T Andrew Thomas -- August 19, 2020
Q: What is it about the pro game thus far that kind of has surprised you a little bit? Is it the speed, is it the intensity? What do you think is the biggest shocker to you?
A: I would say how developed everyone is at their positions. In college, if you are faster and stronger and you know your assignment, you usually do well. At this level, there is so much technique that you have to learn. There are so many things before the snap, before the ball even hikes. I think that’s the biggest adjustment.
Q: You have been cross training at right tackle and left tackle. How has that gone for you, knowing you can’t settle into one position and you have to alternate between left hand and right hand, left foot and right foot and so forth?
A: That’s how Coach Judge teaches it. He wants us to be able to help the team in any way we can. If I can play right, I will play right, if I have to play left, even if I have to move inside, I’m just doing my best to help the team.
Q: How helpful was Nate Solder to you in the spring? What was your reaction when he opted out?
A: During the springtime, I got to talk to him a little bit. I’m kind of sad I didn’t get to meet him in person. Obviously, he made the best decision for his family. I wish him the best and I’m praying for him.
Q: Do you think that put some added pressure on you? The veteran guy that was supposed to be here is gone and you are kind of next up.
A: Not necessarily, I’m just working every day to get better. There are a lot of older guys like Cam Fleming, Kevin Zeitler, guys that I am leaning on. I’m just trying to get better at my position.
Q: You have had a couple practices in pads now. How would you assess how it’s gone so far? Particularly last night, we saw some good and some bad from you. How would you assess last night’s practice?
A: A lot of work to do. There was some good, some bad, like you said. The biggest thing for me is just working the new technique Coach Colombo is teaching. Making sure I’m reading my keys right. Like I said, just try to get better each and every day.
Q: Do you think it was important to show people, that first one where you got knocked down a little bit, that you can bounce back from that? That you can come back from a play like that?
A: That’s just the mentality. It was a great rep by Lorenzo. Honestly, it’s the next play mentality. I have to come back and do my best to win the next rep.
Q: Coach Colombo talked last week about the relationship you guys are building. I’m curious from your perspective, how much have you guys been able to bond when you were not in person. When he is able to go out there and show you exactly what he wants versus maybe telling you, does that have an impact and help you accelerate getting to where he wants you to go?
A: It plays a big role. He can actually, like you said, show us exactly what he wants. What’s the steps, what’s the hand placement, and it relays the message a little bit better for us than just having somebody saying what they want. As far as building a relationship, we are starting to grow closer, during this time. Over zoom, it was a little bit harder to build a relationship, it’s starting to get better now.
Q: Coach Colombo talked to us the other day and he said there are few deficiencies in your game at this point. What are the things that those deficiencies might be and what are you focused on at this point?
A: For me, the biggest thing right now, especially in pass pro, is my hands. In college, I had a bad habit of having my hands outside my frame. I’m working on keeping my hands inside and getting a good strike. In the run, game just keep a good base. Sometimes I get a little too excited trying to get to the block. Just make sure I keep a good base each time.
Q: Veterans like to test the first-round picks on and off the field. Did you see guys Lorenzo and Markus Golden gearing up for you to make the team better by giving you their absolute best effort as a first-round pick? Off the field, too, I heard they tested out your singing voice. Tell us what that was like?
A: On the field, I don’t think they necessarily gear up. I think every time the ball snaps they are going hard, that’s the mentality they have. That’s the same mentality we have on the offensive side of the ball. Just try to be as physical as we can each time. Yeah, we had a little rookie deal and I had to sing a little bit. I think I held my own.
Q: What did you sing?
A: I sang “Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone.” That’s what I sang.