2006 DETROIT LIONS DRAFT TRANSCRIPTS - SEVENTH ROUND SELECTION: G FRED MATUACONFERENCE CALL WITH LIONS G FRED MATUA
On why he slipped to the seventh round: "I don't know what happened, I guess a lot of teams were talking about my medical history and stuff like that, but I expected to be drafted on the first day. But you know what, things happen for a reason and I'm just happy to be with the team now."
On his past injuries: "The only thing I can think of is a back injury back in high school, and that was my freshman year, so I think it was probably that. I can't say anything about that, I went out there and played great football for the Trojans."
If he regrets being an early entrant in the draft: "You know, of course it's disappointing that I got drafted this low, especially coming out early. But I have total confidence in my game and I expect to go out there and make something happen. I'm going to do what I've got to do to make (the team)."
On the frustration of seeing other guards drafted ahead him: "It was very excruciating, especially seeing guys come before you that you know were not better than you at all. I've been in the top-five guard (rankings) of every NFL analyst, so just to see 10-12 guards picked in front of you, it's very surprising. I knew it had to be something besides my playing ability. Right now I'm just so happy the Detroit Lions have put their trust in me. I just want to go out there and play well."
On if he has something to prove after being passed over by every team: "I think it puts more fuel in my fire, and I have a lot of that. I'm going to go out there and try to work. I know they have a great O-line coach, and a whole bunch of great guys up front. I just hope to get things going and try to do what they're asking me to do."
On fellow Lions' draft pick, University of Texas OT Jonathan Scott: "You know, college is college, this is the pros. Of course, it's tough losing to him, but I won two (national titles) at SC so I know the feeling and what it takes to win. I feel good for the guy. He's able to get that feeling, and did a great job against our D-ends, they deserved to win the game."
On what he knows about the Detroit Lions prior to today: "Of course everyone knows about Barry Sanders. But I know a couple of guys, Mike Williams, Shaun Cody, I went up against Shaun Cody throughout college, so it's going to bring back old days going up against him."
On why he entered the draft after his junior season: "For me, I just felt like I was one of the best guards. When people look at the film I think I've proved my point. People have their reasons for not picking me earlier and I can not argue with that, it was a business decision. All I can do is go out and try to prove people wrong, and try to do what I can."
On his strengths and weaknesses: "I have plenty of flaws that I need to (improve on). Just my technique, I think I need to get better technique, and I know [Coach Beightol] is going to do that, and I have plenty of trust in him. He's going to make me a better player."
LIONS OFFENSIVE LINE COACH LARRY BEIGHTOL
On Lions' seventh-round draft pick OL Fred Matua: "We think Fred is just a real good prospect. We're surprised he was there when we picked in the seventh. He played on certainly a great college team, great offensive team, and he's been 37-2 as a starter at USC. A good friend of mine, Pat Ruel, has been his position coach. Pat says he thinks there's a big upside to this fella. He's hard-nosed, very good at pulling at both the power and the power-sweep plays. We're just really happy to have this guy. Great value pick here in the seventh round."
On why Matua was still available in the seventh round: "When you have 32 teams, when you get into the fifth, sixth, seventh rounds and sometimes even earlier, teams start to say, 'what are our needs?' And whatever there needs may be, they're trying to fill those needs. Some people may say he's undersized - he's a little bit over 6-2, about 305 pounds. He's extremely strong, physical, that's his game. He's been a very solid pass blocker for the Trojans. But I really don't know why he's fallen."
On what positions Matua could play on the offensive line: "I think what you see there is a player that has some versatility; I think he can be a center as well as playing the left or right guard positions. I really like his demeanor, this is a tough, hard-nosed football player."