For all of the contraversy that has surrounded LSU Defensive End Sam Montgomery has maintained a positive attitude throughout and continues grinding towards his goal of playing in the NFL. Say what you want about him, but he has been willing to take all of it in stride and answer even his toughest critics. We discussed all of it in addition to his career at LSU, his thoughts on some of his teammates, and why he believes he will be a big time player at the next level.
Peter Smith: You grew up in Greenwood, South Carolina, so how did you end up at LSU?
Sam Montgomery: I went to LSU, because I wanted to be different. Everybody stays in the state of South Carolina and goes to the same state schools.
PS: Talk about your redshirt sophomore year.
SM: Last year was a great year at LSU. It was basically poetry in motion.
PS: Thoughts on this past year on the field:
SM: I played hard; me and my teammates’ had lasting moments together. And we played to our goals to the very end, even to the last snap.
PS: Talk about your comments at the combine.
SM: The main thing is I think I was misunderstood. I meant to say like it’s different energies that we played with between an SEC opponent and a non-SEC opponent. The crowd’s different, things like that. The more hyped the atmosphere is, the better you are going to perform. It’s just the atmosphere is the whole thing.
PS: What gets you amped for a football game?
SM: The preparation during the week, the coaches. Personally, I get amped just going out there and getting to play football hit somebody.
PS: What are teams telling you about this situation?
SM: I think it goes to show that I demand a lot out of myself. When you put on the film, it’s evidence to see that I run to the football and that I have passion; I play with passion with every team I play against. The coaches say that it’s evident that you can see that “this kid plays hard”.
PS: Knowing what you know now, if you could go back and choose to have come out after last year or still stayed played this year?
SM: I’m happy that I ended up staying. I’m so happy.
PS: A lot has been made of the letter posted months by the LSU Strength and Conditioning coach. What should people take away from that?
SM: It was just a motivational tool by (Tommy) Moffit and he just wants the best out of me and out of all those guys on that list. It was just a motivational tool and just want wants us to work hard. Everything’s alright. We were at the Pro Day together. I got 22 reps on the bench at the Pro Day. We’re family.
PS: There have been reports that the LSU coaching staff has been bad mouthing you to teams at different events. Any truth to this or is it just a rumor?
SM: Personally, I don’t believe anything that’s said in the media. I know my coaches always have my back 110%. I know that (Les) Miles loves me; he had good things to say of me at a Pro Day. I talk to him; I call him on the phone. I talk to Coach Brick (Haley); I call him on the phone. My relationship with my coaches is like family and I just don’t believe in that stuff.
PS: When you think of LSU now, what comes to mind?
SM: Love purple and gold.
PS: Which games from this past season do you point to and say that’s me, that’s what Sam Montgomery can do?
SM: Pretty much after looking at film with coaches, I pretty much say all of them.
PS: Talk about the Alabama game this year and your impact on it.
SM: It was a very emotional game with the history behind LSU and Alabama. Of course, everybody looks forward to playing that game and just to be out there and be a main force in the LSU defense; John Chavis’s defense, just to keep the tradition going and make big time plays in big time games. That’s more than enough right there.
PS: Who is the best offensive tackle you’ve faced this year?
SM: Chris Faulk.
PS: Talk about your attitude towards the running game.
SM: I love being physical and being a run stopper first is one of the main things. Take it away and make a team one dimensional; you stop the run and then you make them pass and that’ll get you sacks.
PS: Do you think you could make the move to outside linebacker?
SM: I think that I can move to outside linebacker.
PS: You gained 15lbs this season. Do you felt like it held you back at all? Where’s your weight now and where do you want it to be when you go to camp?
SM: I put on 15lbs at like 260, 263 and I just put it back on the wrong way. I took it back off and put it back on just in muscle and now it’s much easier to move around with it, so I can make those linebacker moves but still be a DEnd.
PS: Do you think as yourself as a complete defensive end?
SM: I think I can do whatever I’m taught to do, whatever a team needs because I’m an athlete.
PS: When all is said and done, why should a team pick you? What are they getting?
SM: A guy who is going to win games, somebody who can play right away, and a hard worker.
PS: 9 months from now, what are we doing to be saying about Sam Montgomery?
SM: This kid can play football and he’s a man on the field.
PS: What do you make of the sheer number of LSU underclassmen, 11 in all, that declared this season?
SM: Some people might say that it’s going to be hard, but I think all the guys look at it; this is going to be a challenge to go and show what you can do in the National Football League.
PS: Give me a short description of some of your teammates.
SM: Good guy. Fast. Strikes quick like a jaguar.
PS: Bennie Logan?
SM: Bull. Mean. Fair. Run stopper.
PS: Lavar Edwards?
M: Cinderella. Sleeping giant. Athlete.
PS: Kevin Minter?
SM: Hard head, smart mind.
PS: Tharold Simon?
SM: Tall. Slick. Hands. Height.
PS: Eric Reid?
SM: Missile, locked on target. Tactics.
PS: And the one offensive guy I wanted to mention since you faced him in practice; Chris Faulk?
SM: Wall. Blocks. Protector. Friend. That’s just brutal power.
PS: What do you take away from Les Miles?
SM: We are a family. We are a team. This will always be our home. And when we step out of our house, represent the school, represent the team, and represent yourself.
PS: Tell me about an assistant or a high school coach that has helped you develop in your career.
SM: Coach Dula, Coach Butler. Those guys really shaped me as a person off the field and gave me the start of my dominant attitude.
Whether you end up loving or hating him, Sam Montgomery just wants people to hear his side and let people decide for themselves. More than anything, he wants people to evaluate him based on what he does on the field rather than a moment in time at the combine. He is going to be a wildcard on draft day as it is difficult to project where he will end up, but all he's looking for is the opportunity to prove it. Good luck to him and for his sake, hopefully he can go out there and remind everyone why he was such a highly touted player coming into this season.