August 11, 2008
Lauvao makes transition to leadership role
Junior offensive guard Shawn Lauvao is modest almost to a fault. Unless of course you ask him about his tendency to dominate the Carson Center weight room.
In back-to-back years Lauvao has been among the top performers in the Sun Devils' off-season strength and conditioning program, earning a top five Hard Hat rating in 2007 and 2008.
"Honestly man, I'm the strongest dude on the team," the 6-foot-3, 295 pound junior said, only half-kidding. "Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise. Seriously, I'm up there man. I can squat 600, I can press maybe 460 to 470, my clean is probably 350. So that's not that strong but then again it's the sport we play. If I got to lift all the time it'd probably be a different thing."
Not that strong. Right.
Lauvao is coming off a sophomore season in which he played in all 13 games and earned nine starts, the youngest player in the group to start at least one game.
With five seniors from that team having departed, however, Lauvao has quickly found himself in a mentorship role.
"It's been cool," Lauvao said. "Honestly I feel young still but then again I'm kind of old. I've been here for a little bit. It's cool, I'm seeing young guys who could eventually be better than me when that time comes so I'm trying to help coach them up."
There's that modesty thing again.
Truth is, Lauvao is perhaps the top pro prospect on the roster and he will likely get drafted when the time comes for him to move on to the next level.
Before then, there are still some things he'd like to accomplish in his college career, and he knows that in order for that to happen, his offensive line group will have to improve its play from last season, when ASU ranked 117 of 119 teams in sacks allowed.
"Of course it's going to come with the position," Lauvao said of the criticism taken by the offensive line last season despite coaches suggesting it was a larger problem. "We respect it. Media can say what they want to say. But with our new blocking scheme this year, it's a lot less pressure on us. There's a lot more max stuff, a lot more quick stuff so that's a good thing for all of us I think. We've got like two veterans on the line and three new guys, that stuff is helpful.
"Me and (senior guard) Paul (Fanaika), we've been trying to step it up. We've been getting on each other to get better, especially for the young guys to just set an example too, to lead by example. It's the subtle things that matter and help you get better."
Lauvao has taken a good look at the four scholarship redshirt freshmen and four scholarship true freshman offensive linemen on the roster, and decided the group can be good. But how soon that will happen remains to be seen.
"A lot of them, they have the upside," Lauvao said. "The only thing is they actually have go to get in the playbooks, honestly. Actually some of them physically look ready to play. The thing is they just got to get the mental aspect of the game. There's a lot to learn, you just got to execute. That's the way it is."
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