Philadelphia Eagles News

Quotes: T Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Q. What would you like us to call you, first of all?

HALAPOULIVAATI VAITAI: So a lot of my friends call me "V", or Big "V", or Vaitai.

Q. What does your mom call you?

HALAPOULIVAATI VAITAI: She calls me "V", but when I'm in trouble, she uses the whole name.

Q. Can you pronounce your name?

HALAPOULIVAATI VAITAI: It's [hal-lah-poo-lee-VAH-tee VIE-tie].

Q. How is it your brothers are named Kevin and Will?

HALAPOULIVAATI VAITAI: Honestly, I have no idea. Just ask my parents about that. I guess it's just one of those things, you know. You're the first one, they named me that, and after my brother came, they named them Kevin and William.

Q. Does your name have any history to it? Is there somebody in your family with the name?

HALAPOULIVAATI VAITAI: Yes, so I'm named after my uncle, on my dad's side.

Q. And why did he want to name you after his brother?

HALAPOULIVAATI VAITAI: I guess it had been a Tongan tradition to always name after somebody. Kevin and William are named after somebody on my mom's side of the family. I guess I have the lucky name.

Q. On the field, what kind of player can the Eagles expect?

HALAPOULIVAATI VAITAI: You know, man, they can expect a hard-working guy who can finish through the ball. They can trust me protecting the quarterback. They can trust me to contribute to the team, help the o-line do their jobs, too.

Q. Where are you most comfortable, right tackle?

HALAPOULIVAATI VAITAI: In college I played left and right [tackle], and I was comfortable at both sides, but I'm comfortable wherever.

Q. Did the fifth round feel right for you, or did you think you might go a little higher or did you pay much attention to any of that?

HALAPOULIVAATI VAITAI: No, I did not pay any attention to that. There's a lot of great athletes out there, and so a lot of people want this guy, this guy, and I was being patient. It didn't affect me in any way.

Q. What was the situation with your coaching staff? Was your position coach also the receivers coach? How did that work?

HALAPOULIVAATI VAITAI: Well, my first two years in college we had an o-line coach. His name was Eddie Williamson, and then he retired, and then we had our offensive coordinator then come to the o-line and we had the new coaching staff. [Co-offensive coordinator/Inside wide receivers] coach [Doug] Meacham and [co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks] coach [Sonny] Cumbie came with the spread offense. Am I giving you an answer?

Q. Yes, I was just wondering about your position coach. Was he entirely on the offensive line, or did he share responsibilities with a different position?

HALAPOULIVAATI VAITAI: Okay, so the o-line coach now, he was a running backs coach before, and he was the offensive coordinator. And then he switched over, yeah, and 2014 he switched over to o-line, so I finished my career with him.

Q. V, do you know much about the Eagles or even the personnel on their offensive line?

HALAPOULIVAATI VAITAI: I know I met [Eagles LT] Jason Peters a couple times, and [Eagles RT] Lane Johnson.

Q. When did you meet Peters?

HALAPOULIVAATI VAITAI: I think it was at a mall or something. He was down there, and my cousin stopped in and we all stopped in like, 'Hey, what's up, man?' I bet he doesn't remember me. But yeah, I kind of know some of the o-linemen -- well, not know [personally], but I know of, like Lane Johnson, right tackle, core players.

Q. Playing the spread offense, you don't put your hand down on the ground much. Is that much of an adjustment? Do you expect it to be much of an adjustment for you?

HALAPOULIVAATI VAITAI: No, not really. I mean, I can learn quick. The first two years of my college career, we had a pro-style offense, too, and so we went three-point all the time at tackle and guards, and then once the spread offense came, we had to get used to getting off. We had to get used to getting on two-point. But going off of three, I don't think it's going to be a big adjustment.

Q. You mentioned you met Jason Peters. Is he one of the guys that you watched film of and tried to emulate?

HALAPOULIVAATI VAITAI: Yes, I did. The last two summers, or the last two camps, we would watch some of the Eagles o-line and how they communicate and how they work with each other, and we tried to emulate that with our offense, offensive line.

Q. Did the Eagles show a lot of interest in you pre-draft?

HALAPOULIVAATI VAITAI: I've only talked to them -- I met [Eagles offensive line] coach [Jeff] Stoutland. He came down and worked me out, and that was the only contact I had with the Eagles.

Q. So what more should we know about Tonga traditions?

HALAPOULIVAATI VAITAI: We like to eat. You know, our community, we're the most friendly people outside of sports, and we're also competitive. All of us hate to lose. I really appreciate that because growing up a lot of my family members were competitive. You've got to take what's yours, you know? You've got to go in there with the mentality to go out -- that's how -- a lot of Polynesians are like that. But we're just caring guys. We like to take care of each other.

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