Camp Q&A: R.J. Mattes

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Redshirt junior left tackle R.J. Mattes talks with Pack Pride as the season opener is just a couple of weeks away.

How has the move to left tackle gone for you? Has it been easier than you thought or tougher?
It's been a good change. I moved over in the spring so I was able to get a lot of practice in during the spring. It was a transition at first because you go from moving your right foot first to your left foot.

Was that the toughest part, just being on the opposite side?
Yep, everything is opposite. All the play calls are opposite, when I first got moved I was doing all the plays backwards because I was so used to being on the right side. It was a big mental thing. Much more mental than physical.

Do you feel more comfortable now?
I'm in the groove now and going good. I'm much more comfortable so far in the fall and I'm ready to go.

If you had to could you play every position on the offensive line? Does Camden Wentz need to be worried?
I know every position. I could play guard, tackle, whatever they need me to do. That's what Coach O'Brien does, if you look at the past guys like Jake Vermiglio and other guys that played guard and then eventually got groomed to play tackle.

Have you taken more of a leadership role with the rest of the offensive line?
Yes for sure, and one of the things that has helped is the camaraderie. Camden actually moved in with me and me, him and Andrew Wallace are roommates now. We're both trying to lead along the offensive line. Camden is a big leader at center because he's the one making all the calls, pass protection calls and things like that.

How does that leadership role translate into teaching?
I'm out there trying to help the young guys like Rob Crisp and all the freshmen. Trying to help them learn the playbook and all the calls.

Since Duran Christophe went down how has the shuffling gone? Is that something you guys are used to at this point?
For sure. Injuries are going to happen and if a guy goes down the next guy has to step up. The train doesn't stop the train keeps going. We have guys two-deep that know the playbook and they jump right in.

Mike Glennon has received a lot of praise from guys on the offense and defense. How has he looked from your perspective?
Mike knows the offense. He's been the starter spring ball even when Russell [Wilson] was here so he knows all the stuff. He is a good leader in the huddle and he knows the playbook better than anyone I know. I always used to say I was taller than him and he would say he was taller than me. We got measured and he's like 1/8" taller than me so he always likes to brag about that.

How has the mindset of the offensive line changed since you've been here? It seems like every year Coach O'Brien continues to put his stamp on that group from a physicality standpoint.
Every offensive linemen wants to run the ball. When they call run plays it's smash mouth football, you get to move the line of scrimmage and all that stuff. It all goes down to knowing the scheme. We've grown up in and we know it now. We can just go execute. We're not thinking about who to block or how to block it so we can be more physical.

Have you tried to get Coach Bible to call a few more run plays?
I'd rather run block all day long because you are meeting power for power and the better man wins. There is no better feeling than a pancake.


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