Catching up with Lavasier Tuinei
Oregon senior Lavasier Tuinei has played 28 games for the Ducks since transferring from Golden West Community College three years ago. A native of Arcadia, Ind., Tuinei has caught 77 career passes for 803 yards and six touchdowns for the Ducks. In 2011 he leads an outspoken wide receivers group as the unit’s lone senior. The Emerald caught up with “LT” after practice this week for a quick Q&A.@@http://www.goducks.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=3378&SPID=233&DB_LANG=C&DB_OEM_ID=500&ATCLID=3743317&Q_SEASON=2011@@
ODE: Now that you’re a senior, looking back, how valuable was the year you spent at Golden West Community College?
LT: I think it was a stepping stone for me, because I couldn’t play my senior year in high school. That’s the main reason why I went to junior college. But probably if I didn’t come here, over to the West Coast, I probably wouldn’t have gotten a scholarship to any of the Pac-10 schools. I think that’s where I got a lot of my recognition, playing in that kind of offense and just being able to have those connections at that school.
How did you wind up out here coming from Indiana?
My dad went to that school. I’m born from Huntington Beach and so is my dad. My dad went there when he was younger, too. He told me to go over there because it was a good school and I could get recognized.
What’s your dad (Van Tuinei, who played 45 games in the NFL over four seasons) telling you at this point in your career, now that it’s your last season of college football? Has there been an overall message?
It’s the same message ever since I was little: Just keep your head up and keep working hard. I accomplished a lot throughout the years with him by my side. I’m lucky to have someone like that in my life who already went through that and be able to pass it down to a younger son. It really means a lot to him and me as well. He always just tells me the little stuff counts. Catch 1,000 balls a week (and) stay on top of your routes. He watches my games and he’s probably my best critic. He never tells me I do good right off the bat, he’ll tell me my mistakes before he tells me how well I did.
Do you really catch 1,000 balls every week?
I do. I catch at least 200 balls every day off the Jugs machine.
Are you still a business major?
I changed it. I’m going to be a political science major and minor business.
Nice. What do you want to do with that?
Hopefully get into law. I’m not really sure yet, but that’s probably my best bet. Hopefully I can start a business later down the road.
You and (former Oregon tight end) Brandon Williams were pretty close off the field. How tough was it for you guys when you heard his football career was over?
It’s tough just to imagine that you can’t play football anymore. He loved the sport so much … I mean just how hard he worked to get to this point and then (came up) just a little short. He had a lot of talent, he had size, I’m pretty sure he would have went to the League. He’s like my best friend at heart, but I don’t know what to tell him but to keep his head up and life isn’t over yet. Football isn’t everything.
Last thing, one question I like to ask everybody: What’s on the iPod these days? Pregame or otherwise?
I’ll tell you right now, I listen to Tyga, “We Up.” That’s my song right there. I like to listen to a lot of Jay-Z, Kanye West. Watch the Throne. I listen to a lot of Blueprint, Blueprint 2, Blueprint 3. And then I get a lot of NWA in there.