Minnesota will host a baseball regional for the first time since 2000 this weekend at Siebert Field. Gopher football punter and Mortell Holder of the Year Finalist Jacob Herbers has been with the baseball team all season long while balancing his football and class schedule as well. We caught up with the recent Big Ten champion before the big weekend.
Gopher Sports: How do you balance football and baseball?
Jacob Herbers: They always talk about student-athletes having to manage their time, but it goes to an extreme level when you have to manage two sports and an engineering degree on top of that. It turns into a lot of 16-hour days straight. If you’re not at practice or not eating and sleeping, you’re studying, and then trying to fit in some type of life beyond all that is tough. Especially in the preseason when you have both football and baseball going on, it’s a lot of working out, and a lot of late nights, and trying to get as much sleep as you can.
GS: How do the coaches work with you so you can play both sports?
JH: The best way to describe it is football is the main priority, so I can’t miss any football related activities. I fit baseball around that. The baseball coaches are really understanding of that. I’m just very fortunate that Coach Anderson allows me to do that and allows me to continue to be on the team and work around the football schedule to make it to as much stuff as I can.
GS: What has it been like to be around the success of the baseball squad?
JH: It’s really special to be around this team. They’re such a big family and are always welcoming to everyone. To be able to watch them play and tag along with their success is really a lot of fun. To be able to be there and encourage them and understand their daily process and their daily grind. I also get to share my football perspective with them and build that bond that we’ll have for the rest of our lives.
GS: What was it like to win the Big Ten Tournament and now be hosting the NCAA Regional?
JH: This weekend is going to be huge. Every guy on the team is super pumped for this weekend. We always have our team goals and the culture that we’ve established, especially this senior class, we’ve won Big Ten regular season two years ago and went to a regional, so to see how they work and how hard they’ve worked to achieve those goals that they’ve set for themselves is great. The end goal is the College World Series. We’ve been talking about Omaha since the beginning of the season and that’s where we want to end up. A regional isn’t good enough for these guys. We’re shooting higher, we’re going to aim higher and we’re working hard to make it there.
GS: You got into a game last year and rowed the boat at first base. What was that moment like?
JH: That was awesome. The guys on the baseball team loved it when I did the “Row the Boat.” It was awesome to get out on the field for a couple innings. I redshirted my freshman year in both football and baseball and it was always my goal to be able to play in both sports. To get the opportunity to get to do that was awesome.
GS: How were you able to get on the field for two sports as a collegiate athlete?
JH: You always have to have that belief that it’s attainable. You’re going to have those 16-hour days where you wake up at 5:00 a.m. to get up for 6:00 a.m. workouts for football and still have baseball practice in the afternoon and you think, ‘Why am I doing this?’ It’s a big time commitment both physically and mentally, and it takes a lot out of you, but it’s definitely worth it.
GS: Will there be a lot of football guys a Siebert this weekend?
JH: Oh yeah, there will be tons of guys out there.
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