NFL Draft Q&A with C Samson Satele

Offensive center Samson Satele heads into this year's draft ranked as one of the top two players at his position. Learn more about this humble and respectful guy who turns into an entirely different person when he steps onto the football field.

Ed Thompson:  Have you enjoyed being the big brother in your family?

Samson Satele:  Yeah, it was fun being the oldest with my little brother and my two sisters. As the oldest, you know wherever I go they go, and I take them underneath my wing and they've got their older brother to protect them.

ET:  You also had the opportunity to play shoulder-to-shoulder on the offensive line with your cousin, Hercules, which is an experience not everybody gets to enjoy...

SS:  It was fun. We were roommates throughout the whole season and we're family off the field, so it's so easy to play with him on the field. We understand each other when we are telling each other what to do during the game and we have a lot of respect for each other.

ET:  I really had to laugh when I saw that you were once quoted as saying "I feel comfortable playing with him. If he screws up I just slap him in the head."

SS:  (laughs) Yeah, I don't do that a lot but it's good. He was playing left guard, and both he and the guy who was playing right guard were new guys this season. So they got a lot of slaps from me.

ET:  You played guard for most of your first three seasons at Hawaii and then you shifted to center. What was that transition like for you and what was the hardest part about making that change?

SS:  Playing guard, you don't have to make any calls.  So while I was there for three years I just learned from center that I played with before moving into that spot my senior year. It wasn't so hard at first, but when you see the safeties moving or an opponent moving, you think "am I making the right call?" So I got more confident and as the season went on and everything has been a lot smoother and a lot slower.

ET:  You're a soft-spoken guy and very respectful off the field, but when you're out on the football field you're a totally different person aren't you? Your quarterback, Colt Brennan, said that you are "twice as nasty and twice as mean" as any defensive lineman you face.

SS:  (laughs) Oh yeah, I just love to play football. And coming off the field you know you can't be the same person as you are on the field. There's a lot of people that look up to you, so you can't make any mistakes.  And being humble and respectful is not that hard.

ET:  With that nasty and mean reputation you've developed out on the field, tell us something from your life off the field that is so opposite that people would be really surprised to learn about?

SS:  I would say that in high school I didn't go to any proms or banquets or anything.

ET: Why not?

SS: I didn't feel like going out at the time. I just focused on school and football, trying to make it to the next level so I can continue on.

ET:  Was there also an element of shyness in there?

SS:  Yeah, a little bit of shyness. But as I look back to it, it kind of pays off now.

Samson Satele (CW Pack Sports)
ET:  Let's talk about your technique a bit, because I think one of the things that stands out is your pass blocking skills. Talk to me a little bit about how you developed them and how you became so good at pass blocking.

SS:  My first three years there when we had Mike Cavanaugh, he taught me everything -- a lot of techniques and showed me what to work on. And really worked hard on it. While he was there, for six years every year he put a lineman into the NFL, so I trusted him as much as he trusted me. So I just put in the work and he just put in the coaching and here I am today. I'm real thankful that he was my coach and I learned from him.

ET:  In terms of your technique, what was the most valuable thing he taught you?

SS:  To keep your hands up all the time. When I was a young freshman, every time I would put my hands down I would get knocked back or knocked to the side.   But with your hands up, you can hit your opponent before he hits you, so learning to keep my hands up you've got a better chance to stop them.

ET:  I know you did all of the offensive line calls your senior year. How tough was that to pick up, because I saw you had said, "once you learn the system it's easy."

SS:  Yeah, the calls are really easy. But at first, when you're coming in as a freshmen guy, you're coming out of a high school career where it's a lot of hand blocking --  you know, "you've got him, I've got him, everybody's got this guy or that guy."  But with college you've got different calls, it's all like "roll, reach, turn" and it took me a year with a lot of guys helping me out. During that first year I learned more and more about the offense, and that slows down the pace of the game and makes it really fun.

ET:  You had the top vertical jump and 20-yard shuttle time amongst the offensive linemen at the the Combine. How did you train to get such good results?

SS:  Well, I trained for two months. And when you can learn from a guy who's been doing this type of training for 15-20 years, and really pay attention to what he's trying to teach you, it helps you do your best. He trained me real hard, so I was just so happy that it paid off. The shuttle is something I love to do. My quickness is one of my strong points, so I like those real quick, short drills.

ET:  And you benched 25 times, right?

SS:  Yeah, that was a really good experience. You've got one bench, one big coach spotting you and like 200 other coaches -- 100 on each side of you -- and it was pretty intense. It was a good experience.

ET:  When you look back at your college career, what was probably the most fun you had out there?

SS:  Playing next to guys that have a lot of respect for each other. I've played with Timmy Chang, Chad Owens, I practiced with Vince Manuwai, Wayne Hunter, Pisa Tinoisamoa. I'm just glad that I got to know those guys and too see that they're doing a lot of good things out there.

To learn more about Samson Satele, visit his profile page at Scout.com.

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.


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