Lately a couple Raider rookies, long snapper Andrew East and offensive guard Oni Omoile took some time out from their minicamp schedule to do Reddit Ask Me Anything threads, which we at Silver and Black Pride covered here and here.
However, Oni Omoile was kind enough to also field a few extra questions from RaiderDamus himself. I kept the interview relatively short because training camp is exhausting, but the answers I got were extremely enlightening.
RD: You played both guard positions at Iowa State. What position do you see yourself at in Oakland? Are there plans to try you at center?
OO: I've been training to play the inside 3 positions on the line and having been getting plenty of reps at Center over the course of OTAs/MMC. By far the biggest difference is the sheer mental workload since in our specific offense we trust the center with a ton of tools at his disposal to call protections and make adjustments on the line as he sees fit.
RD: Can you give us some insight into the coaching style of Mike Tice? He's done wonders with the offensive line since arriving in Oakland, but what is he like as a coach from a player's perspective? How does he compare with previous coaches you've had such as Brandon Blaney? On a related note, what differences have you noticed between the Raider blocking scheme and the Mark Mangino spread attack?
OO: Coach Tice is a great guy to learn from. He's been involved in the NFL since before I was born and the sheer amount of knowledge I've gained about the game over this past month under him and coach [Tim] Holt is invaluable. He sets very high expectations for each and every one of us but is also understanding and savvy enough to build us up play by play to our max potential. He also knows when to loosen up and relax and reminds us at the end of the day we've gotta have fun with it or else we'll stress ourselves out to the point of being ineffective.
The main difference between our system at ISU and here is that we were definitely a zone-run oriented team while here the Raiders are big on man blocking/power schemes which puts a lot of emphasis on creating holes to run through by brute force double teams.
RD: Kelechi Osemele was the Raiders' prize free agent signing this offseason. I understand he's your cousin, but is he a legend on the Iowa State campus? What's it like to be his teammate?
OO: He definitely became a lot more famous around Ames after he signed that huge contract though hahaha. It's fun honestly, he has a pretty boisterous personality and definitely gets us all pumped up when he dominates people in practice.
RD: Can you give us a practical example of how, if at all, your life has changed as an NFL player as opposed to a college player?
OO: I honestly thought it felt like being a college freshman all over again until I got my signing bonus and it really hit me that I'm really playing for a shot to play this sport for a living.
RD: We always hear from rookies that the big difference between college and the NFL is "the speed of the game". It's difficult for a regular fan to understand the meaning of that phrase because the college and NFL games look similar on television and from the stands. What does "the speed of the game" mean to you?
OO: In college, occasionally you could get by with sloppy form or technique just because you were just that much more athletically gifted than the other guy. But in the NFL EVERYONE here is gifted, most of them likely more than you, and they've been at this for years at this level so their technique is likely far sharper than yours as well. I was used to being the strongest pound for pound player on my team at ISU but that is definitely not the case anymore but thankfully I had a coach in Blaney who was so well versed in what it took to cut it in this league that I feel like I can at the very least hold my own simply by trusting in my technique against bigger,stronger, faster competition on the Raiders.
So there you have it folks. Thanks again to Oni Omoile and we here at Silver and Black Pride wish him the best of luck as he seeks to add to the Raiders' impressive offensive line group.