KFFL.com had the chance to interview Bowling Green interior offensive lineman Kory Lichtensteiger Tuesday, March 4. One of the better centers in the 2008 NFL Draft, Lichtensteiger will look to capitalize on a strong showing at both the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine. At 6-foot-3 and 310 pounds, he was one of the top performers amongst offensive linemen in the 20-yard shuttle, which he ran in 4.56 seconds.
His collegiate career is also impressive, recording just four penalties over his career and starting 44 consecutive games. Lichtensteiger's ability to play offensive guard and center will also stand out during the NFL Draft April 26. Prior to moving to center for 19 straight games, he lined up at left offensive guard for his first 23 games.
Michael Egnak: Have you met with many teams at this point?
Kory Lichtensteiger: I talked to about 20 teams at the combine and then maybe around 20 teams at the Senior Bowl as well. They don't do a whole lot of interviews, at least not with me, outside of the All-Star game and the combine.
ME: Which teams are showing the most interest in you?
KL: It seems like every team that I talked to is interested. I guess I could tell you the teams that I talked to more than once. That would be the Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans. That would be four off the top of my head that I talked to more than once. When you talk to them, they all really act interested and have great things to say, so it's hard to really get a gauge on draft day on who's going to be calling your number.
ME: Any ideas on where you may go in the NFL Draft?
KL: Not really, it's a guessing game. I would hate to go out there and make a prediction. If you're not in the top-20 picks, you have a long two days ahead of you on draft day. I'm really hesitant to make a prediction right now just because I really don't know. I'm hoping for late first day or early second day.
ME: What teams or which areas of the country would you like to play in most?
KL: If I had my pick I'd stay close to home, and home for me is northwest Ohio. I don't think the Detroit [Lions] would be interested; they haven't talked to me yet. Indianapolis would be cool, Pittsburgh, Tennessee is even close enough, Chicago. I would really love to play anywhere in the immediate area, but I don't know how likely that is. I just tell everyone I'll take whoever wants to take me.
ME: Are teams looking at you more as a guard or a center?
KL: Well I think they're looking at me more as a center, and just a center who can play guard, too. I think one of my selling points is that if they need a center right away, I can play center right away. But if I don't happen to be in the starting rotation right off the bat, I can come in and be a solid starter or backup at guard too.
ME: Which position are you more comfortable at?
ME: Which do you pride yourself on most, playing in every game in college or being penalized just four times?
KL: Playing in every game. It shows that I'm durable and tough. Even though I might have been hurt, I played through it. If it's not something that's broken or an all-out tear, you can usually play through a lot of things and a lot of different kinds of pain. So I pride myself on being a tough player.
ME: Are there any aspects of your game you feel you need to work on?
KL: I'd like to improve my abilities as a guard. I started my first two years in college at guard, and I got away from it the last two years when I started at center. So I'd really like to freshen up my skills and be more accustomed and comfortable in there without snapping the ball.
ME: Do you feel you would fit a more pass-heavy or a more balanced offense in the NFL?
KL: Probably more balanced, I like run-blocking. I think I can be a good run-blocker. I think I can get good movement on the ball. I would like a balance; I wouldn't like to go somewhere where it's strictly passing.
ME: How has starting a family of your own prepared you for the NFL?
KL: It's taught me a lot of different lessons in life about responsibility and it's certainly going to keep me humble and focused on having a long career. I'm not just going to try to go in and have just one or two good years and get out. I want to make a solid foundation and play for awhile so I can provide a good life for my family. I think it's a good motivator for me.
ME: You are said to have a bit of a nasty streak while on the field. Do you consider this to be a strength heading into the NFL?
KL: Yeah, I think to be a really effective lineman you have to be able to get nasty. I wouldn't say that's my personality off the field. I'm a pretty mild-mannered, gentle guy. But on the field, your ability to finish blocks is in my opinion what separates good lineman from great lineman.
ME: Do you feel that can be a weakness at times during games?
KL: Not necessarily a weakness. It can take you out of position sometimes, so you have to use good discretion. You have to know when is a good time to finish a block and put somebody on their back versus sitting back and trying to help your teammate or staying in position.
ME: How do you feel you performed at the Senior Bowl and at the Scouting Combine?
KL: I was happy with my performances. I don't even know what I was expecting going into both, I guess I really was going in kind of blind. I just wanted to be able to show that I'm versatile and cam play center and guard. Thankfully I was given a good chance at the Senior Bowl to play both and I think I showed that I can play at that level against elite competition. So that was really my goal at the Senior Bowl. I think, in my opinion, I did pretty well there.
The combine, same thing. I actually did better than I expected at the combine, in some areas.
ME: Is there anything you're going to work on before your Pro Day next week?
KL: I'm not actually going to be at my Pro Day. I just got my shoulder scoped and I'm still in a sling. I'll be in a sling for another three weeks. I wouldn't be able to do anything at my Pro Day anyway, so I'm just not going to go.
ME: What happened to your shoulder?
KL: It was something that bothered me through the season. I finally got an MRI after the Senior Bowl and it turned out it was a torn labrum in my right shoulder, so I got it scoped right after the combine.
ME: Some criticize the level of competition you faced in school. What do you have to say to your doubters?
KL: You're going to see that, and I would say some of that criticism is probably legitimate. We have good players in the MAC [Mid-American Conference] in a smaller D-1 level. It's true that we're not as deep and you're not going to face consistent competition like you would in a bigger conference. But to anybody that would doubt me, I would say put in the film where we play those Big 10 or ACC schools and I'm doing just as well against those people. Even though we don't play them on a consistent basis, when we do play them we don't joke around.
ME: Who do you think was the best player you ever faced while at Bowling Green?
KL: I would say Quinn Pitcock from Ohio State. That would have been two years ago. He was just a strong, high-motor guy. He really worked hard. And I think a lot of times with defensive linemen, the offensive linemen gain the upper hand because they outwork their opponent. With him, it was hard to outwork him, so he was pretty effective.