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Tyler Catalina, OT, Georgia: Interview
Tyler Catalina was a three year starter for Rhode Island before transferring to Georgia for his senior season. He started his career at right tackle, before moving to left tackle for his final three years. In 2014 as a sophomore, he was voted third team all-conference and as a junior in 2015 he was voter second team all-conference. Catalina was also voted team captain by his teammates as a junior. Catalina started 12 games, while appearing in all 13 games at left tackle for Georgia as a senior. I want to thank Tyler for taking the time to do this interview with me.
Blake Meek: First off, I want to thank you for agreeing to do this interview with me.
Tyler Catalina: No problem man, I appreciate the opportunity.
BM: So, you played high school ball in Massachusetts, were the Patriots your favorite team growing up or did you like another team?
TC: No actually I’ve always been a Denver Broncos fan
BM: What was it that drew you to them? A specific player?
TC: I have family that lived out there so growing up they always me jerseys and hats and stuff like that, and from a young age that kind of just drove me towards fandom
BM: Family definitely helps shape the teams that we root for. Were you always big as a kid? Was offensive line always where you played?
TC: Absolutely. Yeah, I was definitely always on the bigger side my whole life. I didn’t start playing tackle football until I was a freshman in high school actually and that was my first year playing offensive line as well.
BM: So, you got a little later start than a lot of kids. Do you feel like that put you at a disadvantage as a high school player or did you starting fresh let your high school coaches mold you a little easier?
TC: I didn’t really look at it as a disadvantage, there was an adjustment period at the beginning just like with anything new, but I knew with my work ethic and passion for the game I could step in and be coachable and productive.
BM: That is a great mindset to have, especially as a new player. Did you have a coach in high school or at Rhode Island or Georgia that really helped shape you into the player you are?
TC: It would be hard for me to single one coach out. I think every step of the way to this point I tried my best to absorb and take any lessons or information I could from any of my coaches that I’ve had. They’ve all helped me on and off the field so much, I’ve just tried to listen and be appreciative.
BM: Is there an offensive lineman you have tried to model your game after?
TC: I’ve always been a fan of Joe Thomas, but I like to think I’m my own player with my own strengths. I love watching film though, I always try to watch and try to pick up things from the greats that I can use or improve on.
BM: As all players should. Speaking of being your own player and your own strengths. What do you think your best strengths are?
TC: No doubt. I’m smart, tough, I’m always working on my technique trying to improve every day. I like to think I can adjust mid game to what’s being thrown at me, and stay level headed and just go out there and execute my job.
BM: What would you say your biggest weaknesses are or what do you need to work the most on?
TC: To be honest I think I can work on and improve in every facet of my game. You never want to get complacent, always trying to be better, whether it’s film study, or technique work. Everybody in the NFL is so talented, and I understand you have to stay on your grind and never get too comfortable.
BM: There’s always talk of college tackles moving inside and playing guard in the NFL. Is that something you would have a problem with?
TC: I’ve been preparing myself to move inside this off season. Just trying to show my ability and willingness to play all 5 positions and do so at a high level.
BM: Absolutely. The willingness to do what a team needs you to do is one of the best things you can do. You played in the NFLPA Bowl correct? How was that whole process?
TC: Yes sir. It was a great experience. It was an awesome opportunity to learn from some of the greatest players to ever play the game and to showcase my talent and work ethic to NFL teams and just getting to compete against guys with the same goal as me.
BM: What would you say your biggest on-field accomplishment is?
TC: I would have to say while I was a redshirt Junior at the University of Rhode Island when I was voted a captain by my teammates.
BM: That is a great feeling to know that your teammates hold you in such high regard. What about off the field? What is your greatest accomplishment there?
TC: Absolutely, no doubt. Off the field, I would have to say when I graduated from the University of Rhode Island. Education is key.
BM: Absolutely. It’s something you will always have with you, even when football is finished. What type of degree did you graduate with?
TC: For sure! Sociology.
BM: Nice. I’ll let you out of here with one last question. What do you want to do when your football days are done?
TC: I want to stay in the game, I would love to be a coach when my playing days are over.
BM: Thank you so much for your time man.
TC: Thank you man, appreciate the opportunity.
I want to thank Tyler for doing the interview with me.