The Oregon Ducks send players to the NFL every year. One former Duck star made his way to the Carolina Panthers and is poised to start at right guard for them when the league resumes action. Duck Sports Authority caught up with #74 to get his impressions of Ducks in the upcoming draft and an array of other topics.
Duck Sports Authority: Geoff you saw all the Duck games last year. Why didn't any of the Duck OL get invited to the combine?
Geoff Schwartz: I have no idea why no Duck OL was invited to the combine. I thought one or two would be invited, just to see what they can do. Maybe that shows you how teams view the spread offense. I don't know how many guys this year were from spread offenses and how many were not, but that's why they have Pro Days. I know a lot of scouts will be at the Oregon Pro Days. I would still expect some guys to get drafted that were not invited to the combine. You never know what happens and you don't have to go to the combine to get drafted.
Duck Sports Authority: Give your assessment of Oregon's center for the last few years, Jordan Holmes.
Geoff Schwartz: I overlapped two years with Jordan. He's very strong. People may try to compare him to Max Unger. He's not Unger who is a different kind of athlete. I think Holmes is more suited for probably guard in the NFL than center. He is a big, strong, physical guy who finishes, and he's also a smart guy.
Duck Sports Authority: Not being at the combine is not the end of the story though.
Geoff Schwartz: All of those guys will get looks. They will be in some camps.
Duck Sports Authority: OK so they got to show their stuff to the scouts at Pro Day. What do they need to do at events like the one we had here last month?
Geoff Schwartz: When it comes to guys who were not at the combine, I think you need to leap out athletically at the coaches. They watch films so they see how you play. But if you're a real good athlete sometimes they are willing to take you based on your athletic ability because they think you have upside. If you come out to Pro Day and you don't show as very athletic, then I think that kind of hurts you. That's what they want to see at Pro Day, guys who are athletes and guys who show quickness.
Duck Sports Authority: One of the things these guys will go through is the interview process. What sort of advice would you give to them having gone through all that yourself?
Geoff Schwartz: I think you have to be really honest and be ready for some tough questions. They may show you one play on film and ask you 'why didn't you hustle on this play?' It's better to tell them what happened than to beat around the bush. They respect honesty more than anything. I think you need to show that you love football. They are investing all this money into you and they aren't going to want to invest it in a guy who isn't going to like what he's doing. That's just a waste of everyone's time. So you have to show that you love football, respect the game, and answer questions honestly. The questions they are asking they know the answers to already most likely. They just want to see how honest you're going to be about your answer.
Duck Sports Authority: Right. It's like a good attorney in court already knows the answer to their questions.
Geoff Schwartz: These teams are not just picking names out of a hat. They do extensive background checks. They talk to coaches, they talk to teammates, they watch film, they talk to other coaches, they will talk to your high school coach. They do their job and know exactly who you are.
Duck Sports Authority: Shifting gears a little, you got to try to block one of the future NFL Ducks Casey Matthews for a couple years when he first got here. What is your evaluation of him?
Geoff Schwartz: Casey is a very instinctual player. He knows where he needs to be and that is in a very difficult defense that Nick Aliotti runs. It would be unfair to compare him to his dad or his brother because he is not. He's his own player. Casey plays inside linebacker, Clay plays outside linebacker. Clay is a little bigger than Casey. I think being compared to his family is going to be tough for Casey but he will overcome it. Casey makes a lot of plays and knows where to be. He's athletic and smart. You saw the play he made in the BCS game. That was a smart play by a guy who knows the situation. He knew he needed to make a play. NFL teams like stuff like that.
Duck Sports Authority: All right cool Geoff. I bet it's been a good time to be an NFL Duck in those locker rooms.
Geoff Schwartz: It is. Oregon is pretty new on the national championship scene and they have many more years to be there. I saw a stat that was amazing. Look at the success that Oregon has had since, say, 2005 which was the last year I was there and it was a Holiday Bowl and we were 10-1 that year. At that time we had never had a top 15 recruiting class. Now the Ducks are getting top 10 recruiting classes. So it's only going to get better from here and that's the scary part that I don't think people realize. So that's the amazing part, that is Oregon is getting better athletes than we have in the past, especially when you look at all the guys the Ducks have put in the NFL over the years.
Duck Sports Authority would like to thank its good friend Geoff Schwartz for his time once again on this interview. You can also follow Geoff on Twitter @GeoffSchwartz74.