Tyson Alualu is one of the top ranked defensive linemen in the 2010 NFL Draft, and the Chargers certainly know who he is. Having met with him on several occasions, they will likely have come away with the same impression we did after speaking with Alualu; he's a tremendous football player with outstanding intangibles and is simply a guy you want on your team. Read BOLTHYPE's interview with Tyson Alualu after the jump.
MEETING THE CHARGERS
"I met with the Chargers at the Combine and talked to Coach Rivera and a couple of the other coaches as well. They said they were interested, and that they liked the way I play; my style. There wanted to get some information on me. And at the same time, they did say I would fit in there with their defense."
WHERE DOES ALUALU PROJECT IN THE DRAFT?
"They said I'm projected late first, early second. But for me, all I care about is the opportunity to play at the next level. One the same note, I want to go as high as I can. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to being a part of the NFL."
EXPERIENCE IN THE 3-4 DEFENSE
"In my Junior and Senior year we changed to a 3-4. In my first two years we played 4-3. Mainly I played 5-technique, head-up on the tackle. But in my Junior and Senior years I played all over the defensive line. I played nose, three-technique, and defensive end. I played strong side D-end at Cal, but I flopped both sides. I didn't have a preference. I play both sides and feel comfortable in a right or left hand stance."
HOW TYSON MOVES SO WELL FOR A BIG MAN
"I appreciate that. I think it's a little bit of everything. Yea, I'm considered a big guy, but coaches see potential and athletic ability to be able to play D-End as a bigger dude. Usually you see guys like myself playing D-Tackle, but coaches said I was quick enough to do both.
But it takes a lot of things, a lot of repetition to play two positions; playing defensive end, playing defensive tackle. And at the same time its also watching a lot of film, and studying film of the people that came before me. My freshman year we had great players such as Brandon Mebane, playing here at Cal. Being able to watch guys like him, I could pattern my game after them. I think that's what made the game a bit easier, knowing your opponent and the things that he does. It's a big part of how my game is what it is, watching lots of film and just being coachable."
FLYING TO THE BALL, HUSTLING TO MAKE PLAYS
"A lot of it is just the love for the game, wanting to go out there and give it your all. The Team is what this game is all about, competing with your teammates. But part of it comes from highschool football. I played Defensive End but I was a lot smaller that what I am now. But even so, a lot of teams would game plan and run away from me, run the opposite direction. So a lot of the plays I made was cashing down tackles from the back side.
Coming to Cal showed me this was a whole different game. You had to constantly run to the ball on every play. The coaches placed a big emphasis on the d-line and whole defense in general to swarm to the ball. I owe a lot to my coaches and to the players that I played with. As far as the d-line, we wanted that to be our identity: always getting to the ball. So it's both a love and passion for the game, doing what I had to do to make plays, as well as being coached by the coaches at Cal, and I owe a lot to them."
THE DECISION TO MOVE TO CALIFORNIA
"I'm from the islands. My family is from Hawaii and we moved out here my freshman year. We came to Cal because it was the best opportunity all around for me. It was my best offer, and the program was on the rise. It's also one of the best institutions and I wanted to get my degree year and make sure I have a life after football. I prayed about it and Cal was where God wanted me to be, so I choose Cal and I'm happy I made that decision. It lead me to be in the position I'm in today, and I'm very grateful and thankful."
51 CAREER COLLEGE GAMES, BEING A LEADER, HAVING HIGH CHARACTER
"I think it's definitely important. It's part of who I am and what I bring to the table. Its important for a team to have a leader. I just want to do the right thing, lead by example, and have people follow me and my actions both on the field as well as off the field. I just want to put myself in position to succeed both on and off the field. It's a big part of who I am. I don't get into trouble. I've got my family here, and I thank God for blessing me and helping me become the person I am today by staying away from distractions and focusing on building my college career."
"I've faced some real good players in college. Shaun Luavao out of Arizona State, Charles Brown from USC. I faced a lot of good O-linemen in practice as well, one of the best was Alex Mack who now plays for the Cleveland Browns."
WHICH NFL TEAMS ARE SHOWING THE MOST INTEREST?
"I've met with a lot of teams, and it hasn't been mainly 3-4 teams or 4-3 teams. It's been a mix of both. A lot of 4-3 teams I've talked to say they see me as a two-down Defensive End, and in passing situations and stunt packages they'll bump me into 3-technique. Most 4-3 teams see me at end, some at defensive tackle. I've talked to a lot of 3-4 teams as well including San Diego, and they see me at defensive end in the 3-4. A lot of teams in both schemes have shown interest in me."
PLAYING IN THE 3-4 VERSUS THE 4-3
"I have no preference, none at all. I enjoy both. I don't have a preference, I just want the opportunity to go out there and show what I can do, what I love to do, and that's to play ball."
ONCE DRAFTED, WHAT WILL ALUALU'S APPROACH BE?
"I'm just looking for an opportunity. But don't get me wrong, whatever team that does pick me up I'm going to compete my butt off and work hard. I'm not going to just go to a team and be grateful and sit behind somebody, and just be happy where I'm at. Never get comfortable because I'm going to fight for that starting job. My attitude towards it is I'm going to take a spot. I want to be a starter in the NFL. What my job will be, we'll just have to see. But I'm going in expecting to compete with whoever it is, whether it's a veteran or not. I want that starting job. I'm going to do my best and show the coaches what I can do, and let them make the decision. But I'm definitely coming in to fight and compete for a spot."
WATCHING FOOTBALL IN HAWAII, FAVORITE TEAMS AND PLAYERS
"I never had a favorite team in the NFL, I just looked up to players. When I played Pop Warner, I played running back and I tried to emulate Emmit Smith but the Cowboys weren't my team. I never had a favorite team. I used to like running backs like Priest Holmes and Emmit Smith. When I starting getting older I started liking D-linemen like Reggie White. I just had a lot of favorite players who I enjoyed watching, but never had one favorite team."
PLAYING FOR THE SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
"Man, the Chargers...growing up, my uncles used to make us watch the Chargers because we all looked up to Junior Seau. He comes from the same decent that I do, and we used to watch him all the time. What he brought to the game was phenomenal, watching him go out there and make plays and make a big name for himself. We used to watch the Chargers all the time. Now, I enjoy watching Luis Castillo. I watch him and try to take moves from him, pattern my game after him. It would mean a lot if San Diego did call my name and to get the chance to play for you guys in San Diego. It would be a blessing for me to have that opportunity."
TYSON ALUALU HIGHLIGHTS
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