Jalen Ollie and the Glastonbury Tomahawks have been rolling through their schedule after a loss in week 1 against Southington. The Tomahawks are now 8-1 in week 10 and they are visiting Windsor which is a must win for the Warriors to secure a spot for the Class LL tournament. I managed to sit with Ollie to talk about his team's progress and how important leadership is for him and his team. I guess being a leader comes natural for Ollie and runs in the family.
How do you think your season is going so far?
Jalen Ollie: I think we're having a good winning streak right now. Were just focusing on taking it one game at a time and just looking forward to Windsor right now.
In week 1 you came up short against Southington but after that game you guys have put together an impressive winning streak, what changed for you and your team after that game?
JO: You know all the players that got combined in, we lost a lot of seniors that were big time seniors last year. So again all the players and our offense started rolling, especially against Hall. That comeback run was really nice especially in the fourth quarter, so that just kept it going since Hall, so we just have to keep it moving.
Are you a captain for your team?
JO: No, I'm not a captain, I don't take it that seriously because I think I'm a captain of the offense. Just leading my team through every game and just talking to our offensive line after every possession. That's the quality of leadership, I definitely learned from my father, he has thought me a lot since I was young.
With your dad being the head coach at UConn, does he help you with your football as well?
JO: He has a basketball mentality, he doesn't really talk about the field motions, but he's still a leader. He has told me ever since he was a kid he was a leader. Being point guard and being quarterback is really similar. Just leading your team and calling all the plays, that's what a quarterback and a point guard do. He has taught me all that. He has taught me about the mechanics and the footwork, which is all in the summer time. Throughout the season he has a huge impact on me. Teaching me about leadership and all those skills, he has been helping me throughout the season so I really appreciate everything.
What's next after your senior year?
JO: I'm getting recruited by some prep schools, some in Massachusetts and some in Connecticut. I'm going to prep school for college and education, my mother gets on me about that, A's and B's always, but just to get into prep school and improving in football. I still have basketball season coming up, but I'm doing well so I guess we'll see what happens at the end of the year.
What are some of things you are going to work on to prepare for the next level for football and basketball?
JO: For football I need to work on my speed and the deep ball, which involves the weight room too. Getting in the weight room getting stronger, all the physical attributes I need to work on. I think my coverage ratings doing well this season, I have been working with Travis Martin, our quarterback coach, and he's been helping me with that. For basketball, just getting stronger and hopefully I get a few inches in there, hopefully I do well.
Do you have any dream schools you have looked up too growing up?
JO: Not really just any school that has interest in me. Education is top priority for me, so I'm looking forward to that, but looking for the right school we will see what happens after prep school.
You're up against Windsor on Friday and you know it's a must win for the Warriors to stay in the playoff run, what are some things you are doing to prepare for the game?
JO: Windsor is definitely going to come in hard, looking at some friends from 8th grade we beat them in the championship, I remember that season, but we lost a lot of players and they lost a lot of players so it's going to be a dogfight. They're really big up front and after the game against I think after Bristol Eastern or Maloney they have been doing well, but we can't underestimate nobody. That's one thing my dad taught me, you have to take it game by game. Windsor is a really tough team but as long we play as team and the offensive line blocks, they been doing well and the receiver catch the balls. Our offense been doing good and our defense been doing great. We're tough team to beat, we showed it with defense and were still improving, but Windsor is a tough team, no doubt about it their are better than their record and should be undefeated.
Would you agree and say your team's confidence is higher being ranked 1st in the area ratings from the Hartford Courant?
JO: No, we don't care about rankings, especially to me, I don't really care about that, all I care about is the win, every game, and the state championship. The LL is the toughest tournament but we believe we can do it, the whole team, Coach Daniels been preaching to us saying we can do it, we lost a lot of players but we can do it.
What are some of the things you like doing off the field?
JO: Off the field I like hanging out with my boys, after school, we talk a lot of football and we hang out a lot .We was just supporting the boys soccer team last night, so that was a big win for them, just hanging out with my boys.
I know growing up you have been bouncing around with your dad's NBA career, how was the transition living in Connecticut and calling Connecticut your home?
JO: I like Connecticut a lot, it's basically my home but my dad has been moving a lot while playing in the NBA. I move around a lot when I was younger, but I really like Connecticut, there's a lot of good people especially in Glastonbury and it's a beautiful place. The XL center in Hartford, and I have a lot friends in the Hartford area and around the state from AAU.
Do you think UConn basketball will be successful this year playing in a new conference and being eligible to compete in the tournament this year?
JO: I think they're going to do really well, you know there's a lot of talk about Jabari Parker and all of those freshman, but they have a lot of good seniors. Shabazz Napier is going to lead the team, I love Shabazz, that's a quarterback right there and it's up to him if they going to bring home another championship. They have Boatright and a lot of good guards, and they have good bigs that can get up and down the court too. So that's a good team, so hopefully dad could bring back a championship up in March, so we'll see how it plays out and I'm looking forward for a big season.
Favorite NFL team?
JO: My favorite team is the Dallas Cowboys, my dad is a big Cowboy's fan because he used to live in Dallas.
Favorite NFL player and why?
JO: My favorite quarterback has to be Tom Brady, just his mechanics, his mechanics is beautiful basically is how to put it. All his footwork and all the good stuff, that's how I want to be, just to get the mechanics right, the ball release, and reading coverage's. I like his leadership on and off the field, on the sidelines talking to his lineman. I really like to lead off that because that's what a real quarterback is and that's the reason he is one of my favorite quarterbacks in the NFL.
Do you have an ideal vacations?
JO: I will like to try to go overseas, you know get out of states. Learning so much about history you know geography and all that, its sounds really nice, I like to get out of the country.
Any favorite local restaurants?
JO: Lodi's, breakfast club in Glastonbury, I'm a big breakfast person, I can't deal without breakfast.
Do you have a favorite pass this season?
JO: My favorite play of the season has to be the game winning touchdown against Norwich Free Academy, you know talking to coach that game brought us together even more. Coach didn't even call that play I just audible it on the line, just with that play communication was important, communication is key in football. You have to talk to everybody about what's going on and that is one of the best passes I have ever thrown. One of the best games I ever been in too.