clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Isaac Asiata meets with press during Dolphins rookie minicamp

New, comments
NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins used the first of their two fifth-round picks in the 2017 NFL Draft to select Utah guard Isaac Asiata, potentially providing them with a starting right guard. During last weekend’s rookie minicamp, Asiata met with the media for his first official press conference as a member of the team. Here is the transcript of that media availability, as provided by the Dolphins:

(Did you hear how General Manager Chris Grier describe you when he addressed the media after you were picked?) – “Yes, I heard. And that’s pretty cool that the GM says that about you. I plan on living up to that. I hope that I can keep that identity with myself throughout my career.”

(Which part of the way that he described you did you enjoy the most? He said you are tough.) – “Oh yes. I feel like as an offensive lineman, you have to do both. Where I come from at Utah, the defense is kind of the identity. Everybody knows Utah football for their defensive line and how physical their defensive line is. And when my o-line coach Jim Harding came in there, he wanted to change that. He wanted the o-line to be like that and he wanted us to have that kind of play – just not play patty cake, do our assignments, be assignment-sound and be okay with it. He wanted us to play whistle-to-whistle, sideline-to-sideline and finish our blocks. Being tough and playing physical, that was kind of our trademark that we established this last year and I hope to continue that.”

(General Manager Chris Grier said don’t be fooled by the tears that we saw when you got drafted.) – “Oh yes. You guys saw when I walked in, I’m really a happy guy. I’m very excited to be here. I love being here and I’m a very cheerful guy but, like you said, don’t get it twisted. When it’s time to put the helmet on and strap it up and go, that’s not me anymore. Now if we win, maybe. If we win a Super Bowl or something crazy like that, I don’t know, I’ll probably cry. Maybe. (laughter)”

(The face painting, is that…) – “I’ve been doing that since little league. That’s like the … I don’t know. It started out just kind of my deal. I loved it. That’s kind of my trademark thing. There’s no real reason behind it. I did just a line across my face because my high school mascot was a ‘Don.’ It’s kind of like a ‘Zorro,’ and he wears that mask. That was really the only inspiration behind that. And then I kind of just did more traditional war paint and some other stuff around my eyes. But the fans like it and I like it. It’s kind of an identity thing.”

(Are you going to keep the face painting up?) – “Probably. I feel like now I’m a rookie. Those are the kind of things you have to earn. I can’t just show up and expect everything to just come to me. Those are things you have to earn. They put me in 68. I plan on earning that jersey number. Just because they give me something doesn’t mean I’m going to take it without earning it.”

(Some folks thought you were going to be drafted a round or two higher. What have you learned or what do you suspect is the reason that maybe you ended up going a little lower?) – “To me, I wish I would’ve went in the third (round). All it really is, is just to get you in the door. Third, first, seventh (round), I don’t really care. I was happy to be here. It was important to me because I came here on my 30-visit and I fell in love with this place. I fell in love with the coaching staff, (Head) Coach (Adam) Gase, the o-line coach, the players. I knew that if I was going to go there in the first round or the seventh round or undrafted, that this is where I wanted to be.”

(What is it about them that made you fall in love…) – “So when I went to the University of Utah and I took a trip out there when I was in high school, what was appealing to me was the kind of guys and the atmosphere of family. I know that football, it’s huge now that guys are kind of, not necessarily about themselves but it’s a job. You have to provide for your family. It kind of takes the aspect from the team. I’m not saying that guys take away from the team but guys who generally care about each other, guys who are willing to go through a wall for each other, that’s not everywhere I guess. When I came here, I felt the same way I did when I went to Utah in high school. I felt that camaraderie, that brotherhood. You can just tell that everybody in the building loved their job. They loved coming here because they care about each other. They want to be successful. They want to win games. That’s a really attractive trait to have, so I fell in love with that and the culture that they’re trying to build here, (Head) Coach (Adam) Gase is trying to build here, and I’m looking forward to being a part of that.”

(What’s your first impression of Head Coach Adam Gase?) – “He’s awesome. He’s not your traditional head coach. A traditional head coach is kind of a stern, hard dude, and I’m not saying that’s not Coach Gase, but he’s a guy. You can relate to him. He’s very open. He’s a really approachable guy. It’s kind of intimidating for players, and I feel like players know that when you walk past a head coach or somebody in the hallway, it’s kind of intimidating. You don’t want to do one thing wrong. You don’t want him to think a certain way about you; but I just passed him on my way in here. And he just … like I said, he’s an approachable guy. I love him as a head coach. I’m excited to be working for him.”

(Did you know any of these other guys? Other rookies?) – “Other rookies, no. I reached out to some of them. I knew Vincent Taylor. We trained together at EXOS in San Diego. I kind of reached out to some of the other guys, Isaiah Ford and Charles (Harris) and them, and kind of start, as rookies, to build that bond, I guess.”

(What have your conversations with them been like or what have you picked up from some of those guys in your first few hours of knowing them?) – “Just that they’re ready to work. The draft’s over. All these Combine workouts and these evaluations and stuff like that, they’re all behind them. I can tell that they’re ready to work. I’m ready to work and we’re excited to get after it this year.”

(Head Coach Adam Gase said he told the rookies it doesn’t matter where you were drafted. It doesn’t matter that you’re a rookie. If you’re better than some 10-year veteran, you’re going to start. How will that impact your approach to maybe compete to start?) – “I think it’s a great mentality to have here and in a program. A lot of the coaches talked about it last night that he said that and he really means that. They gave some examples throughout this rookie orientation about how he really means that because some guys will say it, but they don’t mean it. I think it’s awesome. It just brings up the elevation of competition and competition brings out the best and the best are going to play.”

(What has been your experience with zone blocking and how do you feel like you fit in to that?) – “Like I said, at Utah we ran a spread offense. We ran heavily on inside-zone and gap schemes. We also ran a little bit of outside zone – not that much this last year, I guess; but in years past I’ve had, I want to say, like three or four different offensive coordinators. A lot of them were zone-base schemed. I’ve had some experience in the past. I know I have to learn some new things that they want and what they’re expecting from me and I’m looking forward to the challenge of that.”

(You went away for two years on a mission with your church. Did you learn anything more about yourself when you were doing that and why did you do that?) – “Well, what I learned about myself was that I was a punk kid who thought he had everything figured out when he was 19 years old. I got a nice reality check. I grew up. The mission for me was to go and serve the Lord, but most importantly, people. It’s not really for me to just go out there and say, ‘I’m a missionary. This is about me.’ It’s about serving others. It’s about spreading the Gospel and that’s what it was for me. It was to go out and mature and develop and become a better person.”

(On Sundays, which most people go to church, you view it as ‘I’m going to work.’) – “I have to go to work. Steve Young is probably the biggest example. Steve Young is Latter-day Saint – same as me. I don’t know if anybody is familiar with that, but he talked to a person in our church and they said it’s okay. So I’m going to play football on Sundays and I’m okay with it. My wife’s okay with it. My mom’s okay with it. So I think I’m in the clear. (laughter)”

(What part of your experience told you that you were “a punk kid?”) – “Well I came in, I approached my freshman year of college the wrong way. I rubbed a lot of the veteran guys the wrong way. I thought I was something special. I thought I was coming in to start I guess. I knew I had a lot of things to learn. It was kind of a time for me to step back away from everything that was going on in my life and to look at the bigger picture of life and about caring about other people and helping out other people. So that was nice for me to kind of take a selfless perspective on life.”

(Against that backdrop, how did you feel signing your contract and how would you have felt signing it maybe four or five years ago? Did that change you?) – “Yes, it did. I’ve grown. It did. I believe the mission for me was something that was a real humbling experience. Like I said, it helped me get out of my element, step back and kind of look at things that I might’ve been wrong about and cared too much about myself. It’s more about caring about other people. Life’s about relationships, how you treat people and being a good person. That’s what I believe in. Now signing my contract, I was excited. It’s a nice, exciting thing in life. Now that that’s done with and like I said, the Combine and all that stuff is done with, I’m excited to look to the future and go to work.”

(Would it be fair to say or kind of say that maybe before you would’ve signed that contract and felt it was about you but now you feel it’s about everybody who helped make you?) – “Yes, I mean back then, like I said, (I was a) 19-year-old kid who thinks he has figured out life and thinks he knows more than he actually does. Now I’m pretty old – not old, but I’m 25 this fall – being married and kind of experiencing life with and without my wife, this is the bigger picture. I’m the one who’s going to be playing football, but this is for my wife, this is for my kids, this is for my grandkids and the legacy that I can leave behind.”