by Greg Doyle, Patriots Daily Staff
Mike Hicks is a very experienced offensive lineman from the UConn program which is producing more and more NFL players every year. He showed some versatility playing both tackle and guard and on the left side and right at UConn. This should help him in the eyes of many NFL teams. He has a lot of experience against good college opposition and had a very good career. He now hopes to get a chance to play in the NFL and we had a chance to talk to him recently.
Hi Mike, can you tell us where you are from? How did you get into football and when did you start playing?
I am from Seymour, Connecticut and always wanted to play football. I was always too big for Pop Warner and would have had to play up with kids four years older so my Mom held me out. I finally got to start (playing) in high school.
Did you play any other sports growing up?
Growing up I was big into baseball. First base and pitcher and played from t-ball to end of high school. Also basketball and lifting.
How did you end up at UConn?
I loved the campus and the up and coming football program and how close it is to home, being only an hour away.
You started 48 of your last 49 games on the offensive line, is durability something you take pride in?
I wouldn’t so much say durability. Being an o-line man you are always banged up. You just have to tough it out and be a little lucky to have played for so long without any serious injuries.
What did you do to prepare for your pro day? I read you took off some weight for it?
I really wanted to lose some pounds and slim down. I was at a playing weight of 328 and I went to Lancaster, Pennsylvania at a place called Power Train. The owner Steve Saunders really had me focus on my diet, lifting and combine drills to really get me ready for my pro day
You started primarily at right tackle at UConn but also played some left guard, was switching sides difficult for you?
Switching sides wasn’t that difficult. It took me only about a week or two to get really settled in and comfortable with the change. It was a fast transition for me.
Do you feel you’d fit better inside at guard or out at tackle in the NFL? Does it matter to you?
I have primarily played tackle which I am most comfortable at but the position does not matter to me. Wherever I am needed I can go in and get the job done.
What do you feel you have to work on to play in the NFL?
I have to continue to get bigger stronger and faster and really focus on the coaching and technique of the game to get myself in the right positions to succeed.
What did you learn from your head coach Randy Edsall, who has coached in the NFL?
I have learned so much from Coach Edsall. Not only has he taught me to be a good football player on the field but he has taught me so much more in becoming a man. He has taught me so many good aspects about life and becoming a better more responsible person. And I really appreciate all he has done for me.
Have you gotten any feedback that you have a chance to be signed as a free agent if you go undrafted?
I have been hearing all different things. I just want to stay positive and know I did my best and whatever happens I need to go in there and prove myself.
What are your impressions of the New England Patriots? Did you follow their success at all throughout the 2000s? Have you talked with any of their coaches or scouts?
The Pats are a great organization with a lot of great coaches and players. I have followed their success and from there hard work they have accomplished many great things.
Where will you be watching the draft? You must be nervous as it gets close.
I will be watching the draft with my parents at home. I just look at is as I worked really hard and gave it my all and if I’m blessed with the opportunity I’m going to be ready for it.
Thanks Mike and good luck with your career.