NFL veteran Dave Wohlabaugh proud but nervous watching his son play at UK and understands the work it takes to succeed

Nine-year NFL veteran and Super Bowl champion Dave Wohlabaugh was a typical father when he watched his son, David, make his first start for the University of Kentucky against Miami of Ohio.

“It was probably everything I expected. I was super excited, proud and happy for him but also incredibly nervous at the same time,” Wohlabaugh, a NFL center who started 128 straight games in nine seasons, said. “But I also know once you get the opportunity, the real work starts. It was a great night in a lot of ways, but I wish it had been better in other ways. Still, making that first start was a really big deal.”

David Wohlabaugh is a 6-6, 305-pound redshirt freshman left tackle. He was rated the nation’s No. 53 offensive guard by ESPN and No. 67 tackle by 247sports coming out of high school in Ohio.

When Kentucky plays at Florida Saturday night, Wohlabaugh will not be in the starting lineup. Instead, senior Kenneth Horsey is shifting from guard to left tackle and Wohlabaugh will back up starting right tackle Jeremy Flax.

Dave Wohlabaugh said after the game he watched his son’s performance more as a father than a NFL veteran critiquing him.

“I don’t sit through meetings and schemes they are trying to teach them,” the former NFL player said. “I never question why this is going on. I do look at things that you always can get better at whether it was a sack, quarterback pressure or just something you did not do as well as you need to.”

“Having the background I do from a technique standpoint I might say look at this on film and tell me what you think. Technique has not changed a lot but I do not get into schemes. The UK coaches do a great job. I am no different than 65,000 other fans that were watching the game in the stadium.”

His father did coach the UK redshirt freshman when he was younger and tried to stress “big picture stuff” to him. He helped him become a student of the game.

“He has always had a good, calm demeanor,” Dave Wohlabaugh said. “Playing left tackle in the SEC is difficult no matter what team you are on. I tell him you can’t be perfect but you want to be good consistently. He does a good job taking that approach and you just hope you win more battles than you lose. You just have to keep grinding.”

Dave Wohlabaugh thought his son’s mistakes were correctable and knows playing one game helps any player, especially considering his son played in only one game in 2021.

“That was a learning lesson, kind of like drinking through a fire hose. Now he has a better understanding of what to expect,” the former NFL offensive lineman said. “As a former player, I always thought week one in college football was the most difficult because you do not have a body of film to look at on the guys you are playing against. Now you have a chance to study individuals you will be going against.”

Before he knew the depth chart had changed, Dave Wohlabaugh said he told his son to “give his all” and if he got the starting nod, great. If not, then be ready to go when he gets his chance to play.

“If I have anything to share or help him, I will. But it’s mainly just trusting the work you have done,” Dave Wohlabaugh said. “Coaches put you in position to win. Believe in the process and just keep playing. Whatever happens, happens. Just be ready to do your best.”

This content was originally published here.

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