned him recognition as the Delta Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

But that was then.

Now, he’s busy figuring out the Colorado State way.

“I’m trying to learn the system and learn the defense as well,” Niederberger said. “Physically, I came in shape.”

But, he noted, the higher elevation took a little getting used to conditioning wise. While generally speaking, Grass Valley is at 2,500 feet, Fort Collins, Colo., where Colorado State is located, is double that, at 5,000 feet in elevation.

“Yes, it was noticeable,” Niederberger said. “It didn’t take long to get in (conditioning) shape.”

Beyond that, weightlifting and conditioning work are simply more intense at the college level, as Niederberger has already seen.

“I’m making an adjustment to everything,” Niederberger said.

Niederberger hopes the Rams can adjust their way to the top of the Mountain West Conference after a difficult year in 2009.

“We’re a really athletic team with a good rookie class,” Niederberger said. “We’ll definitely be a competitor, but obviously I’m a little biased.”

Colorado State finished at the bottom of the Mountain West last year with a 0-8 record in the conference and 3-9 record overall.

Contact Sports Writer Greg Moberly via e-mail at gmoberly@theunion.com or by phone at 477-4234.

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