Q&A with Elliot Silvers
Oct. 17, 2000
What is Elliot Silvers, the person off the field, like? What do people not know about you?
Silvers: "I am deep, and complex and twisted. There is a lot more to me than what people see. There is a lot more depth to me.
"There is not one thing that encapsulates me. I am kind of a wide mix of things. I am a little bit of everything, kind of like a sampler platter. Sometimes it seems like I have multiple personalities. There are just many different sides of me. There is the football player side. Something happens on the field and I am kind of violent I guess. That is what offensive lineman do. Then I also definitely have the politician in me, and I also have the clown and the child. The politician in me is the one who does the interviews, the one that makes sure everything is smooth. He doesn't rock the boat, he just tells people what they want to hear. He doesn't question authority at all. It just depends what mood I am in and which side of me it is. Sometimes I am difficult to get along with, sometimes I am not. It just depends on which day you catch me. I am real moody. My seratonin levels aren't exactly a straight line, they are kind of like a heartbeat. I am consistently inconsistent.
"For the clown side of me to come out, I have to be in the right mood, then I joke around a lot. Most of the time I am serious though. I think Jim Morrison said it best. He was `a mature, responsible adult with the soul of a clown, which caused him to blow things at the most crucial moment.' I am a big fan of Jim Morrison."
What is it about Jim Morrison you like so much?
Silvers: "He is just an intriguing person. He was intelligent, lived life fast and was rebellious. There are different kinds of rebellion, though. There is a senseless rebellion where there is not a lot of thought involved. Then there is a calculated rebellion, that is the kind Morrison had. I think that there was definitely a method behind the madness with him. I like his music too. He had stage presence. I like his poetry too. I have his poetry books."
Do you read a lot of books?
Silvers: "I read what I want to read, but I don't really read a lot. But (my book collection) is like my music collection. I read everything. I have Morrison's poetry, Aldus Huxley's `The Doors of Perception', Manufacturing Consent', ` A People's History of the United States,' some books on politics and some Howard Zinn. When I read a book it is usually something that has some meaning to it, not just a story that someone has made up. I am not a real big fan of that. Unless it benefits me in some way, I don't really enjoy it."
What about movies? What kind of movies do you like? Do you have a favorite?
Silvers: "I like them all. It is too hard to choose just one as my favorite. I definitely like movies that make you think, like "Usual Suspects" where it leads you through the movie and then at the end it just leaves you (thinking about it). I like those movies."
Sounds like you are into developing yourself as a person. Is that accurate?
Silvers: "I am into what most kids are into, finding out who I am as a person. I am into expanding my horizons in all directions. I am not focused on just one thing. I am scatter-brained sometimes."
When you look for a girlfriend, do you look for the same qualities that you have?
Silvers: "The first thing I look for, is that I have to be able to talk to the person. If I can sit there and talk with the person for hours and not be bored then that is definitely a plus. I have been around plenty of gorgeous women that I could not talk to for the life of me. No matter how bad I wanted to talk to them, it was a struggle to talk to them. There is this thing with some people where you can talk and it just clicks and you definitely need to have that. I cannot handle not having that. But at the same time I need to be comfortable in silence with the person. It has to be okay to sit there and not say anything at times, and not feel like you have to be talking. If that person happens to be good looking, it is just another plus."
What would you do with that perfect person on a date?
Silvers: "There is no perfect person. [Okay, the person you are looking for.] I usually take my date out to a nice restaurant. The last date serious date I went on, we went to the Waterfront, down on Pier 70. It is a nice restaurant, a real nice restaurant, with a piano player and a real nice bar, out on the water. I definitely think that the first date needs to be interactive. Going to the movies for a date, you don't even talk to the person and get to know them at all. I am not a big fan of the movie date. I am not a big fan of the whole dating thing. It is not really my style. I usually just meet (a girl) somewhere and we talk, then we talk on the phone a little bit and hang out. There are definitely aspects in my life that I need structure in, and dating is not one of them."
What areas of your life do you need structure in?
Silvers: "I think with football there definitely has to be structure. There has to be structure or there is chaos and the team does not really work out."
What do you think has made you successful both as a football player and as a person?
Silvers: "When the sperm hit the egg. I am serious. That is what it is with a lot of us. There is hard work involved, but the majority of it is when the sperm hit the egg. We are gifted. There are a lot of people who would love to be in our shoes, playing football in front of 74-75,000 people every weekend. We are the lucky ones I guess. We get to do what others can't do."
Is there anything that people always ask you that bugs you?
Silvers: "I always get asked, `What size shoe do you wear?' It is the same basic question over and over. Here is how the conversation goes: What size shoe do you wear? I say 18. Then they say can you buy those in the store. I say no. They say do you have to special order those. I say yes. Well, where do you get them? I say catalogs. Do they cost extra? I say no. You would think that they would cost extra because it is made out of more material. I say yes, but they don't. Next question. [Being as big as you are, you don't fit into a lot of cars.] No, trucks mostly. I have a Chevy pickup truck."
They say you can tell a lot about a person by the car they drive? What does yours say about you?
Silvers: "I think you can tell a lot about a person by their collection of music."
What can people tell from your music collection? What kind of music do you listen to?
Silvers: "I think people could tell I am really open-minded by looking at my music. I think if you limit yourself to one genre of music, like rap or rock or reggae, it shows that you are narrow minded and not willing to open up to other ideas. I have a little of everything from Frank Sinatra to reggae to rap to classic rock. You name it, I have it. Operas too. [Operas?] `Cabaret', `Les Mis(erables).' [Even country?] No, I don't own any country CDs, but there are some country songs I like. I just haven't gone out and bought the CDs."
What is your favorite food?
Silvers: "Italian food. My favorite dish is Chicken Parmesan. It is so good. I like Mexican food too.
So, you are very eclectic.
Silvers: That is me summarized in one word, eclectic. No, you can't summarize me. There is no short summary of Elliot Silvers. I need to write a book, Elliot Silvers Rants and Raves. That is what I will call it, since I go on these little rants all the time."
Your major is political science. What do you plan to do with that?
Silvers: Could you see me running for office. Holding babies, taking pictures, cutting ribbons. [Not really.] Why not? Is there some stereotype against me that you think I couldn't do that (he jests). I don't know what I am going to do with it though."
Do you have a nickname?
Silvers: "Train. It used to be L-Train, but it turned into just Train. I've had it since I was in sixth or seventh grade and it just kind of stuck."
Do you have a favorite sports team or athlete?
Silvers:No. [Are you watching the Baseball Playoffs?] No, I am not a big fan of baseball. [Did you watch the Olympics] No, not really. [Do you watch Sports Center, anything sports related?] I do watch Sports Center because it is short and to a point. You don't have to watch the whole game, you just see the highlights and lowlights. I can't sit there and watch a whole sporting event, I don't have the attention span. I would rather be playing it than watching it."
Do you play any sports besides football?
Silvers: "I played a little indoor soccer this summer. It was cool. I hadn't played since I was in third or fourth grade, but it is pretty fun. I have to say that soccer is the most physically demanding sport, endurance-wise because it seems like you run forever. It is intense. I will watch soccer on TV. It is boring, but I like watching it for some reason."
One of your hobbies is surfing. Are there any similarities between football and surfing?
Silvers: They both require balance, but that is about it. I think balance definitely comes into play in football. If you look at the Arizona State game tape, you will see me balanced a few plays and you will see me fall on my face a few plays. Surfing has helped my balance, but there is not really a correlation between the two."
What is it like to play in Husky Stadium?
Silvers: "It is awesome. I almost cried the first time I ran out into the stadium. It is a really emotional experience. The first time I ran out, I don't remember which game it was, but I remember walking down the tunnel in my uniform and hearing people chanting the whole way down the tunnel. You can hear sort of hear the rumble of the crowd outside. You can see them from the tunnel but not very well, then all of a sudden you run out of the tunnel and there are all these photographers taking pictures and there are TV cameras. Then the crowd bursts out into a cheer. It is an emotional moment. It is a big deal. Not everyone can experience that kind of thing. It is appreciated.
Is it a different feeling the more times you do it?
Silvers: "It is. It shouldn't be, but it is. I definitely think the first year you do it and the last year you do it stick out. In the beginning you think, `Wow, this is a new experience, this is the greatest thing ever.' And then somewhere in between you lose it a little bit and take it for granted. And then in the end, during your senior year, you think `I only have a few more times to walk down this tunnel,' and you appreciate it for what it is worth."
Being a senior, what is it like to know that this could be the end of football for you?
Silvers: "It is tough. I haven't really done anything else but go to school and play football. If that is over at the end of the season, I will just have to stop, look around and say `What do I do know' and then regroup. I have no idea what lies ahead in life after football. I know it is going to be a hard adjustment. I think it is hard on everybody."
Do you think you will still spend time with the guys after football? Is there a comraderie among football players?
Silvers: "I can't say definitely, but I hope so. Life takes you in strange directions sometimes.
"There is something special about being on the team. I would do anything for the guys on the team. They are like my extended family, whereas you might not like everybody, but they are still your family."
You suffered a knee cap injury your red-shirt freshman season, how did it happen? How did it effect the way you played when you came back?
Silvers: "It happened in the game against Arizona State in 1997. It was on a counter lead play and Olin Kreutz threw someone into my knee. It hurt pretty badly. I was out for seven games, but I played in the bowl game at the end of the year. It was tough to come back, but it was good because I got to finish out the year with the guys on that team. It was a good experience, we ended up winning that bowl game. For a little while (the injury) slowed me down. I was a little timid when I first came back and I think it showed. It was definitely pointed out to me several times."
What was it like being sidelined for those seven games? Did you learn anything from being forced to watch and not play?
Silvers: "You never really understand how much you love football and really love the game, until it is taken away from you. With an injury, it is snatched away from you so abruptly. It is not fun sitting on the sidelines. When you are hurt like that, you go through practice everyday hating it. Some days it is a real drag but you have to fight through it to play. When you are hurt, you would give anything just to practice. It is weird."
What do you like best about playing offensive tackle? Is there any other position you would like to play?
Silvers: "I don't know. I just know that it is something I am fairly good at. I guess if I could play another position, I would play tight end or defensive end. But I am an offensive lineman, that is all I would really want to play. I like my position. That is just what I can do, what I am good at. I am not really good at anything else."
What is it like to be an offensive lineman, knowing your main responsibility is to protect the quarterback, in this case, Marques Tuiasosopo?
Silvers: "It is exciting because you never know what he is going to do. He is definitely a playmaker. It is exciting to watch him and to play with him. You never know what he is going to do so you have to keep blocking until the whistle blows."
"It doesn't matter who is back there at quarterback, though. It is still a big responsibility. But because he (Marques) is the guy, you have to work especially hard, because he is such a big part of our offense. If he goes down, it is going to hurt us a little bit."
"I think the offensive line has the potential to make a quarterback look good or bad. I probably made Brock (Huard) look bad a few times back in 1998."
Knowing that you could have that much of an impact on a quarterback's success, is that one of the bad parts of the job?
Silvers: "No. It just means the stakes are a little bit higher and it means that you have to play well and come through for the team."
In the Arizona State game, the offense did not produce as well as it has in other games this season, does that fall on the shoulders of the offensive line?
Silvers: "Anytime we don't play well (on offense), I think it is a reflection on the offensive line. If we can't run or pass the ball, I think it is always to some extent our fault."
This year, the team has faced several different defensive styles, does that effect how the offensive line prepares for a game?
Silvers: "It doesn't really effect the offensive line that much. We might block plays a little bit different, but in the end we still have to block our guys. If we don't get that done, it hurts the offense and it hurts the team. It comes down to each man defeating his man. When everybody is on the same page, doing the same thing, the play works out. If one of us messes up, a lot of times, the play doesn't work out the way it was drawn up."
Anything else you want to tell the people reading this?
Silvers: "Question authority. Be yourself. Don't buy into the image that society expects you to fit into. Just be yourself. Don't be what other people want you to be. Do what you want to do, within reason of course. I am just so tired of people being fake and saying what other people want to hear and not what they feel. I think that people aren't honest with themselves anymore. I would rather someone come out and tell me what they think about me, instead of smiling to my face and patting me on the back, and then kicking me in the butt as I walk away."
"I don't really care what people think of me. I care what certain people think about me, but for the most part, if a person doesn't have some impact or bearing on my life, I could really care less what they have to say or what they think about me."
That being said, do you pay attention to the media's reports about the team?
Silvers: "I don't read the paper and I don't watch the TV coverage that involves us, because I think you are never as good as everyone says and you are never as bad as everyone says. People start to believe the hype and a lot of times that is their downfall."
"I think that was the 1997 team's downfall. That was our downfall actually, I was part of it. We started to believe the hype. Everybody started to believe that we were really that good and that was our downfall. When you think that you are that good, you think that you can just show up and beat people. It is almost like people think the other team is just going to roll over and play dead. It doesn't matter if a team hasn't won a game or if they have won every game, they are going to come in and try to beat you. I think you have to respect all of your opponents."
What are your thoughts on the upcoming California game?
Silvers: "We just want to win. We want to play well and we want to win. That is all there is to it. That is why we play, because we want to win. No one wants to lose. We have to play well in order to win. That is it."