Pre-Draft Interviews

2017 NFL Draft: Tyler O’Conner, Michigan State Spartans

365 Sports Network currently features dozens and dozens of interviews with a mixture of athletes and we will continue to publish more and more interviews as time goes on. If you are interested in being interviewed and if you are an athlete either in the college or professional ranks please email me at JustinKish@365SportsNetwork.com and we will communicate for a possible interview.


Justin David Kish: Thank you so much for your time Tyler. Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself?

Tyler O’Connor: So, I grew up in Lima, Ohio my whole life in a great family.  Raised catholic and went through the catholic school program.  Have two younger brothers and an older sister.  Started four years playing Varsity football and basketball.  Won a state championship as the leading scorer and rebounder for the basketball team (sophomore year).  Had a successful football career making it to state twice, but did not win.  Chose MSU because of Coach D, and the hard work atmosphere he has created there.  “The jersey is earned, never given” is a motto that should be used in everyone’s daily life.  I believe strongly in this and it goes with my core values.

Justin David Kish: You played your college career at Michigan State University. Tell us about your time spent with the Spartans?

Tyler O’Connor: MSU was great to me.  I loved my time with my teammates, coaches, and spartan nation.  I was able to get two degrees while playing football at MSU.  BS in Supply Chain Management and a MS in Market Research. I wish I could have played more on the field, but when my opportunities came, I felt I performed. I gave everything I had into that program.

Justin David Kish: During your time with the team you were coached by quarterbacks coach Brad Salem and offensive coordinator Dave Warner and Jim Bollman. How has the coaching staff at MSU improved you as a player?

Tyler O’Connor: These coaches I believe are as knowledgeable as you will find. I  have taken in so much information from them and would have no issue putting my football knowledge up against any other player in this draft. My ability to identify coverage’s, blitzes, and soft spots of defenses is because of these coaches.  This being said, one of the greatest things I’ve learned is that you never stop learning. Learning how to learn football is the greatest thing I’ve taken from them.

Justin David Kish: Playing in the Big 12 Conference you have competed against teams like rival Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State. What is one game that really took you to your limits and brought out the best in you?

Tyler O’Connor: Playing OSU in my first career start at the Horse Shoe.  Playing against a defense with 7 NFL draft picks and winning was something I will never forget.  We played as a team and I was able to be the leader in arguably the biggest game of the year.

Justin David Kish: With the Spartans, you created so many great memories with your brothers. What is one memory that sticks out from the rest?

Tyler O’Connor:  I think breaking the streak of MSU going to the Rose Bowl is one of the best memories. The “player only” meetings we conducted and just talking to each other about the team was a great opportunity to live/grow as young men.

Justin David Kish: What does it mean to be a Spartan?

Tyler O’Connor: Being a Spartan is being a part of a nationwide brand forever.  I think being a Spartan symbolizes hard work and dedication.  The jersey is earned, and never given.  We work for everything we get.

Justin David Kish: Lets shift our focus onto the 2017 NFL Draft. How are you currently preparing for the event and who are you working with?

Tyler O’Connor: It all comes back to who you know and connecting yourself. I met Jeff Christensen through Kirk Cousins and Drew Stanton. He trains both of them and a couple years ago we decided that we would work together.  He has some great ways of training.  I have been making it my point to be where he is, which is in the Chicago area for now, as much as possible.  Jeff goes out to Arizona to train NFL guys in February and I will join him there. On top of QB training, I will be doing my speed training at MSU with the strength coaches, along with another former MSU player, Todd Anderson.  He runs a gym in the  Chicago area called The Labs USA.

Justin David Kish: During your time with Michigan State you worked with former Spartan and current Oakland Raiders quarterback Connor Cook. What is your relationship with Connor like and has he given you any advice?

Tyler O’Connor: I have a very strong relationship with Connor. We talk very often and plan on working together even this offseason. I have spent a great deal talking to him about the interview process and how to prepare for it.

Justin David Kish: What is one aspect of your game do you consider your biggest strength?

Tyler O’Connor: My knowledge of the game. My last 5 games I was dealing with an injury, and think my play making ability is a great strength of mine as well.

Justin David Kish: What is one area of your game you are working on improving?

Tyler O’Connor: The biggest thing I want to improve on is when things break down, what is the best option for the team to put us in a good situation? In other words, don’t make a bad play, worse.

Justin David Kish: Do you have the ability to command the players around you?

Tyler O’Connor: Yes. I had the respect and backing of my teammates and coaches throughout the whole season despite the losses. I think that says a lot.

Justin David Kish: How was your chemistry with your team in college?

Tyler O’Connor: Honestly, the closest teams were our best teams that won the most. I am very big on the fact that chemistry and accountability win games/championships.

Justin David Kish: What were your on the field responsibilities in college?

Tyler O’Connor: I was responsible for checking out of bad plays, redirecting protections at the line of scrimmage, and with a lot of young players, getting them in the right places and telling them what to do.

Justin David Kish: What does a typical day look like when you have time off?

Tyler O’Connor: Relaxing, recovering, and playing with my dog.

Justin David Kish: In the next couple of questions I am going to put you on the line. My first question. If you could compare yourself to any current professional football quarterback who would it be and why?

Tyler O’Connor: I really do feel like I can be like Kirk Cousins. He has always done what is right and is very passionate about the game of football.  He continued to do things right and things are going his way. My QB coach compares me to him often and he has taught both of us. I have no doubt in my abilities, just like Kirk.

Justin David Kish: My final question. If I was an NFL General Manager why should I draft Tyler O’Connor?

Tyler O’Connor: As I just said,  I have no doubt in my abilities. My confidence is not shook after last season. I truly believe that my football story is unfinished. I had limited opportunities at MSU to display my abilities, but when I did, I feel like I did what I could.  As a captain, I had the respect of my teammates and coaches and that never changed. I think that says a lot. I am a safe pick because I have always done what I am asked, and will do what is best for the team at all costs. I am just looking for an opportunity to showcase what I can do in the right system and organization.


 

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