June 24, 2009
Maryland Media Relations is proud to present the fifth in a series of Q&As detailing former Terrapins' first impressions of life in the National Football League. The fifth installment of `Terps in the NFL' features Dave Philistin. The durable linebacker tallied 251 tackles while playing outside and middle linebacker for Maryland from 2005 to 2008, appearing in the final 49 games of his collegiate career. He signed a rookie free agent deal with the Seattle Seahawks on April 27. An All-Atlantic Coast Conference nominee, Philistin recently spoke with Maryland Media Relations regarding playing with fellow rookie linebacker Aaron Curry, learning a new playbook and living across the country.
Media Relations: When did you know you were going to sign with the Seattle Seahawks?
Dave Philistin: "The Seahawks called me during the draft and told me they were really interested in me. After the draft, I had a bunch of teams contact me asking me to sign. Me and my agent decided this was the best fit for me as far as opportunities to make the team and to play."
MR: What is it like playing with former Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry, the fourth overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft?
Philistin: "Me and Aaron are the only two rookie linebackers, so we're pretty good friends. He plays Sam linebacker and I play Will and Sam, so we talk a lot. Sometimes I ask him questions because playing two positions can be tough."
MR: Have you sought advice from fellow Maryland alumnus and Seahawks defensive back Josh Wilson?
Philistin: "Me and Josh definitely talk. We exchanged numbers, and we text each other every now and then. He plays DB, but he still helps me with the drills, telling me about the tempo and what the coaches are looking for. Being a rookie and all, it's really helpful having guys like him. He knows his way around and really seems to like it out here."
What has been the biggest difference between pro and college football for you so far?
"I feel like the biggest difference is the playbook. It was reassuring when I got out here and found I could run with these guys, but as a rookie you really have to learn the playbook, and that's not easy. We have a lot of double-calls where we run a different defense depending on their formation. We've been installing a lot of plays, and you really have to keep up with that."
MR: How did the Seahawks' minicamps and Organized Training Activities go for you?
Philistin: "They went well for me. My coaches said I did a good job. I just need to build off what I did and learn this playbook the best I can. I want to learn the Will and Sam linebacker spots really well and eventually learn Mike, too. I played all of the linebacker positions in college, so hopefully I can do that."
MR: How has being a Terp prepared you for the rigors of playing in the NFL?
Philistin: "Coach (Al) Seamonson prepared me mentally as far as what to expect, and coach (Dwight) Galt helped prepared me physically so I came out here strong. In that respect, I feel like Maryland has helped me out a lot. Coach Seamonson, coach (Kevin) Lempa and the rest of the staff really helped me out a lot, and Wes Robinson helped me get my shoulder healthy. I really appreciate everything those guys did for me."
MR: What is it like playing across the country?
Philistin: "It's been crazy and it takes some getting used to, especially with the time difference. The craziest thing is it's the first time I went somewhere where I didn't know anyone. Even at Maryland, my brother lived in Virginia, so he was always close by. It's definitely been an adventure so far."
MR: Have you had any chance to explore Seattle yet?
Philistin: "Yeah, I've gone out with a couple teammates to check out the city. The city, itself, has a lot to offer. I love nature, so I feel like I fit in well out here. The scenery is amazing; I went hiking up Tiger Mountain the other day. They say it rains a lot, but it hasn't rained that much since I've been out here. I'm just happy to be out here, and I feel like this is a blessing."
MR: What are your thoughts regarding Maryland's linebacker corps entering the 2009 season?
Philistin: "I think they'll be great. I heard the new defensive coordinator has everyone excited. As long as they're willing to learn, they'll be fine. I talked to Demetrius Hartsfield and Ben Pooler and the rest of the guys. I think there are big things in store for that group. I told them to call me if they ever need anything - I'm still a Terp at heart."
MR: Has it sunk in yet that you are playing professional football at its highest level?
Philistin: It has and it hasn't. I'll be out there getting pointers from (Seahawks linebackers) Lofa Tatupu and Leroy Hill, and I have to remind myself that this is really happening. It's been crazy so far, but I just wake up every day and thank god."