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Uso Olive makes switch from nose tackle defensive tackle with Wyoming this season


LARAMIE, Wyoming — Asked how he'd describe to someone who's never seen the 6-foot-1, 301-pound junior, Wyoming defensive tackles coach Pete Kaligis drew a blank.

"That's a great question," Kaligis said, stroking his chin as he searched for an answer.

A recommendation: Olive is strong. Really, really strong.

On Friday, a video surfaced of the Federal Way, Washington, native squatting 765 pounds. By comparison, that's just about four times the weight of 192-pound redshirt freshman strong safety

The video eventually garnered more than 300,000 combined views across social media platforms, briefly bringing Wyoming into the national spotlight.

"It was amazing to see (the video go viral) because there was a guy from an (NCAA Division II) college that SportsCenter posted and he squatted 720," Olive said. "(Director of sports performance Zach Duval) was like, 'That's nothing,' and he tagged me in the video on SportsCenter's Facebook page. I guess (Fox Sports) got a hold of coach Duval and he sent them that video and they were just like, 'Oh, my God.' That national recognition is nice. It brought a lot of attention to me on social media and what not."

The better effect comes on the playing field, where Olive's strength is helping him transition from nose tackle to defensive tackle.

"He's just so strong," junior nose tackle said. "When he really wants to go, he throws people to the ground. It's not even funny. It's pretty cool to watch."

Last season, Olive split time with Appleby at nose tackle, recording 20 tackles, including three for loss.

The position is one he embraced but didn't always enjoy because nose tackles are often asked to occupy multiple blockers rather than make tackles.

At the defensive tackle position, he'll have more opportunities to go at a single offensive lineman. And few can match his powerful physique.

"The whole one-on-one thing (at defensive tackle) is amazing because as a nose you take a lot of double- and triple-teams," Olive said, "so that can get very taxing and frustrating because you feel like you're not making plays."

As a prep standout — while being suited by Arizona State and Washington State, among others — Olive set all sorts of Federal Way High School weightlifting records.

But when he arrived at Wyoming, he could "only" squat 505 pounds.

"And I was so excited about that," Olive said, laughing.

So, obviously, he's added muscle to his frame during his time in Laramie.

But Olive sees his comfort level as his biggest improvement. For the first time in his college career, he's running the same defensive scheme.

And he'll be doing it with a few fellow veterans.

"It has nothing to do with the numbers," he said. "Just knowing that Eddie (Yarbrough) and Siaosi (Hala'api'api) and Chase are right next to me, it just gives me a little more sense of security. I can depend on those guys and they can most definitely depend on me."

Kaligis sees a heightened understanding in Olive as well.

It's been apparent through nine days of fall camp.

"He's been doing really well," Kaligis said. "I think he's feeling a lot more comfortable with it this fall camp; a lot more comfortable than in the spring. He's trusting his technique and his keys, and that's the main thing."

In Wyoming's defense, the two ends typically rack up bigger numbers and garner recognition. Olive's strength — not to mention his squatting ability — are helping him begin to finally stand out.

Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune,

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