FOXBOROUGH — The Patriots’ first round draft selection Nate Solder said he was praying New England would select him in the draft.
“I was sitting there hoping and praying they picked me because it’s such a great organization,” Solder said on a conference call with reporters from Colorado.
Solder was visited by Patriots assistant head coach and offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia on Monday for a personal workout. He came away impressed with the coach and what he hoped to be his new team at the time.
The converted tight end, who missed only two plays in his three years at Colorado, modestly acknowledged that he still has some polishing. Particularly if the All-American is going to be plugged in at left tackle protecting Tom Brady’s blind side.
“I have a lot to work on,” Solder said. “The great thing about that is I’m a coachable player.”
On his experience switching from tight end:
“You know, my coaches came to me and said ‘you’d be an alright tight end but you’d be a great tackle,’ ” Solder said. “And I’ve always wanted to be (great) so that’s why I chose to move to tackle. It’s been a process. I have a lot to learn. And that’s a huge reason why it’s great that Belichick and Scarnecchia are gonna be coaching me.”
Click the Full Entry button to see the full Q&A during Solder’s conference call with the media, as provided by the Patriots’ media relations staff.
Q: Where were you when you got the call that you had been drafted?
NS: In my parents’ bed and breakfast in Leadville, Colorado.
Q: Were you surprised?
NS: I was sitting there hoping and praying that they pick me because that’s such a great organization.
Q: How much contact did you have with them?
NS: Fairly limited contact.
Q: Did you come up here for a visit?
NS: No, I never came up for a visit.
Q: Can you explain how that unfolded, because I believe you were scheduled to do so and then it got canceled?
NS: I don’t know exactly what happened. I was scheduled to visit. The minute before I left it was canceled. That’s all I know.
Q: So you were on your way to the airport and you turned back?
NS: It was the day before I was going to go that they canceled.
Q: What was going through your mind as that was happening?
NS: There have been so many question marks going through my mind this whole process that I didn’t even think anything of it.
Q: Did that happen with other teams?
NS: No, it did not.
Q: Did they come out to visit you at all?
NS: Yes, they did.
Q: When did that happen?
Q: How did you miss two snaps in three years? What happened?
NS: I think that was an end of game situation. I think one of the backups was in there just to kneel the ball.
Q: What did you say when he came out to say you were going out?
NS: I don’t know. It’s funny – when they told me I missed two snaps, I had to think about what the heck happened because I couldn’t remember missing those two snaps.
Q: Is that a point of pride for you?
NS: Well, I’m extremely proud of my play and things, but it’s a lot of hard work, too. Sometimes you don’t control when freak things happen, so I’ve been blessed as well.
Q: Are you comfortable playing on either side of the offensive line? I know you’re a converted tight end. Have you played both sides of the line at tackle yet?
NS: I’ve never played the right side. I’ve always plays left tackle.
Q: You mentioned on Monday the Patriots came out. Who was it that came to see you?
NS: Coach Dante Scarnecchia.
Q: What was your impression of working with him?
NS: He’s an unbelievable coach, one of the best in the NFL and that was completely obvious when I met with him. And I look forward to the opportunity to play with him.
Q: You say you really wanted to come here. Is part of that the fact that they’ve had such offensive line success here?
NS: All of those guys do great and Scarnecchia is an incredible coach and that’s absolutely part of it.
Q: What did he explain to you in terms of the Patriots system and things that you’d have to work on if the Patriots drafted you?
NS: You know, I have a lot to work on and the great thing about that is that I’m a coachable player and Coach Scarnecchia and Coach Belichick and the whole staff is great to play for.
Q: How do you feel about potentially having to block for potential future Hall of Famer Tom Brady on his blindside?
NS: You know, I think Tom Brady is a great quarterback and I think all my teammates are great players and I’m looking forward to the privilege of playing for the Patriots.
Q: What’s your opinion of watching the Patriots offense from games you’ve watched?
NS: Like I said, I think it’s a fantastic organization. I like the way that they do things and I’m honored that they picked me.
Q: What’s the name of the bed and breakfast?
NS: Peri and Ed’s Mountain Hideaway.
Q: Can you tell us about the moment you got the phone call?
NS: I talked to Coach Belichick. He was congratulatory about bringing me into the organization. I talked to Mr. Kraft as well.
Q: Is there someone in the league you model your game after?
NS: I just play my game and I’m going to do what Coach Scarnecchia tells me to. That’s who I’m going to model my game after.
Q: I hear you are a hunter and you shot an elk once?
NS: Yes, that’s true.
Q: Have you shot anything else?
NS: I shot an elk and I shot a deer once.
Q: Which did you like better to eat?
NS: Deer meat is the best. It’s funny that when you go hunting, you kind of get hungry, so I enjoy both of them.
Q: What’s been the most surprising part of the whole process?
NS: I didn’t really know what to expect to be honest. You know, how can you know? I just feel blessed and honored to be a part of it.
Q: Can you talk about the transition from tight end to tackle?
NS: My coaches came to me and told me I’d be an alright tight end, but a great tackle. That’s why I chose to move to tackle. It’s been a process. I have a lot to learn and that’s a great reason to have Belichick and Scarnecchia coaching me.
Q: Can you talk about the video of you flattening that scout on your pro day?
NS: I don’t know about grief. I think they thought it was pretty cool. Matt Russell was the guy – the scout was named Matt Russell. He was a guy that played at CU, he was a Butkus award winner at CU and he’s around the program a lot, so he kind of thought that was kind of comical, too.
Q: What was the workout with Coach Scarnecchia like when he came out to visit you?
NS: It was not really exhaustive. But like I said, all the great things I heard about him were confirmed. I could tell he was an absolutely great coach and I was hoping and praying – though I didn’t want to put in my mind to go there, but I’m so honored to be there.
Q: When do you expect to arrive in Foxborough?
NS: I don’t know what the travel plans are going to be. It’s going to be in the next few days I would imagine, but we’ll have to see how that pans out.
Q: You participate in many recreational sports. You’re kind of like a New Englander already.
NS: Well I’m coming to New England to play football and that’s my sole purpose right now.
Q: What do you think about a potential positional battle with Matt Light and Sebastian Vollmer?
NS: I have all the respect in the world for those guys. I know this: competition makes everyone better, so that’s going to be a great opportunity.
Q: Is that something Dante Scarnecchia imparted upon you – that nothing is going to be given to you, you’re going to have to earn it?
NS: Well, that wasn’t specifically said, but that’s my mentality. I don’t want anything given to me. I want to earn everything I get.
Q: Did you have an opportunity to attend the draft in New York City?
NS: No, I stayed home with my family in Colorado.