NET Exclusive: Q&A With Oregon C Max Unger

.NET's resident draft guru and scout specialist sits down with Oregon Center Max Unger as part of our ongoing exclusive draft coverage.

C Max Unger Interview
Height: 6'4" 5/8
Weight: 309

Seahawks.NET: After redshirting the previous season, you started at LT in 2005 and were named Freshman All American and Freshman All Pac 10 by the Sporting News. That's a solid start at a demanding position. How do you think you were able to do so well right out of gate like that?

Max Unger: I was lucky enough to step into a situation to where we'd lost a bunch of guys the year before and they needed guys to play. Luckily for me, our coaches trusted me enough to do the job. It worked out pretty well.

SN: For two seasons you were an All Pac 10 LT and then your coaches switched you to Center in 2007. Were you surprised that they asked you to change positions, especially considering how much success you were having?

MU: Not really because I knew it was coming. I had to learn in one fall camp how to play Center. I was out that previous spring with hernia surgery so I didn't have that much time to learn it. But, again, it worked out well and I think it ultimately helped my Draft status.

SN: How difficult was it initially to make the transition from outside to inside?

MU: You're working in a lot less space, which is the first thing I noticed. You're usually playing against bigger bodies and the angles are a little bit tighter. I think I did pretty well and now I'm comfortable with it.

SN: So you move to Center and are named 1st Team All American by Sports Illustrated and 1st Team All Pac 10. Did you have any idea that you'd garner so much recognition so quickly after the position change?

MU: Not really. It's tough to really know what's going on when the season is happening. After you play Oregon State you kinda look back and say, "Hey, I had a pretty good year". The attention was nice, but I had no idea I was getting that kind of attention until after the year.

SN: Casual fans may not realize the difference in technique, playing style and responsibilities of a LT and a C. Can you briefly describe what some of the differences are?

MU: Our tackles are in a two point stance and are responsible for blitz pickup and scanning the field. The tackles are responsible for the borders, safeties off the ball, that kind of stuff. At Center I was responsible for the line calls, and as I said, the angles are a bit different.

SN: Most scouting services have you and Cal's Alex Mack ranked #1 and #2 in this year's Draft class. You both played at the Senior Bowl this year. Do you see similarities and differences in how you both play?

MU: Yeah. Alex is a great kid. I saw him at the Senior Bowl and at the Combine. We played in different systems, so that's probably the biggest difference. He played in a pro style offense, I played in a spread. We have different styles. He's a good player.

SN: The NFL Network had an analyst on the other night talking about how the Spread Offense is making it difficult for scouts to evaluate positions, particularly offensive lineman because they're almost exclusively in a two-point stance. You played that offensive system. How do you feel about that?

MU: It's the truth. It's harder to evaluate players that are in spread systems. Football is football, but it's just different. I think the spread teams fit in well with some NFL teams. But zone schemes are basically the same whether it's high school or the NFL. But I think the NFL can figure out who can play and who can't.

SN: What is an NFL team going to get when they Draft you?

MU: A good football player and somebody they definitely want in the locker room.

SN: What do you feel are strengths and weaknesses of your game?

MU: I need to work on moving laterally, left and right. You just have to be able to do that in the NFL. Strengths are definitely my versatility. I've switched from Center to Tackle in the middle of the game before and had success at both positions.

SN: Seattle's Offensive Line Coach, Mike Solari, worked you out at your Pro Day. How did that go?

MU: I'm talking to him quite a bit. He's a great coach and I've watched quite a bit of film with him. I think these are the small relationships you build as you go through the process. He's got a different coaching style. I've only had 3 position coaches in my life. O-line is a lot of philosophy. You never know what a coach is going to believe about technique until you get out onto the field and do it. So it was a snapshot of how he does things.

SN: The Seahawks are said to be a team that's looking at interior lineman this year. How would you feel about staying in the Northwest?

MU: Man, I'd love it. You have Jordan Kent up there. It'd be cool, but it's one of those things where it's completely open ended.

SN: Who is a teammate that will be making Draft headlines soon, but who is under the radar right now?

MU: We have a redshirt Junior, Beau Thran, who started at LG for us at the end of the season. He's going to be very good. I'm not sure where they're going to play him next year, but he's going to be good.

 


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