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5 Takeaways: How Joe Alt is Going to Bring Dominant Mentality to Bolts O-Line


Joe Alt has arrived in Southern California.

Here are five takeaways from the Bolts first-round pick's press conference at Hoag Performance Center:

1. Ready to dominate

Joe Alt and the Bolts are a perfect match.

Chargers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh and his staff have talked endlessly about building a team through the trenches, a mindset that included taking Alt at No. 5 overall in Round 1.

The Chargers want to run the ball, be physical up front and keep Justin Herbert upright.

That is music to the ears atop Alt's 6-foot-8 frame.

"I think the thing I love about the offensive line is being able to hit someone every single play," Alt said Friday afternoon. "You don't have a play off, you're going to be throwing your head in there.

"Whether it's pass or run, you have a job to do and you have to hold up your end of the bargain — one of the five [offensive linemen], one of the 11 [offensive players]. If you don't do your job, it's going to hurt the offensive line, hurt the entire offense," Alt added. "I think that's why I love it. That's kind of why I fell in love with the position, and just really the camaraderie of the group. The offensive line group, I think, is a special group."

Alt then noted that he's more about actions than words when it comes to being a dominant player.

"It's not a word that I use in my vocabulary, but it's a mindset that I have," Alt said. "Just refusing to lose and taking it one play at a time and trying to do your best each and every play is kind of my mindset."

Not every team in the NFL embraces offensive linemen the way the Chargers do.

After all, Chargers Run Game Coordinator/tight ends coach Andy Bischoff said this earlier this month:

"This is going to be an O-line-centric building. When it comes to our strength program, it's built around the O-line," Bischoff said. "Everybody else fall in line. Some people don't value offensive linemen. We do."

Alt lit up when that was relayed to him. He knows there is no place he'd rather be.

"Being wanted is one of the best feelings in the world," Alt said. "Being at a position that the coaches and people feel matters, it just makes you want to do it that much more and want to do it for them because they care so much about it.

"Now, it's my job to go get back to work and go put my best foot forward and do the best I can for whatever this team asks of me," Alt added.

2. Flexibility up front

Much has already been made about Alt changing positions, which he is likely to do after Harbaugh said Thursday night that Rashawn Slater is locked in at left tackle.

But Alt isn't worried about a likely move to right tackle, as he cross-trained there in recent months. He also spent time there early in his Notre Dame career.

"I've been working with [former NFL offensive lineman] Alex Boone up at Training HAUS in Minnesota, that's where I did all of my Combine prep," Alt said. "The biggest thing for me is just getting comfortable, being able to set both in my left and right-hand stance, being just as comfortable as I was at the left at the right-hand side.

"Did a lot of drills — pass pro, run blocking — just to make sure that I was comfortable there," Alt added. "I thought we put a lot of good work in from that."

Alt initially went to Notre Dame as a tight end and also moved around Notre Dame's offensive line when they used unbalanced formations.

"I don't think it's a very drastic change for me just because I played tight end in high school," Alt said. "I've had the ability to do everything out of both a left- and right-hand stance.

"I've been playing tackle at the left side for the last three years, but it wasn't like it's something I've never done before. I've had reps there before, so it wasn't something that was a huge change for me," Alt added.

3. A whirlwind 24 hours

Alt hasn't had much time to relax over the past day or so, but he wouldn't have it any other way.

He described what the past 18 hours has been like, which included celebrating with his family before hopping on an early flight to Los Angeles.

Along the way, two thoughts popped into his head.

"I think that there were two thoughts that popped in my head immediately. The first one being gratitude," Alt said. "Like I said, just grateful for the people around me, grateful for this organization in believing in me and this opportunity.

"The second one, just straight excitement," Alt added. "I can't wait to get out here, get to work and go back to what I love doing, and that's playing football."

Alt said he heard from numerous teammates, including Slater, after being taken in the first round.

"Yeah, a lot of guys have reached out to me so far," Alt said. "Rashawn Slater reached out last night, so that was really exciting to kind of hear from him.

"Beginning to build these next relationships is really what I'm looking forward to," Alt added.

4. Straight to work

Alt's press conference was jam packed with Chargers coaches.

Besides Bischoff, Chargers Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman, offensive line coach Mike Devlin, assistant offensive line coach Nick Hardwick and offensive assistant Phil Serchia were there.

So, too, were defensive line coach Mike Elston and safeties coach Chris O'Leary, both of whom overlapped with Alt at Notre Dame.

Harbaugh and Chargers General Manager Joe Hortiz were also on hand.

Alt said it was all business once he arrived to the Bolts team facility as he immediately met with offensive coaches.

"Just kind of got the welcome. At the end of the day, we're back to work, we're back to playing football," Alt said. "We have to start to learn what's going forward and what is being asked of me, and that's what we've been kind of discussing so far."

5. A proud dad

Alt's parents, John and Carolyn, also sat nearby for their son's introductory press conference.

And it was hard to miss John — who is nearly as tall as Joe — and was also a first-round pick back in 1984.

Joe Alt credited his father for helping him develop as a person and a player throughout his life.

"My dad played 13 years for the Chiefs. Football is all I can remember growing up," Alt said. "Walking into the basement, my dad's jersey was hung up at the bottom of the steps, and it was a dream for me my entire life.

"My dad coached me from youth through high school. He was there, he allowed me to really learn what football was and the appreciation for the game and what it did for me and my family," Alt added. "Football has always been kind of top of the totem pole in the family in what we wanted to do. That's why I fell in love with it and have been going with it ever since."

John Alt, a member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame, played 179 career games with Kansas City from 1984 to 1996.

Joe Alt said he's learned some tricks while watching his father's film, even if it's a bit grainy.

"We didn't watch a ton of tape of his VCRs," Alt said with a laugh. "In high school, we kind of stayed away from that. But most recently, a lot of his games have come back out on YouTube in better quality, and we re-watched them when I was home this training process.

"I got to give him a little bit of crap and watch his film and assess the differences in our games," Alt added.

John Alt made sure to showcase his pride for his son while also rubbing him a bit.

"The athleticism is there," John Alt said when asked to compare the two as tackles. "I know we were joking around about height but I think I might have been a little bit better athlete."

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