Morning notebook: Idaho's Mike Iupati has versatility tested
Posted by Danny O'Neil
MOBILE, Al. -- "Oooooh, flat-backed him," said an NFL assistant coach in the stands at Land Peebles Stadium.
Sure enough, Idaho's Mike Iupati had done just that, putting an opposing defensive lineman on his back, part of an impressive showing by one of the top-rated guards in the draft.
Iupati is all of 6-5, 325 and coming from Idaho, he is one of the players scouts are most interested in looking at this week because they're trying to figure out just exactly what he can be at a higher level of competition.
Iupati is the second youngest of four children in his family, which relocated from Samoa when he was 14. He spoke limited English, and while he was attractive enough as a recruit to warrant interest from Pac-10 schools like Arizona, he was an academic non-qualifier coming out of high school in Anaheim, Calif.
He was planning on going to Cerritos Junior College -- the same place T.J. Houshmandzadeh once attended -- until Idaho sold him on coming to school there, sitting out that first year (and paying his own way as a freshman). His parents took out a loan to help with the process, and now -- two Idaho coaching changes and one bowl appearance later -- he might be the first guard chosen in this year's draft.
The biggest question he must answer is how he'll fare against opponents as big and as strong as he is. Tuesday's conclusion, he'll do just fine at an interior position like guard and while he might be able to play right tackle, left tackle is going to be a reach because of foot speed. When Iupati lined up at left tackle during the morning workout, he was isolated against Tyson Alualu of California, who caught Iupati off balance and threw him to the ground. A few plays later, Alex Carrington of Arkansas State also beat Iupati, but on the inside, Iupati held his own, which is what all the scouts wanted to see.
Keep reading for more notes from the morning ...
Pike is someone that people around the league have thought could be a consideration for Seattle given that he's not going to be a first-round pick, but could be someone who could develop on the back-burner under Matt Hasselbeck for the next couple of years.
That assumes two things:
1) The Seahawks plan on keeping Hasselbeck beyond this season, the final year on his contract.
2) The Seahawks new brain trust actually likes Pike, who at 6 feet 6, and weighing only 220 pounds, needs to fill out.
All right, well that's going to fill out my morning notebook as I've got to get ready for a Live Chat! that's going to coming up here pretty shortly.
Dec 24 - 6:10 AM Looking back: Revisiting Sunday's scouting report
Dec 24 - 1:09 AM Seahawks' scoring binge
Dec 24 - 1:01 AM Video: Summing Seattle's victory
Dec 24 - 12:58 AM Video: Russell Wilson post-game comments
Dec 24 - 12:21 AM Rookie passing roll call