Orson Swindle writes the excellent Every Day Should Be Saturday blog. It’s funny, informed and home to more mustaches than Fire Island circa 1973. I came upon EDSBS after the Seahawks drafted Owen Schmitt. Swindle is among Schmitt’s biggest fans. The next couple months won’t tell us much about how good a pro Schmitt can be, but I thought Swindle could give us his take. If it’s not a sure thing, at least it’s funny and informed if dubiously mustache-free.
John Morgan: What’s up, you have time to do this now?
Orson Swindle: I do.
You caught me at a good time.
Okay, so Owen Schmitt, can you remember when you first saw him play?
OS: Yup. Saw him play in 2005.
JM: Impressive right away?
OS: Yes, especially in his versatility.
At WVU he was their pooch kicker, their upback on fakes sometimes, a blocker, a runner…the more they put on him, the more he did.
JM: An he took to all of it?
OS: With the exception of the one time he shanked a pooch punt and then slammed his own helmet into his forehead afterwards, yes.
He understood where to be on each play, what to do, and what his role was at any given moment.
An excellent sense of spatial awareness, something not all college players have.
JM: Good to read. Would you say he’s a natural or more a student of the game?
OS: Student by ability; natural by temperament.
His sense of balance is excellent and not learned.
He’s also someone comfortable handling the ball.
Yet he’s built the rest himself, and is as studious as you’d want a draft pick to be.
JM: I noticed on receptions he turned upfield in a flash, but once he got going was pretty straight line.
He will not juke and wants to make contact.
JM: Do you think that’s because of ability or just a desire to bring the hurt?
OS: Absolutely. You don’t hang clean 400+ in order to juke someone. He’s going to put mass and speed together at the point of attack and let physics do the rest.
JM: Any notable punishments he’s delivered that you can recall?
OS: Oh yeah.
JM: For the Seahawks, Schmitt’s value is mostly tied up in his lead blocking ability.
OS: He owned Maryland.
WVU football - Owen Schmitt vs. UL (via YupMan)
JM: The Terrapins are known for their lifting program, so that’s especially impressive.
OS: The Terrapins have also been known for their slowing program recently, too. How they had a winning record last year mystifies me.
He’s a fine lead blocker, and relished the contact.
JM: Is he skilled at squaring up the defender?
Owen Schmitt block for Pat White (via LuckyMagic)
JM: Seems like a lot of college fullbacks get by on glancing contact.
OS: He’s pretty direct. Being as wide as he is helps in squaring up a defender, but his ability to do so is consistent with his studious, technical approach.
You see a lot of that with guys who are powerlifters, btw.
I think it’s a side effect of the whole approach.
You work on your form in every move from the tiniest element of the training program on up.
Form, form, form.
JM: Fullback is such a tough position to project. It seems like the foremost skill is just a will to hit the defender again and again without a seconds hesitation, is that Owen Schmitt?
OS: Yes. Unquestionably.
You’ve also got the West Coast-y elements of the job in the Seahawks offense, and I think he’ll take to those, too.
WVU operated a lot out of the spread, but they did a fair amount of I-formation, too.
Barring injury, he’ll be up to speed pro-wise in short order.
JM: How much credit do you give Schmitt for WVU[’s] gaggle of star rushers?
OS: Quite a bit, but the line’s athleticism deserves more mention, of course.
His blocking is tangible and powerful, and you really see how effective he was when you consider the vibe he brought to the lineup.
The team had an attitude when he played. I normally hate those kind of intangible estimates, but they did.
JM: I get that. And I agree, intangible is a bit of a dirty word around my blog, but he seems like a guy who plays so hard that those around him can’t help but emulate his attitude.
Like they get caught up in it.
Okay, a couple more and thanks for the time.
JM: I know WVU sort of built a position around Schmitt, Seattle already has a starting caliber fullback, do you think the Hawks will look to work the two as H-backs?
OS: Holmgren runs versatile enough sets to accompany that.
So it might be nice to work Schmitt in.
He’ll need some rookie learning curve time built in, but he’s intelligent enough to pick up the West Coast arcane pretty quickly.
JM: I’ve read about the alcohol in the dog bite, the daredevil antics, the two fisted nightlife, but what does Owen Schmitt bring to the field that will make fans love him?
OS: The following stories:
--Really did drive around with his mom dropping off his highlight tape at colleges, so unheralded was he.
--On the psychological written test for the draft, was asked "are you a cat or a dog?" Schmitt answered: "a lion."
--Broke 11 facemasks as a fullback for the Mountaineers.
JM: Ever see a facemask fly in-game?
OS: Sadly, no.
I assume I didn’t because they were embedded in the chests of onrushing linebackers.
Oh, and this interview:
Owen Schmitt WVU at Fiesta Bowl West Virginia Wins (via rtetrick)
JM: I look forward to seeing him punish some well paid pretty boys.
Thanks for the time.
OS: My pleasure.