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Football Memories: Nate Solder

We sat down with starting left tackle Nate Solder to talk about some of his earliest and most unforgettable football memories. Solder was the Patriots first round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft (17th overall) following an All-American career at Colorado.


Q: What is it about football that you love?

NS: The thing about football that I love is that it is an intense challenge, physically and mentally.

Q: What made you think that this was the right sport for you?

NS: Being 6-8 and 320 pounds had something to do with it. You know, the physical attributes, the challenge of it, like I said. There were a lot of things that made me think that this was the sport for me.

Q: When did you start playing football?

NS: I started playing football in seventh grade.

Q: Were you any good?

NS: No. I didn't even know anything about football. I didn't know that it was 10 yards for a first down. I really didn't know anything about it. I knew that I wanted to catch the ball and score touchdowns.

Q: What was your sport before football?

NS: The biggest sport that I was involved in before football was skiing. I did a lot of ski racing. I went out multiple weekends ski racing and preparing. That sort of thing was the first sport I played.

Q: How long did it take you to understand the nuances of football?

NS: The game started to turn, I started to understand it better in college I think. In high school, I still had a pretty basic understanding. Go left, go right, run out and catch the ball. Then in college we started learning different kinds of protection schemes and blocking schemes. I had several different coaches, so I learned different techniques for blocking and playing the game.

Q: What was your first memory of football?

NS: My first memory of football is playing during recess, in probably third grade. Everybody used to play football at recess.

Q: What position did you like playing in third grade?

NS: Quarterback, baby. That was my third grade position. I remember one time everybody was very impressed because I could throw it over one wing of the school building. That was pretty cool.

Q: Did you get to play quarterback a lot when you were a kid?

NS: Yeah, I was always the schemer. I was drawing up all sorts of plays, and I could launch the ball, so everyone would just go deep and I would launch it to them.

Q: Who was the most influential person in you becoming a professional football player?

NS: That's probably my high school coach, Bob Mark is his name. He is probably the biggest reason why I went and played in college. I didn't really see myself as a football player. I was going to play basketball and get a degree, and he said, 'You know, you have some strong suits as a football player, some things that you might want to pursue. It will give you some opportunities later in life.' I trusted him and listened to him, and that's probably the biggest reason why I am where I am.

Q: Did you think you could play Division I basketball?

NS: I did have an opportunity to play Division I basketball, mostly with the Ivy Leagues; some Division II basketball around the state of Colorado and Nebraska.

Q: What was it like on Draft day for you, before you heard your name and after you heard your name?

NS: I guess in a lot of ways I had a lot of confidence that I was going to be drafted high, so I thought that first day was going to be when my was called. I certainly didn't know which team, and there were a lot of nerves with every team that picked whether or not my phone was going to ring. And I remember when the Patriots finally did call, I was expecting them to call on my cell phone, which was sitting right in front of me, but they actually called on my mom's cell phone. Everyone was kind of confused, and my mom says, 'Someone is on the phone for you.' I'm like, 'OK, who is calling you at this point?' After the fact they called me, and really that was kind of the dream team in terms of a history of winning, continuity with the staff, the coaches and owner and everything. That really was probably a blessing, being able to come here.

Q: What was it like in the week leading up to the Draft?

NS: I remember leading up to the Draft, I had a lot of family visiting, and I didn't want to go to New York and do that whole deal because just the pressure of the lights and everything. It wasn't me, so I didn't want to do that. The week leading up to the Draft I had family up, and we really just kind of spun our wheels wasting time. I would kind of work out in the morning and then find something to do. I remember we went to Vail [Colorado] and spent the day running around Vail. We went different places, but you know you couldn't stop thinking about the Draft, so you try to just fill in your time with different things.


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