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How Breiden Fehoko is a 'Different Player' in Year 3
"When you're out there with older guys who are actually teaching makes you realize that these guys want the best from you even though you're all competing."
By Hayley Elwood Aug 18, 2022

With training camp here, we're checking in with Chargers players ahead of the 2022 season:

Our series continues this week with Breiden Fehoko.

Fehoko enters his third season in the NFL with the same mindset he had just two years ago when he signed with the Chargers as an undrafted free agent.

Here's more from the defensive lineman on that mindset, how he's grown as a player, the additions on the D-line, the Bolt Fam Dad Club, getting roasted for going to In-N-Out, and more.

First preseason game for 2022 is in the books, how'd it go for you?

Fehoko: It went well, a lot better than the first preseason game last year. It felt good to actually get out there, get some live action done. And honestly, just getting to play with the guys in a live setting. You can only do so much going up against the same guys every day; you beat up on each other, they push you and you push them and so it's good to play against guys in a different uniform.

What is the biggest difference when you mention that game looking back to last year?

Fehoko: Just experience. Playing a lot of football, I was talking to [run game coordinator/defensive line] coach [Jay] Rodgers about it earlier in the week last week and we were watching film on the Rams preseason game last year. Up until practice, he just talked about just how different I am as a player.

It comes with experience. It comes with playing a lot of football, seeing a lot of action, and for myself, getting around older guys, older veterans who have helped me learn the game and speed up the process of learning.

How are you a different player?

Fehoko: I think the game's slowing down a little bit more. I'm starting to understand my strengths and playing to them instead of trying to be 'Mr. Do-It-All' or 'Mr. Try-To-Do-Too-Much-On-The-Field.' I think I've honed in on doing my job to the best of my ability and just understanding that sometimes you've gotta take what they give you and play to the best of your strengths.

That 'Mr. Do-It-All' mentality, was that something that you had to be taught to change?

Fehoko: As a competitor, I think we all have it. It's our competitive nature. Especially at this level in the NFL and especially with the Chargers, you're playing with 10 other guys who have that mentality but you've got to learn to battle it down for the sake of the defense.

But when you learn to play good defense in this league, you have to learn that everybody has to do their job. You can't do too much because everybody works together to put together a puzzle. When you put it together, it's special. I had to learn that the hard way [through] mistakes and learning by fire, and I think that's what helped me grow as a player.

You've made this team two years in a row, what's your mindset going into this camp?

Fehoko: To make the team, first. That's always gonna be the goal for however long and however many years I play in the NFL. Gain the trust of my fellow peers and show the coaches that they can trust me to do the job when I'm out there.

There's a lot of competition on this defensive line.

What has been your approach to this camp and working with some of those new guys, too?

Fehoko: It's been awesome. I think competition brings the best out of people. I take it back to my days at LSU when we won the national championship, we had a lot of competition. People either shy [away] from it or people thrive in it. I think competition is very healthy and competition is always gonna be a good thing in the NFL.

Learning from guys like Sebastian [Joseph-Day], Austin [Johnson], Morgan [Fox], Jerry [Tillery], the vets in our room, those guys have not only shown me how to approach plays, but they're out there with me and we're learning trial by fire. I love the saying 'trial by fire' because when you're out there with older guys who are actually teaching you and showing you, 'This is how I do it,' and they're going through it with you, it makes you realize that these guys want the best from you even though you're all competing.

Alright, your dad went viral this week.

How shocked were you when you look up at the board and you're like, 'That's my dad!'?

Fehoko: Okay so it's like, I'm watching the offense play and there's always timeouts or breaks and we always try to catch whatever they're showing up there [on the board] at SoFi.

I just so happen to look up and see this guy who looks familiar and I'm like, 'Hey, that's my dad!' Everybody's coming up to me saying, 'Brei, that's your dad! He's got more energy than you!' I'm like aww man, now you guys are digging yourselves into a hole you can't get out of.

Everyone was like, 'We need your dad out here instead of you!' And I was like maybe…maybe he needs to come take double teams on.

You talk to him after the game about that?

Fehoko: So it's funny, we went to go get some In-N-Out.

Oh yeah I was gonna get to that next! I wasn't gonna let you leave this interview without talking about your In-N-Out experience.

Fehoko: The fans have been grilling me about it because I'm a big Whataburger guy. But after a football game, you're always gonna be hungry and there aren't a lot of options open restaurant-wise.

So we went to get In-N-Out, and we just chopped it up. I was joking about it. We didn't even know it was gonna go viral or do numbers until it got posted. But I was just talking to him and got emotional because for him and my mom to come out and watch me play and see the joy on their faces, he teared up about it in the car. He told me, 'You just make me so proud, me and your mother.'

I see them, I see my dad having a blast, I see him enjoying it with all the other Bolt Fam and I see him interacting with Bolt Fam on Twitter and I'm like, 'Geeze this guy is a fan favorite! I thought I was the one playing football!'

There are a lot of active dads on Twitter on this team! Your dad, Reggie Slater, Fred Spiller…

Fehoko: The dads need to get together, man, and make a Bolt Fam Dad Club. The dads are back in action. Give them the Air Monarchs, the fanny packs, get the guys back in action.

Alright, time to talk In-N-Out. What'd you get?

Fehoko: A lot of fans roasted me and a lot of fans corrected me on how I should have ordered.

I got two triples, but they told me I should have gotten the 4x4 with the roasted or caramelized [SoCal native editor's note: grilled] onions, but it was pretty good. It was pretty decent.

When you're hungry, a guy like me, I'm 320 pounds, I'll eat anything when I'm hungry. I had to give homage, I'm not a guy who runs from the grind. I'm not hiding. I told people I had some In-N-Out today, it was pretty decent and we'll move on from here.

Would you go back?

Fehoko: Maybe after a game.

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