this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Monday, July 30, 2007 By Mike Triplett JACKSON, MISS. -- Although he didn't arrive with the same kind of fanfare as fellow newcomers Drew Brees and Reggie Bush, linebacker Scott Fujita was one of the Saints' biggest difference-makers last season. ...
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Interview: LB Scott Fujita
Monday, July 30, 2007
By Mike Triplett
JACKSON, MISS. -- Although he didn't arrive with the same kind of fanfare as fellow newcomers Drew Brees and Reggie Bush, linebacker Scott Fujita was one of the Saints' biggest difference-makers last season.
A smart and sturdy playmaker, Fujita made more than 500 tackles in five seasons with Kansas City, Dallas and the Saints. Not bad for a former University of California walk-on.
As he heads into his second season with New Orleans, Fujita talked about the team's lofty expectations, the new faces in his position group and his not-so-Hollywood lifestyle:
You were on the Chiefs when they went 13-3 in 2003. What did you learn about coming back the next year after a season like that?
Well, it was different because we had a lot of defensive coaching changes and a whole new system. But it's tough. You can't take anything for granted. And the one thing that Coach Payton has been talking about is starting all over again. I think, in a way, we all just expected ourselves to kind of end up in the Super Bowl after that 13-3 season. And everyone came in, and we just expected everything to take over where it left off. And that's not the case in this league. You've got 31 other teams that are thinking the same way in terms of having an opportunity to win a championship. And you've just got to start from scratch each year.
Is that easier said than done, or do you really believe that everyone can say, 'We haven't accomplished anything, yet?'
Yeah, like I said, it just starts over every year. At the same time, the raised expectations that come with what happened last year, those are good for us. I think everyone's ready to kind of shoulder those raised expectations, and overall, I think that's a good thing.
You look bigger this year. Did you add weight in the offseason?
No, I'm about the same. A good 250 (pounds) every year. . . . I usually come in a little tan, so maybe it makes me look more defined.
What is your offseason program?
I just stay in Southern California at home and train on my own. I don't like to go out and spend money on other people and count on them to get me ready to play. I just feel like I've been doing this long enough; I know my body better than anybody else. So I'd rather just crawl into a dark cave and kind of train on my own.
You accepted an award at the ESPYs (along with Saints teammates Brees, Bush and Will Smith). How did you enjoy the Hollywood experience?
It was fun. It was out in my neck of the woods, so it was convenient. But that whole Hollywood lifestyle, it's a whole different scene.
That's not next for you, after football?
No. No way. I'll be out on the beach side. I'm not going into the city too much.
Last year around this time, you had so many new guys coming in and out at the linebacker position. How nice is it to have all three starters back, plus some experienced veterans you signed in free agency?
To me, it changes everything in training camp. We don't have to spend so much time in meetings just going over basic stuff over and over again. We don't have to go through an individual period with (linebackers coach) Joe Vitt feeling like he has to break our heads in to find out what he's got. He's got guys that he knows can play. And in terms of the system, we're a year into it now, and you just don't have to waste time on all those extra things. Just having the continuity there helps a lot.
You and Scott Shanle and Mark Simoneau seemed to develop such a nice chemistry together. Has that been affected at all by adding new guys such as Brian Simmons and Dhani Jones?
I don't think it affects the chemistry at all. Vitt, I've been in his (meeting) room a long time now (in Kansas City and New Orleans), and he runs a great, tight group of linebackers, regardless of situations. I think the more veteran guys you have, the better off you'll be. We were very fortunate with health last year, and that's not always going to be the case. So in terms of chemistry, yeah, Scott, Mark and I are good friends, and we'll continue to be. But I think the new guys will fit right in.
What's the best and the worst thing about training camp?
The best thing is the locker room. The worst thing is just leaving home, leaving my wife.
How do you fill the down time, if there really is such a thing?
You've got to get your feet up. I've got kind of a routine all through training camp. Right when practice is over, I've got to get a quick workout in. Then I come back, shower, ice up, talk to you guys and then try to watch some TV for a little while.
It's been 25 years since it happened, but is it still a big deal for Cal guys like you every time you see a replay of "The Play?"
I think it is. It's still such a cherished part of Cal's history, and everywhere you walk around on Cal's campus, they've got some reference to "The Play." In Memorial Stadium, there's one whole room that's devoted to the play. And they've got a frame-by-frame thing of every single person that was involved and all the X's and O's diagrammed. It's still a pretty big deal.
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