Q-and-A with Max Scharping


Q-and-A with Max Scharping

By Ryan Ostry

Max Scharping, redshirt junior offensive lineman, led the way for the Huskie offensive line in 2016, and he is looking to do the same this season.

Scharping started all 12 games in 2016 and was named an All-American.

The 6’6, 320 pound tackle bolstered an offensive line that was first in the country in passing downs sack rate, and second in adjusted sack rate, which both are related to pass-blocking stats.

Scharping also led a line that did not allow a sack in four consecutive games and finished first in the country with only eight sacks given up on the season.

Scharping sat down with Ryan Ostry, Northern Star Sports Contributor, to discuss the Nebraska win, his overall play and his thoughts on the team this season.

Q: You guys come into the bye week at 2-1, how are your feelings toward the season so far that you guys have had?

A: Well it’s still early, but obviously you like being 2-1 compared to where we were last year, and especially coming off of a Nebraska [win], but we still have a long way to go and get better which is what this bye week is for.

Q: You guys arguably will play the best team on your schedule Sunday with San Diego State currently a top 25 team in the nation. They haven’t lost yet and they have beaten Arizona State and Stanford. Is the confidence higher knowing you just beat Nebraska in Lincoln?

A: I think it helps knowing that we have the potential to do it, but it still doesn’t mean anything. We still have to go work hard, and this is the best team we will play the rest of the year. If you watch film on them, they fly around and are really energetic. They are a really good football team, so we need to be on our [best] game on both sides of the ball ready to play.

Q: You guys led the country last year in least sacks given up, what do you attribute that to and how do you think you’ve fared so far this year?

A: Coaching is a big part of it. Scheme, and what we do [as well as] having good players. We really believe in ourselves as an offensive line, and our coaches put us in great positions and we face really good competition all the time so it still comes down to how we compete every single play.

Q: So this year, you guys are tied for No. 17 in the country with only three sacks allowed, who have you been most pleased to see with their growth?

A: Nate Veloz, [redshirt sophomore offensive lineman], has really stepped up. He was actually on the [defensive line] in spring ball, and then moved him over to [offensive line], and he took the job at right guard and held it down for the most part. Also, both of the right tackles, Ryan Roberts, [redshirt sophomore offensive lineman] and [freshman offensive lineman] Isaac Hawn have both been playing really well.

Q: There’s a lot of physicality in this game and you are in the deepest part of it, how much is the game truly physical and how much is mental?

A: In the trenches, every play is physical. At the same time when you’re a young guy a lot of it is mental because you want to make sure you’re doing the right thing and you’re worried about all the other stuff which takes away from the physical part sometimes, but the key for offensive lineman is to not think as much and to just let your mind go blank and do what you’re trained to do.

Q: How was it going against the nation’s leading sack getter, Harold Landry on opening night against Boston College?

A: It’s always cool to have an opponent like that, especially the first game coming out it always a motivating factor and to hold that whole team to no sacks was a really good accomplishment, because Harold Landry is very good but so is the rest of all those lineman and linebackers.

Q: Is there anyone else this season that you’re looking forward to matching up against, and why?

A: No one specifically. I’d say this next team in San Diego State, because they’re a great team and we get to go play in a former NFL stadium and it will be a great atmosphere and great game.

Q: What is it like moving from right tackle to left tackle?

A: It’s only really a challenge with some footwork technique. You just have to flip your feet, and the mental side of it wasn’t too bad because they’re the same plays you just have to get the technique down. I played on the right side for a couple years so my footwork was pretty ingrained so it just took reps on the left side for me to feel comfortable to play my best.

Q: What is the one thing that outsiders should know about this 2017 Huskie offensive line, and what should we expect from the team going through the rest of the season?

A: We’re a unit that plays together, and that wants to run the ball and be physical, and we just want to pound the ball down your throat.

The Huskies will continue their season 9:30 p.m. Saturday against the San Diego State University Aztecs in San Diego.