By Stephen Tsai
"I'm like the uncle who shares," Jesse Sapolu said.
Sapolu is just like any other uncle who was a center/guard for the San Francisco 49ers for 15 seasons, won four Super Bowl championships, and appeared in two Pro Bowls.
This summer in California, like the previous two years, Sapolu provided tutorial sessions for UH center Kody Afusia and right guard Dave Lefotu. (Sapolu and the two players met through Sapolu's son, London Sapolu, a former UH center.)
During a visit to Hawaii, Sapolu stopped by the Warriors' unsupervised workouts and offered advice to the UH linemen.
Sapolu's sessions focused on two points: 1) Be prepared and, 2) be prepared to adapt.
Sapolu said offensive linemen need to know the basics and this basic premise: Defensive linemen and pass rushers are not built alike. He cited the difference in blocking 6-foot-1 John Randle and 6-6 Leon Lett
"I can't play them the same way," Sapolu said. "(Lett) is 6-6. I can't reach him automatically. When people say it's a game of inches, it's more than the first-down marker. You have to move your game around to give yourself an edge."
Sapolu explained how he approached certain situations and matchups.
"I never want to say: ' I did it this way, so you should do it this way,'" Sapolu recalled. "I just want to let them know why I approached it this way or that way."
He also emphasized remaining confident, even if a pass-rusher gets through. He said every offensive lineman has been beaten on a play. "People who make it to the NFL," he said, "have been beaten the least. If you get beat, don't lose your confidence."