In an effort to learn more about the 2011 Buffalo Bills draft class members, Buffalobills.com has launched a new Q&A feature called FOUR DOWNS …
Today, Bethel Head Coach Dino Kaklis talks about the Bills’ seventh round selection (245th overall) Michael Jasper. Kaklis coached Jasper for two seasons at Bethel and has witnessed Jasper lose more than 70 pounds in the past four months. Kaklis says Jasper is as strong as any player he has been around including veteran defensive lineman Jeff Zgonina, who played 16 seasons in the NFL. Kaklis and Zgonina played college football at Purdue.
Kaklis shares more impressions of Jasper in today’s edition of FOUR DOWNS …
Describe Michael Jasper in 30 seconds or less …
Enormous guy. Good kid, hard worker and he is going to give you everything he has.
What is Jasper’s best quality as a football player?
His ability to adapt as the game goes on – his ability to learn and make adjustments. In addition to his preparation during the week, he has the ability to adjust on the fly in the middle of a game and the middle of a series.
What positions did Jasper play at Bethel?
Two years ago he started on defense. After the third game in 2009, he played guard.
What is the most memorable moment or biggest highlight in Jasper’s college career?
There are several of them. This year, he hit a guy in our first ball game (against St. Xavier) out on a screen play. We were down by the numbers and he knocked the defender about four yards out of bounds.
What is the biggest change you noticed in Jasper from the time he entered school to now?
His growth and his maturity. He has always been a mature kid but now he is growing up. He knows what is in front of him from a professional standpoint. He knows it is a job now. When you are a professional athlete there are no days off – it is a 365-day a year job 24/7. What you eat and how you eat … when you are training … when you are not training … where you are socializing … where you are not socializing etc.
He has always been a guy who has watched film and done those things. From that standpoint he understands what he needs to do so it will not be a foreign concept to him.
What will Jasper bring to the Buffalo Bills football team?
You will get a guy who will work hard. He will do whatever the organization will ask him to do. He is a great person. He is great in the community. After ball games here, we allow our fans to come down on the field and there are all these little kids taking pictures with him and playing catch with him. He just has a great personality.
If you can compare Jasper to an NFL player, who would that be?
He is one of the strongest guys I have ever been around. And I have been around some strong guys – including when I played at Purdue. Actually, I played with Jeff Zgonina. He just retired a little while ago, played in the league for about 15-16 years, he is probably one of the strongest guys I have ever seen in person and Jasper compares to him.
Jasper has the rare combination of having very, very good strength and size. You cannot coach those things. When you are looking for a guy on the offensive or defensive line you want someone who can play with balance and play with pop and he can definitely do that. He is a big guy but there is no jiggle to him. His legs are as big as redwoods.
What will Jasper contribute to the Buffalo community?
From the buzz we are hearing down here, people up there are really intrigued by him and interested in meeting him and seeing what he is all about. His mom is a principal so he comes from a good home. When he visits elementary schools the kids just flock to him. It is a funny sight. All these little elementary school kids just like to interact with him.
Whatever capacity he decides to pursue or whatever organization he is involved with, he will do a good job.
Does Jasper have a talent or hobby or gift other than playing football?
He loves to work out. Whether, he is working out for football or just working out, I know he likes to do that. He probably played the majority of the season around 430-440 pounds. We ask our guards to pull a lot and he was able to get out in the open field on screens. We averaged 91 plays a game on offense this year and he never missed a snap.
In our opening game in late August we were a little concerned about how he would hold up and he played all 96 plays and did a heck of a job. That is a concern you have with all the linemen, but Mike is the biggest of the big and it was not a problem for him.