Q & A with Arena League’s Tysson Poots

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The Cover 4 was able to catch up with Arena League Wide Receiver Tysson Poots. Poots, originally from Las Vegas, plays for the Arizona Rattlers, who will be playing in the Arena Bowl this weekend for the league championship.
This article is particularly special for our site as I went to High School with Poots and actually lined up against him every day in practice. I like to think I played pretty well against him but my memory is a little foggy nowadays.

Poots has always been a special talent. As a two-time All State Wide Receiver, Poots went onto shatter receiving records for the Southern Utah University Thunderbirds. Poots finished his college career with 3,970 receiving yards. Additionally, Poot’s 282 career receptions and 43 touchdowns allowed him to finish as the ninth-leading receiver in FCS history.

At the end of the 2012 season, Poots was ranked as the 13th best player in the Arena League.

http://www.arenafootball.com/sports/a-footbl/aflrtl/mtt/tysson_poots_830726.html

What is the biggest difference from the College Game to the Arena League? How about Arena to the NFL?

The biggest difference is, of course, the field and gameplay. Everything happens so much faster in the Arena League because of the small size of the field. Also, the Arena players were All-Stars on their college team and a majority of them were with a NFL team at one point; the competition level is so high.
Another thing is that they are both professional league. The main difference is the NFL has a 53 man roster and Arena has a 24 man roster, which makes both very hard to make in there own right.

Can you walk us through a typical week in your life during the season?

A typical week would be a game played on Saturday. Sunday would be a recovery day. Most of us players head into treatment and start healing the bumps and bruises. Monday is the same thing as Sunday as we prepare to get our bodies ready for the following game. Tuesday we get up early, head to the facility to start meetings around 7:30. Offense and defense will both lift weights before or after practice depending on the day. Practice Tuesday through Thursday from 9:30-11:30. Friday is a final preparation day with meetings and then it’s Saturday and game day again. My off time is spending watching tv, getting involved in the community, and playing some video games.

What is the hardest part of being a professional athlete?

The hardest part is definitely staying on top of your health and body. Eating right, staying hydrated and getting the right treatment on whatever you need throughout the week is crucial to have effective practices as you prepare for the upcoming game. Games are tough/hard but those are what you prepare for, to go out and have fun.

What has been your favorite moment as a professional athlete thus far?

The guys I’ve met and teammates I’ve had and have. There are many amazing people in the sport I play and to meet some of best players is just a blessing. You can learn a lot from everyone you meet and go to battle with in the games. Another favorite moment is definitely playing in big playoff games and interacting with the fans.

If you weren’t playing football, what would you be doing?

I would be training people to better their lives and/or athletes improving their abilities. There is nothing better to me then seeing someone get to where they want to be health wise. I would enjoy passing along some of the knowledge I’ve picked up along the way to anyone wanting to listen and get better.

Coming from Las Vegas (an area not known for their HS Football) and a smaller 1-AA school, do you still feel like you have to prove the doubters you are able to play with anyone?

I do, at times, still feel like I need to prove something, but I have nothing wrong with feeling that way. It makes me play with a chip on my shoulder, therefore adding to the intensity I can bring to the field.

You’ve been a touchdown machine in the AFL. Rumor has it you may have the best TD celebrations in the game. Where do you come up with your ideas?

Well in the AFL you can do almost anything you want in the endzone; I like to involve my teammates. I score because of them and I realize that. So sometimes I’ll be watching tv and see a current event or something interesting and I’ll try to incorporate that into my thought process. When my teammates are in, the celebrations just sky rocket and ideas start flowing.

After dominating the league last year, you’ve missed some time battling injuries this year. Is Tysson Poots finally 100% healthy? What are we going to see out of you in this Arena Bowl?

Well once you start your season, you are no longer 100%. Regardless if there is an injury or not, it comes down to who can take care of their body the best. As a result, who can produce and stay on the field. Hopefully in the ArenaBowl I play well and have fun. Not everyone gets the chance to play in championship games, so I’m looking to seize the day and take advantage of the opportunity.

You’re about to play in the biggest game of your professional career so far. What is going through your head?

Right now I’m just relaxing and soaking it all in. RELAX is the key word. Stress and anxiety can tire you mentally and physically. I’m definitely aware of the opportunity ahead but preparing smart and trying to not get to work up to early.

Bold Prediction: Tysson Poots finishes with __ yards and __ touchdowns in the Arena Bowl.

You know I never predict any stats for myself. I plan on playing well and taking advantage of the plays that are sent my way.

Do you still have aspirations of playing in the NFL? If so, have you and your agents been in contact with any teams?

I do but I try not to think about it that much. I can only control what I can control and that’s how I look at it. However, if an opportunity comes my way, I am going to jump all over it.

If the NFL is not an option, will you explore the CFL?

I’ve thought of playing in the CFL, which is a great league and would be an amazing opportunity. We always check out different leagues and CFL is a definite possibility to look at if I need too.


At the end of the day, where does Tysson Poots play football next year?

Can’t really say, that’s the life of a football player, you just never know. But I will say I am happy where I am at in Arizona with the Rattlers. It would be an honor be back with this team and organization.

Watch Poots and his Arizona Rattlers take on the Philadelphia Soul in a rematch of last years Arena Bowl. The Arena Bowl XXVI Championship Game will be played on Saturday, August 17th at 1 pm EST and can be viewed on the CBS Television Network. Best of luck in the Arena Bowl this weekend Tysson. We are all rooting for you.

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James Kaikis
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Colin Kaepernick is a Game Changer

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History will tell you that a new-age “running quarterback” can’t carry a team to the Super Bowl. Experts and critics will tell you that the read-option offense is a college gimmick that won’t work in the NFL where the athletes are better and defenses are more sophisticated.

Don’t tell Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers that.

The second-year quarterback has defied all odds and silenced every critic during the Niners’ march to the Super Bowl. After taking over for Alex Smith earlier in the season after Smith sustained a concussion against the Rams, Kaepernick took advantage of the opportunity and earned the starting nod over Smith even when the former No. 1 overall pick was cleared to play. Smith is not a Pro Bowl caliber player by any stretch of the imagination, but for a second-year quarterback to replace a healthy established starter who was playing well is a gamble.

Jim Harbaugh knew what he was doing. He drafted Kaepernick in the second round after a stellar career at the University of Nevada where Kaepernick ran Chris Ault’s pistol offense to perfection. Anyone who followed WAC football knew Kaepernick had potential. He had a good arm, great speed, great character and hid the ball as well as any quarterback in the nation on play-action read options.

Kaepernick is the first of the new breed of quarterbacks to truly shine. Michael Vick, Cam Newton and even Tim Tebow have all shown flashes of potential. Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III led their teams to the playoffs as rookies and got more national attention throughout the season. None of them have done what Kaepernick has. Yes, the Niners’ defense is one of the best in the league. Don’t let that fool you; this team would not be in the Super Bowl if it wasn’t for Kaepernick. He does more than simply manage the game: he dictates and controls it.

Harbaugh is not afraid to give Kaepernick the keys to the car. There is nothing Kaepernick can’t do. He’s accurate, he can throw the deep ball, he can throw in traffic and when all else fails he can break the pressure and scramble outside the pocket to extend the play. Most importantly, he is smart and makes great decisions almost every play. The read-option is not easy, especially with the speed of the game in the NFL. One bad decision could get you or your running back knocked out. Instead, Kaepernick keeps defenses guessing, while he and Frank Gore run for big gain after big gain.

The Niners’ offense has been set up to give defenses fits. The Ravens love to rush the passer off the edge with the likes of Terrell Suggs and Paul Kruger. In the Super Bowl, the Ravens will have to find a way put pressure on Kaepernick while keeping contain on the outside. If the Ravens decide to stack the box and go to single coverage, the Niners have the weapons to make any defense pay with Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker, Randy Moss and Michael Crabtree. If they choose to drop more men in coverage, the Niners can let Kaepernick, Gore and LaMichael James loose through their potent running attack. Pick your poison, Ravens.

None of this would be possible if Alex Smith was under center. Yes, Kaepernick still has his flaws and is not great at taking snaps from under center, which was a significant red flag when he came out of college. However, the risk for the Niners is worth the reward. He brings such a different dynamic to their offense that there is no question he is the best choice. The Niners were a good team with Smith, they are great with Kaepernick. At the time it looked like a risk; no one is questioning  Harbaugh now.

If Kaepernick and the Niners win, the impact for quarterbacks like him is huge. I guarantee it, win or lose, you will see more teams go to the read-option as their primary offense. If they win, more teams will be willing to take risks on dual-threat quarterbacks because there will be a proven recipe for success. Winning championships is paramount in any sport. Teams aren’t going to use a system that has no hope of leading to a championship.

Many of the aforementioned quarterbacks are better athletes than Kaepernick, have better arms and more impressive college credentials. None of them are the complete package like he is. He gives coaches and general managers a new mold of quarterback to look at. He is a system quarterback and that system with him running it has proven to be incredibly successful at the highest level. To win the Super Bowl against the legendary Ravens defense would be a statement for Kaepernick, Harbaugh, the Niners and the new breed of quarterbacks everywhere looking for their shot in the NFL. Victory over a defense of that stature would change the game.

Kaepernick has overcome every obstacle in his path so far. If he comes through on the game’s biggest stage, he will have gone from the backup to a legend in a matter of months. As Kaepernick’s history tells us, he thrives as the underdog and loves to prove his critics wrong. It would be unwise to bet against him this Sunday in the biggest game of his career.

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David Oleson
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