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Getting To Know A Draft Pick: Bryan Bulaga

To help Packers fans get to know the newest members of the team better, caught up with each of the seven 2010 draft picks for an extended Q&A about their background, both on and off the field. The interviews have been posted as a weekly series, concluding today with first-round selection Bryan Bulaga of Iowa.


Where is your hometown, and what is the most interesting thing about it?

Crystal Lake, Ill., is the hometown and there isn't much interesting about it. It is just a normal town like Green Bay, except for the Packers.

Do you have any pre-game rituals or superstitions?

No, I am a guy that likes to sit by myself and listen to music and get in my own area away from people. I like to zone out and go over the plays and assignments in my head. I like to go through everything to calm and relax myself.

What has been your greatest accomplishment on the football field?

I think the win in the Orange Bowl (last season) was a big win. It just wasn't my accomplishment; it was the accomplishment of the Iowa program. It was the first BCS bowl win under Coach (Kirk) Ferentz. It was probably the biggest moment I have had because it was the biggest team moment Iowa has had. It was good for the fans and the people of Iowa, so I think that moment was probably the best.

What's the most memorable football game you've ever been a part of, be it Pop Warner, high school or college?

The Orange Bowl was memorable and obviously beating Penn State the year before when they were ranked No. 2 or 3 in the country, that was memorable. But I am going to say the game that clinched our trip to the state championship was my favorite most memorable game. At every level it gets a little bit different with the friendships you build with guys and in high school those are your best buddies. You grow up with them in grade school and then you go into high school with them and all that time you spend together is a little bit different than college. The practices and classes are a lot different, so you build stronger friendships. To be able to win with that team and move on was awesome. We played a team called Kaneland High School and they probably had the best offense and numbers in the state of Illinois. They were a passing offense throwing the ball five-wide and I think we won by three touchdowns or something like that. It was really more of a defensive game from our standpoint. Our goal was to shut them down on defense to give the offense an opportunity. I played both ways and I was worried about offense, but I was more worried about the defensive side of the ball because of what they could do. I think I had three or four sacks in the game and it was fun flying around making tackles to shut down a powerful offense.

Who's the most influential coach you've ever played for and why?

My dad. He set up everything from the building blocks to everything when I was younger all the way up. He coached me in Little League baseball and pee-wee football and that kind of stuff. He set all the building blocks for me when I was younger. He got me in the mind frame of how I need to work when I was younger so that when I got older I didn't need to be reminded by someone else. When I was younger, baseball was his big thing. He loved football, don't get me wrong, and I loved football but baseball is the one thing he loved the most. I remember a thing in our basement called a swing trainer, which was a baseball tee that was a skinny shaped 'U' that you swung perfectly down through it. If it wasn't perfect you would bang the thing or break the tee and he would get upset at us. I would spend hours in the basement as a youngster swinging on that thing, going forever until your hands were burning and peeling and raw. I just remember that. Those were the kind of things when you were the coach's kid that he would go a little bit harder on you. That is just how it is and that is how it was when I was younger. I was expected to do things at a different level and at a different standard.

Who's the most famous athlete you've ever met in person? When and where did you meet them?

I met Drew Brees when I was in New York for the draft. You are in the locker room (here) with Aaron Rodgers and Donald Driver, I mean you are on a team with big time all-stars. But besides these guys, I met Brees and he just won the Super Bowl and that was before my Packers allegiance. My agent represents him, so it was a quick introduction.

Who is the most interesting person in your family?

Probably, my grandma on my dad's side because she is a very interesting woman. She has a lot of insight on a lot of things. And probably my grandpa on my mom's side, he very interesting too.  You would have to meet them. They are outspoken and they speak their mind. My grandpa is in his 80s and he is hilarious. They are two different people, but they are very interesting.

What are your personal goals for this rookie season?

Right now I am trying to learn this offense and learn this playbook and team as much as I can every week. I am just starting to get acclimated with the guys on the offensive line and with the offense. I think if I do that week by week and learn from these guys that have been here for a long time like Chad [Clifton] and 'Tausch' [Mark Tauscher] and all those guys. I will only set myself up if I do get an opportunity to play this year and work myself in a position and be ready to go.

What do you think will be the toughest part about your first NFL training camp?

We ran some pretty good camps at Iowa that were tough. Coach Ferentz ran tough camps, but from what I have heard (about the NFL), the duration of it. It is a long camp and obviously it is only two-and-a-half weeks in the dorms, but the camp is around five or six weeks. That is going to be a little bit different. At Iowa ours were three, but I think with six weeks and preseason games in there it is going to be a little bit different. I think playing the preseason games mixed in with the camp is going to be a little bit different too.

When you were a kid, did you dream of growing up to be a football player, or did you dream of something else?

It was playing football. That is what I dreamed of when I was young kid. Only so many guys in the NFL get to do it and I consider myself very fortunate.

At what point were you sure you were going to be in the NFL someday?

It really wasn't until the middle of my junior year that I thought for sure I could have a future in this. I played well my freshman year and my sophomore year, but that is playing well in college. My junior year I went against guys who were more of the NFL-caliber type at the tackle position and I played well. So, I figured things were going well and in the end it worked out well.

Was there a football player you idolized growing up? Why him?

I liked Jerry Rice when I was growing up. I liked him a lot, Hall of Famer, best receiver to ever play the game. So, it was fun watching him on TV. I would always see the big Green Bay vs. 49ers battles on TV and to watch great players go against great players.

When did you attend your first NFL game, and what do you remember most about it?

I have never attended an NFL game as a fan. I think it is going to be pretty crazy on the field playing. College football fans are very dedicated and it is mostly students and they get after it pretty good. This is now a whole different level of fans. They aren't students, but fans. It is not an Iowa population of 30,000 students and you are guaranteed 20,000 of those students that are going to fill the stadium, with the rest being fans. This will be all fan base with people traveling from all over the Midwest and even country to come to these Green Bay games. I don't think there are better fans in the world than Green Bay fans. From what I have heard they are awesome. You can see them around and they are very proud and very loyal to their team. I think it is going to be crazy stepping into Lambeau for the first time seeing how they act and cheer for their team and support them.

What has been the most exciting part about being a Packer so far?

I think being a part of the tradition and this team. This is a great football team. No doubts about it. This is one of the better teams in the league and they proved it last year. I say we're only going to get better from this point on. We have a lot of experience and we have one of the best quarterbacks and defenses in the league. It's a great time to be a Packer and just being a part of a team that is great and seeing what it takes to be great, being a part of a team that is going in the right direction. All the guys are great and helpful, especially on the offensive line, the guys I am around the most. I am proud to be a Green Bay Packer.

What do you want Packer fans to know about you as a person?

I like to think I am a good guy. I am laid back and fun to be around and I care about people. I don't think there has been a time when I turned away from someone wanting an autograph. Things that fans want to know; I am upfront and a good guy. I think that is the kind of people they want on their team.

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