Fred Matua: I’m the oldest son and I have five brothers and sisters. I grew up in the city of Wilmington and didn’t live the most privileged life, but we had enough to get by and my mom did real well raising me.
Q: When it’s time to relax and have some fun, what would I find you doing?
FM: You’d probably catch me playing cards with my family, you know just having fun barbequing.
Q: Now at the barbeque, are you the guy eating all the food or are you the cook?
FM: Oh, I’m the guy just eating -- the taster (laughs).
Q: What’s your favorite food off the grill?
FM: Some fried salmon and BBQ chicken, that’s the best.
Q: I saw you’re a sociology major, how did you pick that?
FM: It was something intrigued me, I always understood the study of people and how they react in different situations. For me it was a major I could connect with.
Q: You earned a starting spot as a true freshman, but then you hurt your right knee right before the season opener. That was a tough way to start out your college career wasn’t it?
FM: For me it was a bittersweet start to be able to come in and start but then get hurt. But at the same time I was able to come back the next year and start again and started throughout the whole three years. And was able to block for three Heisman Trophy winners: Matt Leinart, Carson Palmer and Reggie Bush. So I can’t complain.
Q: How did you take that experience, when you were so close to starting and then you lost it? How did keep yourself from getting down?
FM: I just kept on fighting. I’m always working against the odds, trying to get through things.
Q: Was that the toughest time for you at USC personally, or was there another time that really challenged you?
FM: That was probably the hardest, trying to come back and get back into it. Football has been very good to me; I’ve been able to create relationships with my O-Line brothers. That’s something that can never be taken away from me and of course the two national championships.
Q: Even though you made your name at right guard, you also saw some action at center correct?
FM: Yes, I played six or seven games last season at center. I like to make calls and I know the scheme very well. I saw it as something I could put on my resume and something that will make me more appealing to NFL scouts.
Q: I know you got some rave reviews at pro day for your long snapping. How long have you been doing that?
FM: I’ve been the backup long snapper for two years at USC but they had a scholarship for the long and short snapper. They were only in for a few plays and never got hurt, I would never wish injury upon anyone, so it just so happened I never got the chance to really get there.
Q: Here’s a comment that I saw about you that I absolutely loved. “He’s always looking for someone to hit.” Is that a good description?
FM: I think my awareness on the football field is something that is very important. To be a great football player you have to be aware of your surroundings. Being a smaller guard you have to be quicker, faster, stronger and hit a little harder because those big guys are believed to be better than you. My whole thing throughout my high school and college career was to outplay everybody and do it game after game.
Q: What do you think your players would say they appreciated most about you as a teammate?
FM: My willingness to come out and play everyday. The way I play, I’m not a 6’5. 330-pound guy, I’m a short compact guy but I’ve done it for three years for a reason. I come out there and play.
Q: At the Combine you didn’t run. Was there a reason you waited until the Pro Day?
FM: I didn’t run because I didn’t have a chance to get mentally ready. I didn’t know that I was going to come out until later on in January so one month wasn’t enough time for me to get ready. It worked out for the best; I ran a 5.06 and a 4.98 on the clock. I think it worked out pretty well.
Q: At the Combine did you have some formal interviews with teams where you met with the coach and general managers?
FM: Yes, I met with a whole bunch of teams. It was a great experience to go out there and speak with different teams.
Q: Which teams did you meet with the head coach?
FM: Baltimore, 49ers, Raiders…there were a couple others, but I can’t remember.
Q: You had a great Pro day; did it go as well as you hoped or better than you hoped?
FM: Better. A lot of teams thought I was going to run a 5.2 or 5.3 and I came out there and smoked it. Hopefully a lot of scouts will understand that I’m a fast guy.
Ed Thompson is the Publisher of ColtPower.com.