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Manti Te'o "Gaining a Lot of Confidence" Each Day

Posted Aug 8, 2014

Second-year linebacker feels poised to make a big leap from rookie season.

The day after the first preseason game of this season is quite different for Manti Te’o than it was a year ago.

At this point in 2013, the inside linebacker was being evaluated for a foot injury that cost him, training camp, the rest of the preseason, and the first three weeks of the regular season.  Today, he is fully healthy and poised to make a bigger impact than he did as a rookie.

“He did a nice job last night,” Head Coach Mike McCoy said.  “He would tell you first he’s a lot more comfortable right now than he was last year.  Obviously at this time last year he wasn’t doing as much, but he’s worked extremely hard.”

Playing just a handful of snaps with the rest of the defensive starters, Te’o notched a pair of tackles as the Bolts forced the Cowboys starting offense to punt on the initial series of the game.

“I was able to get in there for a few reps,” he said.  “It was good to run out there, run around a little bit and just get out there in that game environment.  So I thought I did pretty (well).”

Overall, Te’o is hoping to make more plays as a sophomore.  One key way to do that is by being a three-down linebacker, and he’s gotten more time in nickel packages than a year ago.

“One of my main goals is to get in on third down and do whatever I need to do to help the team win,” he said.  “I’m gaining a lot of confidence each and every day going through third down and those passing downs.  We call them money downs, so for me to get the opportunity and coach to trust me enough to put me out there means a lot for me.  (I’m learning) from my teammates, from Eric (Weddle) and from Donald (Butler), how better to play coverage. It definitely has helped me so much so far.  I have a lot to work on, but the progress I’ve made so far I’m really happy about it.”

A key cog in the Chargers’ defense, Te’o was encouraged by their play in their initial outing of 2014.

“I think we did well overall,” he said.  “I think we have a lot of things to work on (and) a lot of things to correct.  We still have time to watch the film and go over those corrections with coach.  So we’ll go over them later on.  We’re still early.  It’s still early in the season. This was our first test as a team, and I think overall defensively we did pretty well.  We’ll go back to the drawing board, see what we can do better and go from there.”

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