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Nate Solder Press Conference Transcript

Posted Jan 17, 2013

Patriots offensive lineman Nate Solder addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Thursday, January 17, 2013.

Q: You have been in the AFC Championship in each of your first two seasons, does this feel like standard operating procedure?

NS: I guess I am spoiled and I just expect it every year now [laughs].

Q: How much more prepared do you feel this year more than last year going into a big game like this?

NS: I don’t know, that is a tough question. I felt really prepared last year and I feel really prepared this year.

Q: Is there any difference mentally?

NS: The experience I suppose, but I don’t think anything last year affects anything this year.

Q: The NFL has evolved to be played by really big guys yet your team has small guys that are really good. What does it say about them?

NS: I don’t know. I think football players are often stereotyped as big guys but if you can make plays and everything, it really doesn’t matter what size you are.

Q: What are the challenges going up against their defensive players?

NS: They are skilled at what they do. They’ve been doing it successfully for a while now. They’re well coached, they’re good athletes, they play hard, they work together. There are a lot of challenges with this group.

Q: Because the Ravens have been together for a while, their communication is probably right on. Do you have to concentrate even more on your communication because maybe they can pick up calls that you guys are doing?

NS: I don’t know. My concentration with communication is what they tell me. I respond to that [laughs].

Q: Does it helped to have faced the Ravens earlier this season?

NS: In terms of preparing, I am going to look at their most recent games. I think that is the best way to do it. I don’t whether it helped or not.

Q: Did you play in one bowl game in college?

NS: One bowl game, yeah.

Q: You played in one bowl game in four years of college and you come to the NFL and this will be your fifth playoff game, second AFC Championship, what is it like? Has it been exciting? Does that make it all worth it?

NS: Yeah, it’s fantastic. It’s what I have always wished for, that I could have done it in college. Now that I have this opportunity I feel blessed and it’s amazing.

Q: Is there something to be said for big game experience? Like understanding how you have to perform? Maybe something that you acquired last year during your first playoff run?

NS: I don’t know. I think that it is always about how you execute and how you play, and I think that’s any game.

Q: How much stock do you put in home field advantage?

NS: I have never had a playoff game away so I don’t know.

Q: Except the Super Bowl?

NS: Yes, I guess that is kind of mutual ground though.

Q: But you would rather have it here obviously?

NS: Have the Super Bowl here?

Q: The AFC Championship?

NS: Yeah, I think so.

Q: What is it like playing next to Logan Mankins?

NS: He’s great. He’s taught me a lot – him and every one of the guys I have played next to this year. We’ve been able to work well together. That’s a testament to Scar [Dante Scarnecchia] and all the other coaches who have prepared us.

Q: Do you see an advantage to the no huddle because defenses are trying to catch up and are confused by it?

NS: At times, yeah, I think it is helpful. There are always those times where you have to line up and they’re going to be prepared for you and you still have to beat that too.

Q: How different is it at this time of year not to have Matt Light around?

NS: I guess that would be a comparison from this year to last year because I didn’t spend a lot of years with Matt. Matt is great. I miss him. He’s a good guy. Luckily I get to talk to him and he is still around. I don’t know how much different.

Q: You see Tom Brady working as hard as he does and trying to be perfect so much. As a young guy, are you sort of amazed? Does it help you understand what it takes to be great in this game?

NS: He’s not the only one. I see all my teammates working extremely hard and that is a big part of why they are successful.

Q: A lot of players play their whole careers and don’t get in these situations. Here you are in your second year with your second championship opportunity. Even at this young age do you take stock in how lucky you are in terms of being able to experience this early on and knowing what it is going to take to sustain it going forward?

NS: I don’t know what it will take to sustain it. I am lucky. I definitely haven’t done any reflecting because it is so early in my career but it is great. I am privileged and feel happy to be here.

Q: Do you remember your reaction after last year’s AFC Championship game was over and you realized you were going to the Super Bowl?

NS: I don’t remember. I am going to stay focused on this week.

Q: Logan Mankins gets pretty fired up on the field. Does that rub off on you guys?

NS: I’ll say this, when he plays, he plays really passionate. He has a lot of energy and I think that certainly permeates the whole group.

Q: What have you learned about Paul Kruger?

NS: A shifty guy that plays hard. He knows what he is doing. He has really done some good things here. He is definitely going to be a challenge.