by: Chris Sullivan
I recently had the opportunity to get in touch with Seahawk Addicts‘ favorite Seahawk Center (sorry Spencer), Steve Vallos. I tried to incorporate many of the questions you guys were asking in the interview, so hopefully you all enjoy it. I found it quite interesting, personally, especially Vallos’ discussion of the zone-blocking scheme. Without further ado . . .
Seahawk Addicts: How difficult has it been to move from a tackle / guard in college to suddenly be a starting NFL center? In which position do you feel most comfortable?
Steve Vallos: It was difficult at first to move inside, especially to center because I had never snapped a football before in my life. There is also more responsibility assignment-wise and with communication at the center position that I had to get used to. I’m happy with the progress I’ve made but there is a lot of room for improvement. I feel comfortable at both center and guard but I like center because you’re more in control.
SA: With Greg Knapp coming in as your new Offensive Coordinator, it is expected that the Seahawks will implement a more of a zone-blocking system than we’ve seen in the past. How do you think this will impact your role on the team?
SV: I feel like moving to a zone scheme will definitely benefit me because that was the way we blocked in college at Wake Forest. It will also benefit me because of my size compared to a lot of the defensive tackles we face. In my opinion the zone scheme gives the offense an advantage because it creates better running lanes, especially when the linemen get their men cut off.
SA: With both Porkchop and Ray Willis being unrestricted free agents this year, it seems likely that yourself and Mansfield Wrotto will see increased roles in the offense (well earned!). What was the one thing you were the proudest of in your play last year, and what are you working on the most this offseason?
SV: Porkchop and Rob are both great players whom I have learned a lot from over the last two seasons. I was proud of how I took advantage of the opportunity I was given in the preseason due to injuries and also how I finished the season. I felt like I improved from week to week and got the chance to play against some really good defenses and individual players.
SA: A frequent reader/commenter “PapaHawk” asks this: In your exit interview with the coaching staff – Holmgren, Solari, DeBord- what direction did they give you to take with you for the offseason? Did they tell you to work on anything in particular in order to be a better player in 2009?
SV: They were positive about my progress throughout the season but also gave me advice on how to improve for next season. We discussed getting a better overall knowledge of the game and focusing on certain parts of my technique which I can improve on.
SA: What NFL player do you see yourself comparing to? Who did you idolize growing up?
SV: I like to think of myself as following in the footsteps of Chris Gray. I learned a lot from him in the short time that I was able to play with him. He showed that knowledge of the game can get you a long way and that being dependable is something that teams love to see.
SA: And finally… lets play GM for a minute: With the #4 pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, Steve Vallos of the Seattle Seahawks selects: ______________
SV: Aaron Curry: LB Wake Forest. I gotta go with the former teammate on this one. I’ve seen this guy transform from a tiny linebacker on the scout team as a freshman to the freak he is today and would love to see him in a Seahawks jersey.