Thursday, April 09, 2020

Ohio State Football: Interview with Buckeye legend Andy Katzenmoyer

Steven Koesterman | 17 hours ago (April 8, 2020)

During his three years playing Ohio State football Andy Katzenmoyer was one of the best linebackers in all of college football.

Andy Katzenmoyer is one of the most decorated Ohio State football players of all time. The first linebacker to start for the Buckeyes his first game, Andy went on to become the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and 3x All-Big Ten selection. He was also a consensus All-American, and as a sophomore in 1997 was the first Buckeye ever to win the Butkus Award.
During his three seasons as the face of the Buckeye defense, Katzenmoyer recorded 197 solo tackles, 256 total tackles, 50 tackles-for-loss, 18 sacks and 6 interceptions. After his stellar college career, Andy was chosen 28th overall by the New England Patriots in the 1999 NFL Draft.
A few notable draft picks in that 1999 draft include Donovan McNabb, Champ Bailey and Ricky Williams. Fellow Buckeye teammates David Boston and Antoine Winfield were selected in the first round as well.
Katzenmoyer was drafted to the Patriots at a unique time for the organization. With the Bill Parcells era ending a few years prior to his arrival, it was an interesting transition period for the Patriots. After the departure of Parcells, the Pete Carroll to Bill Belichick regimes were underway as Andy began his pro career.
Over the course of his 3-year career in the NFL, Andy started 14 of 24 games totaling 77 solo tackles and 3.5 sacks. He became a Super Bowl Champion when the Patriots defeated the St. Louis Rams 20-17 in Super Bowl XXXVI.
After his NFL career, Andy began on his “life after football” journey. After working in the Ohio State weight room, he fell in love with helping others and was inspired to open up his own training facility.
I had the opportunity to catch up with Andy. We talked about his days at Ohio State, his career with the Patriots and his enjoyment of training individuals at Katzenmoyer Performance.

Scarlet & Game: What is your best memory from Ohio State?
Andy Katzenmoyer: “There are quite a bit. I think the memories that I remember most would be in practice or training. We spent so much time as a group of guys and with our support staff. It is all those kinds of things that you miss as a player. You don’t miss getting beat up and knocked around and waking up bruised. It’s always fun to win the big games and make the big play but the stuff I really miss is the team camaraderie.”
Scarlet & Game: What was it like to play for Coach Cooper?
Andy: “I have a connection to Coach Cooper that not many people know. My father played college football at Iowa State. When he was a freshman, John Cooper was a senior. So there were some connections I already had. But, I didn’t know that to be honest with you. My dad never told me until Coach Coop came and visited me. My dad didn’t want me to be swayed in one way or another and I commend him for that.
At the end of the day, Coach Coop was always one of those guys that you could count on. He was a “no nonsense” type guy. He didn’t spend a ton of time coaching players. He coached his coaches that coached the players. So, his administrative style was a little different as far as leading a team. But he knew the game. He understood the game. He understood the politics with being a top 5 football coach. He had to have big shoulders when things didn’t go well and he had to understand that he wouldn’t always get the credit when things went great too.
For me, he was great. He brought Ohio State out of a tough period in the 80s and early 90s when Ohio State wasn’t doing well. He really put Ohio State back on the map and set them on the trajectory that they are at today.”
Scarlet & Game: Who was the best RB you played against at Ohio State?
Andy: “There are 2 guys that stand out. The first was Curtis Enis. He was such a specimen as far as his size and his speed, the team he played on (Penn State). The offensive philosophy was very pro-style. run downhill. He had a huge offensive line. I remember playing them my sophomore year up at Penn State and just not being able to stop him. It was the most frustrating game I ever played in. By far. We were scoring back and forth. But we just could not stop them defensively. That was the one game that always stood out to me.
The other guy was Plaxico Burress. When he came in ’98 to Michigan State. He was 6’6” and 230lb and at that time it wasn’t a thing yet but he was “Mossing” everyone. It was crazy. We couldn’t stop him.
Those were the 2 players that stood out to me that were just unstoppable.”
Scarlet & Game: Who are your Top 5 Ohio State LBs of all time?
Andy: “Ohio State has always consistently had good classes of linebackers. Some years are better than others. Some years are loaded. I remember watching Speilman in the 80s. Cousineau played in the 70s. They’re in my top 5. I would say Speilman, Cousineau, AJ Hawk and James Laurinaitis.
My last one is someone who was a great linebacker and someone I played with, Na’il Diggs.  He didn’t get enough credit. He was one of those guys, man. He was fast. He was big. He played like 10 or 12 years in the NFL. He played next to me during my last season at Ohio State. Just a good, solid player. But, he was a little bit overshadowed by myself and my notoriety. He was a fantastic and amazing player.”

Scarlet & Game: What was in like playing in the Patriots organization and playing under Coach Belichick?
Andy: “It was pretty cool during the window that I came in to. New England really wasn’t on my radar as far as a team that I would have a chance to get drafted to just through talking with my agent and different draft projections.
When I got there, there were guys that were still held over from the Bill Parcells era. He was shortly removed from there. There was kind of that feel with how things were with him. I got drafted by Pete Carroll and my linebacker coach was Bo Pelini. There were lots of connections. Pete was the secondary coach for Ohio State in 1979 under Earl Bruce. Bo played at Ohio State.
To see both Pete and Bo have success in their careers was cool to see. They were in New England for a year and then the whole staff got let go. To see Pete go to USC then from USC to Seattle. To see his success, knowing his style from being under his coaching tutelage. Then to see Bo Pelini go from New England to eventually the head coach of Nebraska and now the defensive coordinator at LSU was very cool.
Just to see their styles and what they went on to achieve in their careers was great to see. At that time, it didn’t work in New England for whatever reason but to see them be successful was cool.
And it was cool to be in New England at the starting point of where that organization is now with Belichick and to see all the players to come in and come out. But, really it’s been a consistent handful of guys and their leadership to know that there are different styles of coaching, administrative and player personnel. To see it all gel the way it did in New England, its been cool for me to look back and say that I was a small part of that success.
There is definitely a business feel to playing in the professionals. More so for me than playing in college even though college is a big business. That first year under Belichick. I mean front office staff, players, administrative people, trainers, coaches and everyone was under the radar and felt the pressure. He (Belichick) needed to figure out what was working, what didn’t work, who was going to be a good fit. There were guys who were very talented but they didn’t mesh well to what he wanted to do and those guys went on to fit in well with other NFL organizations.
The nice thing is that there are only 32 teams in the NFL and you just have to do your job. If your job doesn’t fit the goals or style of a certain team, there are always 31 other teams that if you can play, you can find a way to play.”
Scarlet & Game: What have you been up to since your NFL playing days?
Andy: “After I retired, I spent about 3 years not sure knowing what to do with my life. Back in the mid 2000s, I bought a house and tried to flip it. I think I made a couple hundred bucks and I was like well that was fun but I’m not going to do that again. The market was hot but it just wasn’t worth my time with the pitfalls that I could fall into.
I did a handful of other things but nothing of much substance. Then I went back to Ohio State and I helped out for 2 quarters in the football weight room. I really enjoyed my time there and fell in love with that. After doing that, I decided to eventually open my own training facility to not just train athletes but to train the larger population of people. Whether it may be wives, kids, husbands, older folks, athletes. I’ve been doing that ever since.”
Scarlet & Game: Has that been rewarding?
Andy: “It has been rewarding. It has its challenges. I enjoy being a business owner. I enjoy the challenges. I have learned a lot too. I have made a lot of great relationships and friendships through this process which has been a huge bonus. I have helped a lot of people which I absolutely enjoy and love and I am proud of that.
I have worked with athletes from elementary school to the professionals. General population from little kids to people in their 70s and 80s. The sole purpose of what I do is to provide and make a benefit in someone else’s life. Whether it be that they can move better in their everyday life or they get a tenth of a second faster in their 40 for the combine. Everything and anything in between. It has been really rewarding. I decided that I didn’t want to get stuck in one lane of training so that’s why my clientele is so diverse.
Athletes are always fun to work with. They come in and work hard. But, they are only a limited population of people. I really like helping and encouraging every day people to be healthy and happy and to improve their everyday lives if I can.”
Scarlet & Game: What is your greatest piece of advice?
Andy: “I’m going to give you a quote that I have hanging in my office. The quote is, ‘to be successful, you must decide exactly what you want to accomplish, then resolve to pay the price to get it’.
I look back at my life and for me I never let relationships or things get in my way of my career goals. I very much had tunnel vision on what I wanted to achieve and accomplish. I allowed very little distraction to get in the way of that.”
Thank you to the former Buckeye great for his time!!

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