This week offensive lineman, Austin Blythe, spoke to Sarina about going to Dojoboom with his son, wrestling against Brian Allen and explains why he's normal.
Sarina: When did you decide that you wanted to do like a hunting outfitter in your home state? That seems like a very specific thing to do.
Austin: It was actually an opportunity that fell into my lap. A couple of years ago I was talking with my father-in-law, who has been employed at the hunting club that we bought for the last 15-20 years, so when it came time, as the previous owner got older and older, the idea came up that maybe he'd like to buy it. And I've always loved the outdoors. I've always loved hunting. And like I said, it just fell in my lap, and a year and a half later we ended up buying it and now we're in our second year of operation. It's going really well.
Sarina: That's wild. This was something that's always been in your life to some extent… This is like your future?
Austin: Yeah. It's actually nice. And a lot of guys when they're done with football they struggle with what they're going to do and who they are. And I've got something that I've always been passionate about and now I can do it as a career.
Sarina: What are some things that you do with your son, Reed, on the weekends?
Austin: Reed loves to go to DojoBoom.
Sarina: What is that?
Austin: It's just an indoor trampoline park, so he loves going there. We'll do Chuck E. Cheese. He loves going to the park. He's an active kid so he loves doing whatever. And it's really fun for me to be able to go do that stuff with him.
Sarina: You have a new baby on the way. What's the difference between the second baby?
Austin: The stress and anxiety of the unknown is not there anymore after having Reed. I always joke with Kiley. I always tell her I'm going to be a much better husband and father than I was the first time around, just because I had no idea what I was doing. Kiley had experience with babysitting and stuff like that, but I truly was just going in blind and it would be much better prepared this time around.
Sarina: What is the one thing that you learned about yourself when you had Reed?
Austin: I think it showed me how much maturing I still needed to do as a person. It's crazy. And when you bring a child into the world and you're responsible for it, and you realize how much growing up you still have to do...
Sarina: Being an o-lineman is... What is it to you?
Austin: That's a great question. I think it's, honestly, self-gratifying I would say. Meaning that the offense doesn't really go without a good offensive line that plays together, and communicates well, and finishes blocks. And it's kind of how drives go. You know, drives end or succeed based [on the] offensive line... So that's why I say gratifying.
Sarina: It's sort of a selfless act from my perspective. I don't know if you see it that way, but even the type of guys that play o-line are more selfless in some ways, because you're not getting all the splashy anything, right? Like Todd runs or makes a [great play].. and you guys are there quietly protecting everything from going wrong.
Austin: Yeah. I think that's why I say it's gratifying, because we know that's why things happen. Obviously there's some plays that guys are just incredible athletes. And Todd's had some of those. Jared's had some those.
Sarina: Not to take away from our receiving corps…
Austin: Exactly. But like I said, it just doesn't happen all the time without good offensive line, and so we know what it takes. But yes, it is very selfless that way. And I think that's just the nature of the position.
Sarina: What's a misconception of being an o-lineman?
Austin: Yeah. I think it would be sometimes when I'm in a group setting with the other offensive linemen, everybody's like, "Wow, you're not that big." I was like, "No, I'm not. They're not all that big." And then the other side of the coin is too, and I'm by myself and people ask me what I do and I say, "I play offensive line." And they're like, "Oh my gosh. You're so big." I was like, "No, I'm not".
Sarina: Have you seen Andrew Whitworth? (laughs)
Austin: Yeah, exactly. So I'm one of the smaller ones in the room, and I think that's the misconception both ways.
Sarina: What's the difficult part [of being an olineman]? Is it the physical? Is it the mental?
Austin: Man. I think both, especially in this offense. There's a lot that the offensive line is responsible for as far as calls and Brian's got a lot more than anybody else in the offensive line with playing the center position. Coach McVay in the offense asks a lot of the center to see defensive structures and stuff like that, so... We have to be in tune with that too at guards and tackles. So just overall it's a very cerebral position, a lot like the quarterbacks.
Sarina: How's Brian Allen doing by the way?
Austin: I think he's doing great, honestly. I was talking with John Sullivan and he was asking how Brian is doing. And I said, "He's doing great." I think you can really see the mental strides that Brian's been taking from week one to now. He's always had the physical tools. He's athletic, strong, powerful, everything like that. But he's really taken huge strides in the mental aspect of the game.
Sarina He's a bro bro. Like he's the guy that's always going to have your back, but is a smartass about it.
Austin: Yeah. That's a good way to describe Brian. I don't know if I could describe him any better.
Sarina: Who would win in a wrestling match? You or Brian Allen?
Austin: It's funny, last year when we were in Colorado Springs training for that game that never happened in Mexico City, we actually went to the training center and we wrestled for about a period. It wasn't even a match. Can't call it a match, but he did... The final score after the period was 2-1 in Brian's favor.
Sarina: Ah, man!
Austin: I know. I know. I can't lie about it though.
Sarina: No, that's okay, because he'll remind you…
Austin: Exactly, yeah.
Sarina: Who is someone on defense that you love?
Austin: Honestly, it's Aaron. Playing against Aaron in camp made me a much better football player. Seeing how he works and being able to work against somebody of that caliber just kind of elevates your game and elevates your effort and hustle and practice to be better.
Sarina: He is such an outlier when it comes to that position.
Austin: Yeah, I think you just see what he is as far as size wise, and you see him play in that interior defensive spot as efficiently and effectively and disruptive as it is, it's pretty incredible. Because you see those interior guys, they're 300 pounds and that's not Aaron. But he's got the strength and the quickness and the explosiveness to survive and thrive in there. And that's why he's the best in the game right now.
Sarina: Why are you normal?
Austin: Why am I normal?
Sarina Yes. [Some of the athletic trainers joked]… and they told me to ask you why you are normal. I'm like, "You know what? Austin Blythe is very normal." You are one of the most normal people.
Austin: I had a good upbringing, and I've got great people around me now, and I don't know... It's an interesting question. I guess I've never not known normal, so I guess that's just what I am.
Sarina: I guess... Yeah. For a football player, for everything that you do, you have your own company… all these things. But if at the end of the day I looked at you, I'd be like, "This is Austin Blythe who I went to grade school with… "Oh yeah. I see him at the supermarket all the time."
Austin: I guess I've always tried to stay that way. Remember where you came from and stay humble, and I truly think that good things happen to good people. So just try and live a good life and be kind.