Draft week is upon us. Let’s take a fast first step into our full press coverage with a Q&A I did with Trevor Laws. Get this man some face paint.
John Morgan: Tell me a bit how you prepare for an opponent. Do you watch a lot of tape or look at scouting reports? Any pregame rituals or habits?
Trevor Laws: Most games I have
a pretty similar routine. Eat big the night before the game. Watch
a few hours of film in the hotel. When I get up I make a big cup of
coffee. I eat the same pregame meal every game. I have
pancakes with peanut butter and honey on them. Then I go dominate.
JM: Do you develop a feel for an opposing offensive lineman, pick up on their strengths/weaknesses in game? And/or "tells" that might indicate if they're pass blocking or run blocking?
TL: Yeah definitely. For me the
first drive of the game is always the hardest because you don't know what to
expect. After that it is easy to tell if it is a run or pass. If you
know what to look for many times you can tell the direction of the play by looking
at lineman position and backfield set.
JM: I noticed you have an excellent first step when assigned a single gap, how do you anticipate snap counts?
TL: To tell the truth it can be
a gamble sometimes. I'd say that in most games teams go on the same
snap count 90% of the time, so you can rely on that. Also if you see
motion out of the corner of your eye you know that it’s going to be a normal cadence because the offense
is timing it up.
JM: Watching tape I notice you frequently use a compact spin move, how did you develop that move? Can you describe any other pass rush moves you employ and in what situations they're most effective?
TL: I have been using that move
on and off for the last 4 years. This year it was my go-to
move. I started to develop it with my old d line coach Greg
Mattison. Other moves I use are bull, jab ole, and bite and go.
JM: What are some of the challenges involved with playing both end and tackle? Did you ever feel out of place?
TL: It was a big surprise to me
that I was going to have to play end in a 3/4 my final year. During
the spring I definitely struggled with my new position. It is a
totally different technique than playing a 1 gap. Most plays you
have to just sit back and read the play, and it was tough to get used
to. As the season came along I felt much more comfortable with
it and ended up having a great year playin’ both end and tackle.
JM: What's your best skill? Can you describe a single play you think really defines your game?
TL: My best skill is my play-making
ability. There are not many other DTs out there that get to the ball like I
do. A play that describes me is a zone away from me and the tackle
comes down and tries to cut me but I hurdle him and run the play down from the
JM: The Irish suffered a lot of turnover in the front 3 before your senior season; can you describe the kind of teamwork and chemistry necessary for effective defensive line play?
TL: Chemistry is essential on
the D line. Knowing what your teammate is going to do every
play is key. Having a trust for the guy next to you elevates everyone's play.
JM: You mentioned Drew Radovich as a tough guard to match against, what parts of his game were toughest? Did you learn anything from facing him?
TL: He is a very smart player
and a great athlete. We went at it during the season and at the Senior Bowl. Playing against
players like him really makes me better also.
JM: What elements of your game do you think need the most work? How would you scout yourself?
TL: I would say the
thing I could do to improve myself would be to become a better student of
JM: You are an accomplished wrestler, can you give me an idea how your wrestling skills translate to football? I notice you have an uncanny understanding of leverage, is that a conscious thing or just the product of practice?
TL: Wrestling has translated so
many skills to football for me it's unbelievable. Hips, balance, leverage,
hands. It has helped immensely. On the field I really
don't even have to think about wrestling, it's kind of just programmed into me.
JM: You reinvented yourself physically before the Combine; do you think that will improve your play? Is it a program you're committed to?
TL: I definitely think it will
improve me. I have been working out in California since mid
December, and it has really changed my body composition. I was in
excellent shape at the combine, and it was because I worked hard at the program
and strictly followed it.
JM: What are your expectations of yourself?
TL: Football-wise, to be a
success in the NFL.
JM: If you do, who do you pattern your game after? Is there a current or former football player you'd like to be compared to?
TL: My hero growing up John Randle. I love his game. I even used to paint my face as a kid.
JM: What do you think of the Seattle Seahawks? They're building quite a talented young defense. Any information you'd like share, have they contacted you? I'm sure many of my readers would be thrilled to see you in the Blue.
TL: Seattle seems like a great city and the Seahawks are a great team. I have been in contact with the team, at both the combine and pro day. It would be a thrill to play for you guys.
. . .
It will be a thrill to watch you play, Mr. Laws.
Special thanks to Drew Laws for working so hard behind the scenes.