Zak DeOssie: "It certainly is. Coming out of a small school--non-scholarship, Ivy League--a guy like me needs to show up and show that he can run and hold his weight at the same time. I think it certainly helps. The numbers speak for themselves, you can't ignore that. You always have the small-school stereotype, there's no escaping it. But small-school players have big-time numbers and you've just got to show up and perform."
ET: You put up some amazing numbers in 2004, yet you played the entire year with a right shoulder labrum tear?
ZD: "Yeah, that was my sophomore year, 2004. Yes, sir. I used to play quarterback in high school and my quarterback days lasted about an hour at Brown. My shoulder just fell apart and got real loose and when I started hitting people, it starting popping out. It must have popped out about 20 times that season. I tried to rehab it but just decided I can't play with this type of pain and just had the surgery when the season ended."
Didn't it get a point where you started to hold back at all because you knew you might pop it out?
ZD: "No, no, no. You play with little injuries all the time, but you get used to the pain. Obviously, coming off a play it might sting a little bit but you go right back in. You try not to think about it and let if affect your play."
|(David Silverman, DSpics.com)|
ZD: "I did, I did. I give some credit to my front line; we had a bunch of seniors there. It was our championship season. We had an All-Ivy first-team defensive tackle and an All-Ivy second-team D-end, and they were just paving the way for me. I made some plays here and there and just felt great, and unfortunately I was sidelined by a partial tear in my left MCL against Yale with 2 or 2 1/2 games to go. But I was putting up some ridiculous numbers, I was just having fun."
ET: What about that tear? Did you have to have that surgically repaired?
ZD: "No surgery at all. Just on crutches for about a week, and then rehab for about two months and I was 100 percent in 2 1/2 months."
ET: In your senior year, you led the team in tackles for the third consecutive year with 110 tackles, 10 1/2 stops behind the line of scrimmage. With your numbers increasing every year, what do you think was happening out there? Was it that your instincts were getting better or what do you think it was?
"I think just getting used to the position, that's a fair assumption. I didn't play linebacker in high school and I was finally getting settled in at linebacker and we had what I'd like to think was a complicated defense, you see 11 guys on the field at all times and run a bunch of different packages. So I was just getting more comfortable with the schemes and I knew what other coaches were thinking because I'd faced them before and I like to think that factored in somewhat. But it's easy just running around hitting people, you know, especially when you're having another good year."
ET: You also did some long-snapping. Has that come up as a topic during the scouting process?
"It's huge, it's a huge asset. My old man (Steve DeOssie) did it in the league for 11 years. It's a great asset to have. A lot of teams are interested in the potential to fill up two roster spots with a long-snapper and immediately as a backup linebacker. So you never know what might happen there. But it's certainly enticing to those teams who are looking for new snappers. I did it my whole senior year, both deep and short snapping and I did a lot of deep snapping my sophomore and junior year, but my coaches kept me out just to get me rest on the sideline."
Scout.com subscribers can check back on Wednesday for the rest of this interview where Zak will talk about the teams that have shown interest in him, his special teams and playmaking abilities, and much more!
|A member of the Professional Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's NFL and college football player interviews and features have been published across the Scout.com network and syndicated through FoxSports.com's NFL team pages.|