Every team needs guys like Florida FB Billy Latsko who are willing to do whatever is asked for the team, even if it means someone else gets the glory. But NFL teams have noticed his special teams work, blocking skills and his attitude. Learn more about him and who's shown interest in this exclusive interview.
Ed Thompson: You were the starting fullback, but didn’t get a carry your senior year. How do you get geared up knowing you’re going to be out there pounding and blocking, but the other running backs will be in spotlight?
Billy Latsko: I’m an unselfish guy and anything I can do for the team, I’ll do it. I wasn’t big on getting all of the spotlight. If they needed me to run the ball or catch the ball I did my best at it, but if they needed me to block that’s what I was going to do. I think me being that kind of person, everyone still saw that, and I still got to be in the spotlight a little bit even if it wasn’t as much as (Chris) Leak or Dallas (Baker) or some of the guys like that. What really mattered to me was winning and doing what was best for my team.
ET: Two of your strengths are your toughness and your vision as a lead blocker. Talk about those two traits a little bit…
BL: Toughness I learned growing up in my family and working the summers with my dad--he’s a masonry contractor. I struggled with being in the hot sun everyday and I can only imagine what he goes through everyday. He’s fifty-some years old and he’s been doing that most of his life and I think that’s where I get my toughness from, working with my dad, working construction and going through high school with coaches and weightlifting coaches learning never to quit. The vision may be because I played defense and I know defenses really well. Most defenses are gap defenses where certain people are responsible for certain gaps, so it’s pretty easy for me to see the flow of the defense, what gap I need to fit through, and reading through the first level of defense to get to the second level where I have to block. So that came pretty natural to me.
ET: You placed a lot of emphasis on academics and were on the 2006 leadership committee for the team. What was that and what was your role?
|Billy Lasko mixes it up with LSU's Ali Highsmith (AP Photo)|
BL: The leadership committee members are appointed by Coach Meyer. They’re the guys who do everything right, go to class, are good leaders, have good work ethic, and get people to do the right thing. They make the decisions on the team, all the way from what kind of shoes we wear to whether a guy gets kicked off the team or not.
ET: What do you enjoy about special teams?
BL: Special teams is a big part of the game and a big part of who wins and who loses--Coach Meyer stressed that a lot. Especially on punt team, it’s a big change of possession and field position change, so it’s a really important part of the game. People who don’t know football might not think that, but having good special teams players is a big part of winning and losing, so I took pride in that and I give it my all.
ET: Do you have a favorite special teams unit?
BL: I think the most important special teams is punt because it’s the biggest field position change. I didn’t play kickoff my last year at Florida, but kickoff was always fun just running down there and hitting someone full speed. So I think my favorite one was kickoff.
ET: Where did you line up on the punt team?
BL: I was part of the shield, one of the three guys who were the personal protection of the punter.
ET: Who were some of the teams that showed interest in you during your Pro Day?
BL: The Patriots, the Jaguars, the Lions, the Chiefs, the Colts, the Bears, Redskins, Dolphins, Eagles, and the Bengals.
You can learn more about Billy by visiting his player profile page.
|A member of the Professional Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's NFL and college football player interviews and features have been published across the Scout.com network and syndicated through FoxSports.com's NFL team pages.