Former NFL tight end and Beaver great Tim Euhus, took the opportunity to sit down with me and talk some Oregon State football. Check out the transcript below:
DM: Coming from Eugene, what made you choose Oregon St ?
TE: Wow, that’s a big question. Honestly the Ducks never offered me a scholarship, Coach Riley offered me a scholarship. Mid-way through my junior year, one of the earliest offers at that point. Recruiting has obviously changed so much, at that point in time, I actually just called up and said, I have been watching your football and I am interested in what you are doing, off of what you did last year. Riley said, I am glad you just called, we can’t call you yet, but we would like to offer you a full ride scholarship. I really just sat there and thought. Okay, what does that mean to me? So I went home and obviously my Dad is a lifelong Beaver so he was excited for that day. Then the recruiting process to Dennis recruiting me, that’s why I came here.
DM: What are your thoughts on the evolution of the Tight End? From back in the day, when you just block and might catch a pass or two, to the way it evolved to your career here at Oregon St, to now you have super backs, like Vitale at Northwestern?
TE: Yeah, there were really only two guys that were integral in that change and that is Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez, probably one of the Greatest TE’s to arguably ever play the game. So with Tony, and AG, those two were able to line up at wideout, they were able to lineup split-end, tight-end and in the backfield, wherever they feel they could get a statistical advantage or a mismatch, they would line them up, because they were good enough athletes, to beat someone who beat linebacker, safety, free safety or even a corner and those guys are very few and far between, those matchups are a little easier to find in college than in the NFL. In the NFL, there are only a handful of guys who can play that game, obviously Gronkowski and he is probably the most notable right now. You started seeing the big evolution in the early 2000’s. Then in 2008-2009, tight end’s were starting to stand up, in a 2 point stance, then they were in the 3 point stance. You’re going to see more and more of that at Oregon St, especially with guys like Noah (Togiai). Conner Hamlett was a big mismatch guy, Joe Newton was a big mismatch guy. Neither of those guys were able to transition that to the NFL. However, they were able to capitalize on those mismatches here at Oregon State. You see those mismatches with the height with these guys. You may not be able to beat a corner with the speed, but you can beat them with the height, for sure. They might be able to beat a linebacker with speed, they can beat a safety with either speed or height. You are going to always find the commonality, they are tall, they got long arms, they’re pretty good route runners.
DM: The season after the Fiesta Bowl, game one at Fresno St, what were the thoughts after the loss to Carr and the Bulldogs ?
TE: You know we came in, number one rated from Sports Illustrated and of course Ken on the cover and that was my first start and I had no idea what I was getting myself into, to be quite honest. You go down there and it’s a 100 degrees and it’s a hostile environment and I honestly was not prepared for that. That’s a huge transition from playing High School games at Autzen with a few thousand people there to playing in front of 50,000 in a hostile environment in Fresno. With the heat and just all the preparation, gosh I think I dropped a couple passes there, it was just a rough game all around. We didn’t know who we were as a team yet. There was a lot of transition from the year before, we lost like 3 offensive lineman, a ton from the defense, it was a completely different team. It was still the Beavers coached by Dennis Erickson and the expectations were still very high. I believe we were big under-achievers that year and I think we could of been better, At the end of that season, with the way we matured, we would of beaten Fresno St.
DM: What are your thoughts on the change of guard at Oregon State, from Riley to Andersen?
TE: I see a much different energy, I see a different weight room mentality and I see a much different recruiting mentality. This team is a lot like that 2001 team, trying to find out who they are. I think we are seeing in Fall Camp, that they are finding out who they are. So, I am excited to see what happens. Opening up with Minnesota, in Minnesota, against a somewhat hostile environment. Should be a beatable team, but you can’t discount playing on the road, on national TV, opening game of the season. I love the idea of Gary taking these guys to Bend, to kinda get away. It’s almost like Remember The Titans. Lets get out of our normal path, lets get away, lets live in the dorms. It is very NFL-ish. I think it is good to bring the team together and bond. I think this team needed it and I think it is very good for them. Now, in regard to the change of guard, change is always difficult, but it can always be very good.
DM: You played with Steven Jackson, Derek Anderson, Dwan Edwards, Nick Barnett and Richard Seigler. Can you talk about them?
TE: Steve always demanded the best out of everybody, he worked incredibly hard, I think people don’t realize how hard he worked, I think most people just say “Oh it’s just natural.” Steve was a very hard worker. Nick was a very hard worker. Nick played the game with an intensity and speed and that is why he demanded that 1st round draft pick tag, he brought the speed with his size. I played with Nick a few times in the NFL and it was always a fun battle. Richard and I spent a little time in Pittsburgh together and that was always a fun battle. Seig was a very vocal leader, He wad always making sure people were prepared for the game. If someone wasn’t performing in the game, he was the first guy up in your face, to make sure you got your mind right, before the next series or the next play. I got a lot of respect for those guys. Dwan, one of the smartest football guys I have ever been around. his preparation for the games, which is why he lasted 13,14 years in the NFL. It’s called the Not For Long league and he beat those odds. He is just a great human being. Derek, he started out as a naive young kid out of Scappose and what he has developed to as well, with him entering into his 12th Fall Camp in the NFL. Back up to Cam Newton and could be a starter on a lot of teams. But they paid him to stay in Carolina, just to mentor Cam, because his football IQ is off the charts. So all those guys are great football players and just incredible people.
DM: Your last home game, Nov 15th 2003, against Stanford, you remember that game?
TE: I remember that day, that was Senior Day. Two touchdown day, only game I had multiple touchdowns, so that was a really exciting game. We came out, we knew we had a pretty good game plan against Stanford. I think we came out in all black socks. I know we came down to the goal line, first or second drive, I came across on a little motion, trying to get a zone-man read, if the linebacker traveled or bumped, I had a little flat route, pretty much knew that as soon as I went into motion and Derek knew, if I was going to get the ball, it was going to be a pretty easy touchdown. It was almost like, don’t trip before you get into the endzone. We went into the endzone and all the other tight end’s were like “ What are you going to do to celebrate” You got to have a great celebration, you have never done anything crazy, you got to make your mark. Mike Parker called it the “Reser Reach”. I ran in and jumped in the stands, of course I facemask came down on a kid and bloodied his nose up so we gave him a gameball and I think he actually knew Derek through Scappose, so he took some pictures with him after the game. The second touchdown was supposed to go to James Newson, so he could break the touchdown record at Oregon State, so they called a play “Black Giant “ I am responsible of running a corner off of the backside. Then maybe draw off a safety, so James can come in at an angle. To catch the big touchdown and break the record, well... Are you going to guard me, or are you going to guard James Newson? So, the safety played over on Newson and I had a nice one on one with the linebacker, went up on the top and caught a nice over the shoulder touchdown over on the Valley side. I remember calling up to Paul up in the booth and saying “Hey coach, thanks for getting me that extra touchdown.” He said, “ Well really you know, that was meant for James.” I said, “I know, but like they are going to guard James over me.” Paul and I had a little chuckle over that. Just really good memories from that night. What a way to end a college career, spanking Stanford. Reser was packed that day and the fans were loud. Reser was rocking and that is what I am excited to see for this season, Fans embracing the players, because it means so much to the players.
DM: What was the NFL Draft and that process like ?
TE: Good question, well the NFL Draft, I left here after we came back from the Vegas Bowl, had a couple days off, then I went to train before the Shrine Game, then right after the Shrine Game I went out to New Jersey and trained out in New Jersey for a few weeks. I really learned how to train efficiently for the Combine. I understood what some of those expectations were. I went through the Combine process and at that point, you kind of lay your cards out on the table. Showing everyone what you can do and you show them the intangibles and the performance metrics they are looking for. Then it is kind of a waiting game. So I went down to the ranch my Uncle was managing at the time in California, got off the grid, no cell service, no anything, spent a lot of time down there. Then I went and helped my in-laws move, just because I wanted to just stay busy. I didn’t know when I was going to be drafted obviously and I woke up Sunday Morning (this is when the draft was 2 days). I woke up and got out of the shower, About 10 mins later I got the call from the Bills, they said to turn the TV on. It’s on and were just sitting here eating breakfast, they asked if I was healthy and I said “Yes, Sir”. It was Tom Donahoe, the general manager, he handed the phone to Mike Mularkey, who said “we are drafting you, we just traded up to get you.” I felt very honored to become a Buffalo Bill.
DM: What is the difference between the Bills and Steelers fanbases ?
TE: Those are blue collar, working class towns, that have made their name in the Steel Industry, both very passionate about their teams, the Steelers have just experienced a lot more success recently, other than that, they are the same fans. Very passionate about their football, their teams, their towns. It’s a good study in economics as well, Pittsburgh reinvented itself. When they knew the Steel Industry was on the decline, so new money was brought into the town via the technology avenue. Buffalo is still trying to reinvent itself right now and it is in a very depressed era right now. Bethlehem Steel use to employ more people than who lived in Buffalo at the time. As far as the fans, they match up with the folks in Reser, the Rowdy Reser fans, that come here every Saturday, very blue collar, hard working, who want to watch good football. Going to Arizona is very different, Arizona is very much more of a melting pot society. When we played the Steelers, we beat them, there were more Steelers fans in the stands. Very different environment, our games, wern’t always home games. With the Terrible Towels in Pittsburgh, you knew it was a home-game. Same thing in Buffalo. The fans took pride. “I have worn these same shorts and no shirt, to every home game for the last 20 years, since Jim Kelly was playing here”. It was 40 below one day and “Yep I didn’t wear a shirt.” Those fanbases had a lot of pride. I was very fortunate to be drafted by the Bills, over Tampa, because I don’t do good in the heat.”
Thank you Tim for taking the time to talk with me!
Follow Tim Euhus on Twitter: @Euhusbaver