Ed Thompson: Congratulations on being drafted by the Indianapolis Colts. Where were you when they called you?
Fili Moala: I was with my family in southern California. I spent the
whole day fiddling around, anxious, just waiting for that phone call. I was
fortunate enough to get a phone call later in the second round. The general
manager of the Colts called me and asked me how I'd feel about playing in the
heartland of America. And I told him, "Man, that sounds great." Then
they made the announcement on TV a couple of minutes later, and the whole house
Thompson: Did they talk with you at all about where you fit into the
team's plans? And how do you see yourself contributing there?Based on
their needs I think you've got a really good shot at being a starter during your
Moala: Honestly, I don't know how they think I'm going to fit in. I
haven't really talked to them at all yet about the personnel, but I'm sure they
have a great group of guys there. It's a very classy organization from top to
bottom with really good people. That's one thing that really stood out to me
when I was talking to them. They want me to come in and contribute, and that's
one of my main goals coming into this rookie season, being able to contribute
wherever it may be—on special teams, on defense, or even bringing the
ice out for the Gatorade (laughing). Whatever it is, I'm just going to try to be
an asset to the organization.
Thompson: At the Combine, you and I talked about the Colts being
a potential fit for you, but how much contact did you have with them prior to
getting that call?
Moala: I had an interview with them and I talked with their scouts a
few times, but other than that, I didn't have too much contact with them.
Thompson: Has it hit you yet that when you start practicing with the
Colts, you'll be looking across a couple of offensive linemen and you'll be
seeing Peyton Manning getting ready to take the snap?
Jeff Golden/Getty Images
Moala: Man (laughing), I tried to let that sink in yesterday,
but there's so much information to process right now that there was no way it was
going to become that real to me. But I'm really excited to get there and to be
with classy veterans, people who play the game the right way, who take their
jobs seriously and who love to play football. They've got some really good
O-Linemen there, you have to be if you're going to be protecting Peyton Manning.
It's just crazy. That's one thing I'm trying to keep in mind, that even though
they are big-time players, don't be in awe of them. Obviously, the Colts
believed that I'm the same caliber of player, that I can play at a level that
they obviously like. So I'm going to go in there, pay my dues, show respect,
take care of business, and make the coaches happy about their decision. And I
have no doubt that I'll be able to do that.
Thompson: It's got to be exciting for you, knowing that no
matter which defensive tackle spot you end up playing, you'll either have Dwight Freeney or Robert Mathis next to you.
Moala: Yeah, those guys can rush the passer. The Colts were one
team that we watched a lot of film on at USC. Those guys get up the field, they
have multiple pass-rush moves, and they're savvy veterans. I'm sure that I'll
have nothing but good times there and will learn a lot of the tricks of the
Thompson: If I remember correctly, their roster is pretty
stacked with guys from the Big Ten, so you may need to stand up for the Pac-10
in that locker room.
Moala: Oh yeah, I have no problem with that. Our record is flawless
when you look at Pac-10, Big Ten. So I'm not going to be walking around and
gloating, but if anyone wants to test the waters, I'll be able to hold my own
defending the Pac-10.
Thompson: As you depart USC, is there anything you want to say
to the fans there? And is there anything you want to say to the Colts fans?
Moala: I want the USC fans to know how appreciative I am of all the
years they cheered me and my teammates on. And to the Colts fans, here's to the
future. I'm only going to get better, and I'm determined to be the best and to
show everyone that I'm one of the elite tackles in this draft. I know it's going
to take years, but I'm going to come in and be as productive as I can be,
knowing that I'm going to continue to rise. And let's go win some Super Bowls!
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