How things going for you now that you’re in Winnipeg?
“Everything’s going pretty good, I’m getting adjusting to the weather and getting used to everything.”
How did you first get contacted by Winnipeg?
“After I fired my first agent and hired Marc Lillibridge, the next day he called me and said you got a job with Winnipeg. Settled a couple of things and then flew out there.”
Was it a long trek for you to get up there?
“I left Tampa at 7:30 in the morning and took a flight to Denver, that was about 3 12 4 hours, and then took another flight to North Dakota, and drove through the border to Winnipeg. I’m not sure how long, but it took awhile.”
Being from sunny Florida, what’s the difference in the weather up there?
“Here it’s very unpredictable. The first day I got here it was raining like crazy, the wind was blowing and it was cold. Then the next day it was hot like eighty degrees, and then the next day it was raining. Today actually started off a little cold, and then the weather calmed down and it was hot. It’s nothing like Tampa where it’s nice almost every day. Here it was cloudy earlier and now there isn’t a cloud in the sky.”
What positions are you working out at?
“They got me at defensive tackle and also on special teams kick return, on the wedge.”
How has it been working out with another team besides USF for the first time in four years?
“It’s definitely a little different being up here and adjusting to the different rules. The field is much bigger, and you line up one-yard off the ball and that’s kind of strange and takes getting used to. But besides that I’m getting the hang of it every day. I’m definitely getting in better shape because there is a lot more running over here.”
What’s the hardest thing to get used to?
“The yard off the Ball is the hardest thing to get used to. Wherever the Ball is lined up, you have to be at least a yard away from the ball. I’m more of a power guy and I love to get my hands on a lineman and control him, but here it’s more of a reading game, read and react, and that takes a bit to get used to, but I’m getting better every day.”
Are there any other rules that you’re trying adjusting to?
“One difference from American football to Canadian rules is here they hardly ever call offensive holding on the lineman. Not unless you’re taking the guy to the ground or something. It’s more of an offense game and they’ll hold you all day. Also there are only three downs so it’s a little more throwing. The big thing is in American football, you have 45 seconds in between plays and here you only have 20. It’s a lot quicker paced.”
Have you been able to get acclimated to everything?
“The first day was hard getting adjusted, but now I know all the plays and everything. I think I’ve done real good. As far as my strength goes no other offensive lineman can match my strength, but that probably goes for anywhere. I know I can Bull rush, and I know I can muscle the guys so me and the coach have been more focused on getting quicker and using my finesse more.”
Does your size and strength stand out among the smaller lineman?
“I’m definitely the biggest on defense and probably weigh more then half the offensive lineman. But with me I’m quick also, so I have an advantage over smaller lineman, but I have to adjust also.”
How is it working with former NFL player Richard Harris as a defensive line coach?
“He’s a really good guy and understands my situation with the different rules and has been helpful and spent extra time with me doing drills and getting used to the game. He’s helped get me better, work on my quickness and trim a little weight off, because most linemen here are much lighter. He’s been very helpful and embraced me since I got here.”
Did having three different defensive line coaches while at USF help you in adjusting to a new system?
“I never thought about it, but that’s a good point, because the first year we had Coach Lane, then we had Coach Clark, and the last year we had Coach McCarney. So I guess it’s made it easier to adjust to a new coach, because I’ve had to ever year.”
What’s the competition like on the defensive line?
“It’s pretty tough. They got Jerome the defensive nose tackle that’s been playing here for like thirty years or something. Actually I think it’s been nine years. It will be tough playing behind him for me to get a shot, but hopefully the opportunity comes, and I’ll be ready. The other tackle played in the NFL for three years and he’s been here for bout 12 years. So they have a lot of experience here and I’m just trying to focus and learn as much as I can from them, and if something happen, and I go in, then I’ll take advantage of the opportunity. They also have a guy from Canada and a guy from a D-III school in Michigan, but I don’t know those guys.”
What are the main differences in practicing with Winnipeg to your days with the Bulls?
“You got to understand that practicing with the Bulls is like being in the army. Coach Leavitt doesn’t play, and they did a good job of getting me adjusted and getting ready for whatever. Playing here or even if I go to the NFL tomorrow, there’s nothing in the world that would be harder then what I been through at the University of South Florida. I’m ready for anything.”
How is Coach Barry in comparison to Coach Leavitt?
“Coach Barry is more of a laid back quiet guy and Coach Leavitt is more in your face. There’s no other coach out there like coach Leavitt. Coach Leavitt is out there in shorts running around in the rain. There is nobody is like him. He’s one of a kind.”
What do you want to accomplish over the next couple of weeks?
“I’m jut trying to show everyone that over looked me for whatever reason, injury issues or how I performed at pro day. That I was overlooked and was underrated, and can be that guy on the defense that shuts everything down. Basically the only things on my mind are dominating the line, dominating the season, or whatever town I’m playing at. Just football and my family, cause you know I got my five month old baby. So its just football, my wife and family that’s all I’m thinking about right now.”
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