INDIANAPOLIS - After playing 16 season in the NFL and being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, new Indianapolis Colts assistant offensive line coach Kevin Mawae joins the team with a plethora of knowledge. Get to know more about the seasoned vet and what excites him about the team's offensive unit.
After your 16 seasons and a Hall Of Fame playing career, what pulled you back into coaching?
"Time away from the game. I weened myself out of the game. I went into college coaching, interned at Vanderbilt for a year, coached high school ball for a year, purposely took a year off, coached junior high for two years and then I was doing internships along the way. I knew I would at one time (get back to the NFL) but my kids were in high school and I was hoping they would get out before I got into coaching my coaching career and that is what happened. I was with the Chicago Bears for training camp in 2016 and they hired me for the season and then that was it. So from there I moved to Arizona State to join the staff with Herm Edwards, whom I played for, and it was kinda a coincidental thing, my daughter was a student athlete that was recruited to Arizona State and we ended up there because of her and I ended up on staff."
"She's a swimmer. She's actually in the conference championships right now. She swims for the University of Hawaii now, she since transferred, but I am not sure when this is going to air but she is swimming at UH right now."
How much did coaching junior high and high school football test your patience?
"The challenge for somebody that played at our level, my level, is that you have to simplify football to a point where anyone can understand it. So I tell people that if you're going to get into coaching, if you can't coach fifth and sixth graders then you can't coach at this level, because the idea is you want to be able to communicate in such a simple way that everyone understands it. You can't go 16 year NFL vet on a sixth grader. It doesn't happen. Keep it simple stupid is a very simple principle and if I can teach a fifth grader how to block a jet sweep, I can teach anyone how to block it. That was my mentality."
What was most appealing about joining the Colts in this role?
"For me it just happened. I wasn't looking for it, I wasn't chasing it. It was circumstances and doors opened up and it was an opportunity to come here and I think the biggest difference between the college game and the pro game is you don't recruit. Recruiting is a 24/7 deal. You got a second phone tied to your hip and you're talking to 15, 16, 17-year old's all the time and here it's all ball, it's all ball. Every sport is geared towards winning a championship. But here it is come in, do your work, go home that kind of thing and in college you never leave it. It's with you until midnight. You're on the west coast talking to a kid on the east coast and things like that, so you're always on call."
What's most exciting about the Colts offensive line and group of running backs?
"They're two different types of running backs in what I've seen in the film I've watched so far, but you can't just look at the two running backs, I think you got to look at the whole picture. The offensive line here is pretty special. But watching these guys play together as a unit is what's really special. I mean it is great that you have great running backs and you struggle on the offensive line or you have a great offensive line and don't have that special running back, or you don't have a quarterback. So it is more the whole puzzle as opposed to just the individual parts, so that's what I am excited about seeing. Last year at ASU we had two really special running backs that complimented each other well and it's like a lot of what I see with these two guys here. But again, I think it goes back to the whole package with the offensive line play and whoever the new quarterback is going to be."
How do you create continuity on the offensive line after the retirement of Anthony Castonzo?
Whatever moves are made there is always going to be one new guy. Whether he's a free agent guy or a draft pick or whatever. And in the limited time that I have been here and I've been around coach Frank and Chris Ballard and Chris Strausser, it's about finding the right fit, you know finding the right guy. You can be a phenomenal player but if you just don't fit with these guys then there's going to be a challenge. It becomes more of a chemistry kind of thing, are you the right guy that fits this room. That is kinda the feeling I got from this whole organization, is everybody's got to fit in the right spot, and so I think that's where the challenge comes. What I've seen about this organization from afar is that challenge be met."
How would you explain the dynamic between yourself and Chris Strausser?
"Chris is unique. I met him through legendary O Line coach Howard Mudd, whom I played for with the Seattle Seahawks. I met Chris through Howard. So I've been able to see him go to the Denver Broncos and see what he did there and then come here. So when the opportunity came here and it opened up I was very intrigued by it because I know there are similarities in the way I was taught and the way I coach and what Chris teaches. I think we will compliment each other well, the difference being that I played it and he has coached it for a very long time. I think when you have played it at this level, for a guy like Ryan or for a guy like Q or any of those guys up front, you bring a different perspective. I'm just there, and in Louisiann we call it 'lagniappe' it's a little something different, a little something extra, so that's what I bring. I bring the experience that I did it so maybe the X's and O's and the fundamentals are this but have you tried this. It's a little something different. And I think that's what I bring to it and it's a compliment. "
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