Thursday, September 10, 2009
Last year, North Salinas High graduate Kassim Osgood earned All Pro props for kick coverage, the rough equivalent of earning an Oscar for a cameo. That means his brief appearances must be awfully good.
Moreover, Number 81 plays his part well – launching everything his sculpted 6-foot 5-inch, 220-pound frame contains into those Braveheart-esque plays, often crunching returners like crab claws – despite the professed fact he’d rather focus on playing wide receiver. Osgood told Charger beat writer Kevin Acee he’s effective in special-teams scenarios because he’s channeling his anger over not getting more balls in the potent Charger O (though he did pull down a TD in the Chargers’ last preseason game).
Other things besides his rare job expertise help the San Diego State and Cal Poly alum stand out. His hair channels a current of electric yellow. And he’s a free-speaking character unfamiliar with understatement. During practice he grins and calls over at Acee after a catch. “Hey, Acee – make sure you write about how I just exploded down the sideline.”
After practice, he’s still ducking discretion. “Salinas?” he says. “I don’t really go back there. People are getting shot.”
Here’s what else he said as he moved from a post-practice ice bath to the locker room.
What’s with the haircut? [Charger linebacker] Shawne Merriman got a blue mohawk so I had to outdo him. Everything’s a competition.
Play coach for a moment. How do the Chargers get the most out of you? I want to make every play, to catch every reception thrown to me. That’s the mentality wide receivers have, that every pass is a dazzling one-handed catch that gets the girls screaming.
How do you reconcile that with a role that is primarily special teams? I’m trying to get on the field any way I can. I want to come to a team and do whatever I can to create problems for the other team, however I can – right now that’s go at ’em running, before they can set up and stick me.
What makes you such a force on kick coverage? Speed, strength, knowing my responsibilities – you gotta know your responsibilities. But in the end it’s all effort, you just gotta be crazy. Think inertia. What did Newton say? Things in motion stay in motion.
I hear you surfaced at Comic-Con in San Diego. What’s Kassim’s kryptonite? Ice cream. I’m a sucker for it.
What thing about playing in the NFL would’ve blown away Kassim the North Salinas Viking? I would probably have to say the amount of times that we meet throughout the day and week.
What lesson learned in Salinas is most valuable to you today? Stay away from gangs and gang activity.
Do you have any must-do pre-game prep? I usually play music off of my iPod. That really gets me focused for game time. I listen to anything and everything.
What do you have to do to help get the Chargers to the Super Bowl? I want to tackle the kickoff or punt returner inside the 20 yardline every time.
Those are some good-looking girls hanging around after practice. Oh man, it’s San Diego. They compete with each other. There’s a lot of them because of all the beachline here.