The good times are rolling here at Black and Teal, as we are joined by defensive end Larry Hart for our second player interview of the week. Larry was not-so-quietly moving up teams’ value boards as the 2010 NFL Draft approached and Gene Smith made the Central Arkansas standout his first selection of the 5th round. Praised for his speed, motor, and strength (Larry was an accomplished powerlifter, as well) he fit perfectly into the Jaguars’ rebuilding plans and flashed a ton of potential in his first year.
Larry has been used mostly on passing downs thus far and has already shown some proficiency for rushing the passer that the fans and coaches are expecting him to build upon in 2011. Tune into tomorrow to find out some interesting realizations about Larry and our other pass rushers in our Thursday column, BOOK IT: 5 Things I Think about the Jaguars, which will be focusing on the pass rush this week.
Thank you very much to Larry for taking time out of his day to give us some insight into his life, his journey in the NFL, and the ever-intriguing Joe Cullen.
On with the interview…
Andrew: First and foremost, what does it mean to you to be a RUSHMAN?
Larry: Well, being a Rushman means that you have to be a hard worker. Not only a hard worker, but be the hardest working group on the field. As a group, we want to be the hardest working group on our team.
We continue the interview after the jump…
AH: What’s your favorite Joe Cullen story?
Larry: There are so many funny stories, lol! But one funny story is once in practice, Coach Cullen was asking [assistant D-line coach] Ben Albert to get into a particular position. So he was like, “Ben move over…no Ben, more to the left…no Ben, more…”, and he kept on nagging Coach Albert until he snapped and was like, “Coach, I’m right here on the freaking line! Where do you want me to be?!?!” If you know anything about Coach Albert, he was very very laid back and that was our first time hearing him yell.
AH: What’s going through your mind when you’re lined up against a premier NFL offensive tackle? Can you not help but think of his name and his reputation or is he just a guy trying to keep you from doing your job?
Larry: Honestly, I’m just focusing on doing my job. I’m thinking about the film I watched on the guy and what moves he’s vulnerable to and trying to get to the quarterback.
AH: Gene Smith believes in drafting “high motor” defensive players and after watching you beat Trent Williams (as he was holding you) and run down Rex Grossman last year, your motor is unquestionable. Is being a high-motor guy a decision or is it a “have it or you don’t” thing? Where does your determination come from?
Larry: I think the high motor is something you just have. To be honest , I just want to be really successful with everything I do. My relationship with the Lord, my relationship with family, or my play on the field.
AH: Your coaches have said you play on the insides of your feet and have great “body lean”. Besides beating a tackle around the edge, what are your go-to pass rush moves? What are you working on in the offseason to get past your man in 2011 and run down some opposing QB’s?
Larry: The spin, chop, and long arm power are the moves I’m really focusing on. This offseason I have been focusing on smaller details as far as: getting off, getting on an edge, and being a better student of the game.
AH: Before this offseason and the lockout, there was so little time between the end of the season and the beginning of the offseason regiment. What is the general feeling of the team about the extra time off? Happy to have extra time to relax or anxious to get back to footbal?
Larry: I think guys are excited to get back to football. But The down time isn’t bad because you can see your family more often and have a little more freedom.
AH: Is the lockout interfering with the momentum and positivity that surrounded the Jaguars in 2010? Can it pick right back up where it left off?
Larry: I don’t think [it's interfering]. We have a bunch of guys here working together trying to get better. We have the same coaching staff in place and a lot of our guys are familiar with the system. We have Dave coming back and he’s been in the same system for a while, so I think we will be fine.
AH: Many people predicted the Jaguars would pick a pass-rushing defensive end early in the draft. What does it say to you that Gene Smith did not feel the need to add to his current squad of D-linemen?
Larry: I think it says that Gene has confidence in the guys we have together right now. So it’s our job to go out there and put the QB on the ground.
AH: Besides being drafted into the NFL and playing for the Jaguars, what are you proudest of in your life?
Larry: First, is my relationship with the Lord. Then would be my family and fiancé.
AH: If you weren’t playing professional football for a living, what do you think you’d be doing? What are your aspirations beyond the game?
Larry: Well, I would be finishing up my degree. I would probably get into coaching. The reason for coaching is so I can impact some younger people.
Thank you for the interview, Larry and hope to see you bringing the pain next year!
– Andrew Hofheimer