Thursday, February 25, 2010
Who put the 'I' in Iupati?
By Dan Graziano
INDIANAPOLIS -- The breakout player from Senior Bowl week was none other than Idaho guard Mike Iupati (U-pot-ee). And on Thursday, the enormous player (330) made an appearance at Lucas Oil Field to talk with reporters. I'm told that Iupati's weigh-in at the Senior Bowl caused a huge buzz in the room. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and son Stephen were seen craning their necks for a closer look at Iupati, according to eyewitnesses.
When Iupati's appearance was announced Thursday, reporters literally jogged over to the podium, which is saying something for this out-of-shape crowd. Iupati told the story of how his parents gave up good jobs in American Samoa when he was 14 in order to move to the United States. He said his family lived in his aunt's garage at one point because money was so tight. Now, Iupati stands to become a very wealthy young man.
The one negative thing that happened in Mobile, Ala., is that Iupati was caught holding several times during the actual game. He was asked about that Thursday.
"That's not me," he said. "I'm good at using a short punch and for some reason, I changed my game that day. I didn't want to get beat. But I have a very physical punch, so I'm not worried about repeating that mistake."
I believe the guy. We talked to a lot of offensive linemen today, but Iupati may have had the most impressive presence. He pretty much took over the entire podium, which explains why Jones and son were so interested in that weigh-in.