SDBoltReport.com's Michael Kranzler continues his exclusive interview with USD linebacker Eric…
Exclusive Interview: Rookie LB Eric Bakhtiari
Michael Kranzler: How do you think the transition will be from playing in the Football Championship Subdivision [formerly Division 1-AA] to playing in the NFL?
Eric Bakhtiari: I'm jumping all the way to the NFL from non-scholarship Division 1-AA and it's a big jump and a lot of hard work, but I'm not afraid of that. I'm actually looking forward to working as hard as I can and trying to make the team and helping out wherever I can.
MK: You almost went to Arizona as a student, not a football player. What led you to instead go to USD and walk on to the football team?
EB: I came up here and visited one of my buddies and I really liked it. It's not as hot, it's by the water and it's a beautiful campus. I also knew that my mom would like visiting San Diego a lot more than visiting Tucson, and what really drew me there was the opportunity to play football. I didn't really think that I would have an opportunity to play football at Arizona. The coach wanted me to walk on and I didn't feel like I was prepared. I feel like I made the right decision in going to USD.
MK: Have any of the Chargers veterans started to mentor you on the field?
EB: Yeah, a lot of them have. If I do something wrong, which happens every day, they'll tell me "do it like this...this is what you've got to do...if you're doing this, look for this." They're all really nice and I have great respect for them. They've really helped me assimilate into a new position, and when I do some good things, sometimes they'll yell my name and it makes me feel pretty good.
MK: What do you feel is your biggest strength?
EB: My motor. If the play is on the opposite side of the field, I'm going to run there and try to make that play. I'm very competitive. I want to beat the man in front of me on every play. I want to get that tackle. I want to make that sack. I want to get my hand in the throwing lane and knock the pass down. I want to do whatever it takes in order to be successful and to help my team win.
MK: You like to water-ski and wakeboard. How often do you get out on the water and for how long have you been doing it?
EB: I've been water-skiing for like 16 years, and I say I wakeboard but I only do it occasionally. I'm horrible at it. I may be able to get out there on a wakeboard once or twice a year and I can only jump the wake. I can't do any cool tricks or anything like that, but I like it and it's fun exercise. Water-skiing I'm a little better at. I'm stronger cutting from my left to my right and slalom skiing, but since football has been so crazy for the five years in college and especially now, it's hard to get up to Clear Lake and water-ski and wakeboard with my family. Luckily, my girlfriend's family has a boat out here, so there are a couple of lakes out here that I've been able to hit up for a day trip and learn to wakeboard. I'm becoming a little better at wakeboarding, but by no means am I good yet.
Click here for the "Insiders only" portion of this interview, where Bakhtiari talks about how he racked up 20 sacks last season; what is so daunting about his transition to the NFL; and why his former teammate, QB Josh Johnson, is full of it.
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