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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

ACC Football Kickoff: Georgia Tech's Joe Anoa'i

Georgia Tech Defensive Tackle Joe Anoa'i was one of two Georgia Tech representatives to the ACC Kickoff last week in Jacksonville, FL. Anoa'i's teammate Calvin Johnson was selected pre-season ACC Player of the Year. Anoa'i is one of two Samoans playing in the ACC, the other is Duke's Michael Tauiliili.

Below are quotes from Anoa'i that were published on Georgia Tech's website.

Joe Anoai Senior, Defensive Tackle, Pensacola, Fla.

What's it like to play with Calvin?

"You can't really say enough about it. To be as gifted as he is, to be as physically dominant as he is - he's like a masterpiece of what God can build. And what he does on the field doesn't even compare to the type of person he is. You have to stress what a great job his parents did, it has to start there. It's definitely been a blessing to have him come to Georgia Tech and help us win some ballgames."

"The first day we saw him, you just looked at him and said wow. From day one, we knew we had something really special, someone who could take over a ballgame. And the second game of his career against Clemson, he did just that.

When Calvin's making all those great catches, what goes through your mind on the bench?

"That I hope they replay it three more times so can see it. To tell the truth, I've seen so many of them that I just know it's going to be on ESPN, so I can watch it later that night. Ya'll don't even see all the great stuff that he does in practice. We get to see him on a daily basis. It's cool to watch him in games, but we get to see him in practice and in the weight room and see how hard he works.

How have you improved?

I've gotten bigger and stronger and maintained my speed, but the biggest difference is mental. What I've been taught by Coach Tenuta, our defensive coordinator, is that the game is played from the eyebrows up. Everyone is talented physically, so what you know mentally is what separates you.

Do you feel pressure as a defensive line since the secondary is so young?

"I wouldn't really call it pressure. We want it like that. We want it set up where if we do a great job, their job is easy. I would call it self-pressure that we put on ourselves because we expect it of ourselves."

Do you pay attention to preseason magazines and rankings?

"That's just other people's opinions. We just worry abut each other and what goes on within the team. We want to stay within ourselves and win ballgames for ourselves, our families and our fans."

What's it like to play for Jon Tenuta?

"There aren't many words to describe him. He's a great coach. He can put you in your place in a hurry, but he just cares about the game."

How do you describe your defense?

"I would say relentless. We definitely play the way we're coached by Jon Tenuta."

How excited is this team about the opener against Notre Dame?

"We're focused. We understand what's about to happen. We understand the hype around this game and we want to relish that and make the most of it.

Are you a vocal leader?

"A good ballclub is led by its seniors, and that's the way it should be. If something needs to be said, I'll say it."

What are your goals for the season?

"We got off the plane and there was a sign about the ACC Championship. It's 123 days away, and we want to be back here."

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