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His Name's Dallas, But Sartz Is a Redskin

The Redskins drafted oustide linebacker Dallas Sartz of USC in the fifth round (143rd overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft. Sartz, 6-4 and 235 pounds, spoke with Redskins.com and discussed joining the organization.

Q: What are your thoughts on coming to Washington?

A: "I couldn't be happier to come to Washington. It's an amazing feeling. When I got the call from Coach [Joe] Gibbs, I just felt satisfaction. I'm going to a great place with a great program, great coach, great players and a great history. I'm overwhelmed with the opportunity that I am blessed with."

Q: You grew up in California. How much do you know about the Redskins franchise?

A: "Not a whole lot, to tell you the truth--just because of the east coast-west coast thing. I remember watching the Super Bowl teams. I know the fans are great. Everybody talks about the fans there."

Q: Your first name won't sit too well with Redskins fans, unfortunately. Do you know a lot about the rivalry between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins?

A: "Nothing I can do about my first name. I know [the Redskins-Cowboys rivalry] is definitely one of the biggest rivalries in NFL history. They're two All-American teams and I am happy to say I am playing for one of them."

Q: Did you have a sense that the Redskins would draft you?

A: "By the fifth round, I had no idea what team would draft me. I just hoped I would be able to go to a great team. There is always speculation as to where you are going to go and where you are not going to go, but when it's all said and down, you don't really know who is going to take you."

Q: Was it hard to wait until the second day of the draft?

A: "Yeah, it isn't easy for anyone to sit there watching. You want your name to come up so bad, and it doesn't. Having it finally over and being able to say, 'I'm a Washington Redskin' is the greatest thing to be able to say. I couldn't be happier right now."

Q: What would you say are your strengths as an outside linebacker?

A: "I'd say my strengths are the ability to see plays develop and be a smart player out there. I want to be able to read the offense before the snap, at the line of scrimmage. I feel I play the run pretty well and I cover pretty well against the pass. I just need to go out there learn the defense, work out with the coaches and see how I can help them out wherever they need me."

Q: What do you feel you need to improve on as you enter the NFL level?

A: "I think I need to get a little bit bigger. That's what I've been doing the past couple months. I've been working on gaining some weight and get bigger."

Q: You had a shoulder injury back in 2005. Are you fully recovered from that?

A: "It's perfect. It's 100 percent healthy."

Q: Did that injury prohibit you at all from bulking up for your senior season?

A: "No, not at all. Once the [2006] season started, it was 100 percent. It never hindered me at all."

Q: In your senior season at USC, your sack totals jumped up. What do you think was the big difference that year?

A: "I was just going out there and working hard at practice every day. I worked with my linebackers coach and I did as much as I could to get better and improve my skills."

Q: Did playing at a big program like USC better prepare you for the pros?

A: "I definitely think so. We have been to five BCS championship games the last five years and we've had two National Championships. We had three Heisman Trophy winners. We have had all the publicity around us with the media. So I think when you are in a situation like that, along with Coach [Pete] Carroll's program and the way he runs his program with his coaching staff, I think everything about USC helps you go to the next level."

Q: Have you had a chance to talk with assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams?

A: "I talked with him at the NFL Scouting Combine a little bit. I also spoke with linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti. I talked with the team's [west coast scout]. I sat down and figured out their defense and they figured out ours to see how I would fit in. We sat down for a little while and got to know each other."

Q: Your father Jeff was a defensive back at Oregon State and your grandfather was a boxer at Washington State and a professional hydroplane racer. How did that sports background in your family help you?

A: "I had sports all around me when I was growing up. A lot of what they taught me--and how they lived their lives--showed me how to live my life, compete and be the type of guy that I am. Being surrounded by people who compete every day of their life definitely teaches you how to compete for a spot on a team and how to prepare yourself to go about business."

Q: As you enter the NFL, are you looking at special teams as an area where you can make your mark?

A: "I know that special teams will be a big part of my career, for however long they want me there. I am definitely going to try and go play some linebacker, but I know I am going to be a special teams guy for quite a while. I'm okay with that and that will be a big part of my role as a rookie linebacker. I am looking forward to that."

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