A conversation with rookie DT Sione Pouha

Q) What are your thoughts on the rap on you that you were inconsistent in college?

Pouha: As far as the inconsistency, you don't truly know how consistent a guy is unless you know the scheme he came from. At Utah I had a job to keep guys off our three-technique and our ends and our linebackers.

If I'm inconsistent, that is something I need to work on. But I'm glad they said that about me because the more of my faults that are brought to my attention, the faster I get to work on them. I'm not sure I'm inconsistent, but if I am it will be on film and I'll make sure I improve it.

Q) How bad do people mangle your name?

Pouha: If I answer to it, that is the correct pronunciation to me.

Q) With the loss of Jason Ferguson in free agency to Dallas, the Jets need you to contribute immediately. What do you need to do to be ready? Is conditioning a big part of what you need to do?

Pouha: Conditioning is a component for me to come in and help this team. I, like a lot of rookies, face the challenge of learning the playbook and adjusting (to the NFL level). The faster I can do that, the faster I can make a contribution to the team.

I have to get myself ready physically, mentally and emotionally. I'm trying to game-plan myself to take those things on faster, so I can contribute to the team faster.

The talent and people you go against is a whole different level. It's important that I fill my piece of the puzzle in relation to the whole scheme.

Q) Will coming from a Utah program that took an NFL-type approach benefit you?

Pouha: Urban Meyer is a high-class guy who was very successful and looked for productivity. He was about doing things the right way and knowing your job. He always says if you want to win a championship, you have to do things the right way. With [Donnie Henderson], that is what his MO is. Do your job and do it right and do it to the best of your ability. The work ethic and values are the same with the Jets as at Utah.

Q) After taking a three-year mission with the Mormon Church, you enter the league at 26 years old. What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a 26-year-old rookie?

Pouha: I never really thought it was a disadvantage. When I was a 25-year-old playing for the University of Utah in the Fiesta Bowl, I never thought of myself as a 25-year-old. I thought of myself as a 21-, 22-, 23-year-old, and just mixed in. It started to become an issue towards the draft when people were saying I had an age issue. I think it has worked out to my benefit. People ask me if it hurt me or helped me. I think it helped me. The sacrifices I made while I was away on the mission for three years, it was something I wanted to do. It wasn't just an opportunity to take a break. It was an investment that I made. We had a running back at Utah named Mike Anderson who plays for the Denver Broncos. He went into the military for a few years, and it worked out to his benefit. So I don't think it was a wasted three years. I was out doing something. I'm 26 and it might hurt me in terms of longevity. But everyone has different situations and I think this one will work out for me.

Q) When you go out on a mission, every day is accounted for, and the only time you can talk to your family is Mother's Day and Christmas ...

Pouha: There are no cell phones, no e-mail, no television, no radio, you are pretty much shut out from the culture world. You pretty much have to stay committed until your time is up. I learned a lot about commitment on my mission.

Q) Some people go to Australia on missions, some go to Guam and exotic places like that, but you went to Pittsburgh. How did that happen?

Pouha: I had friends going to Germany, London. My best friend went to Panama; some guys went to Fiji. When I got called to go on a mission, I was thinking foreign. I had my passport ready. Then I was told it was Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It didn't realize what a blessing it was until my flight home from Pittsburgh. Where you labor, bleed and sweat, you are always gong to remember. It will always be a special place for me.

Q) What are your thoughts on your teammate Alex Smith, the first pick of the draft to the 49ers?

Pouha: Alex is a class act from inside and out. He is suited for the job in terms of his smarts and athletic ability, but most important, his commitment and ability to work. Our offense at Utah was very involved, and you have to spend all day in the film room. I had a couple of classes with Alex and he ended up coming to study table a couple of hours late because he was in the film room studying. He got his economic degree in three years. I spoke to him a couple of weeks ago, and he was the same old Alex.

Q) Is he a little geeky?

Pouha: Yeah (laughs). He's a tall, goofy kind of guy. But San Francisco will get their money's worth and he will do a good job for them.

Q) Some people thought you would be a late pick or an undrafted free agent, so when the Jets picked you in the third round, some "draft experts" criticized the pick...

Pouha: There were a lot of comments out there, but I can only control what I can control, and listen to what the coaches say as far as what I have to do to make the transition. They said to get into the books and chip away a day at a time.

In terms of some people thinking I was going to be a late-rounder, I got a few phone calls during the first day of the draft. I kind of knew and my agent kind of knew, [that I would be a first-day pick]. When I got a call from the Jets, I was very happy. I made a visit here.

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