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Behind The Facemask: Matt Tennant

Rookie C looks forward to a season of homecomings

Saints 5th round draft choice, Matt Tennant, looks to earn a spot on the roster as a backup offensive lineman. The 6-4, 300 pound lineman out of Boston College has been practicing at both the center and guard position so far. Tennant was one of two players in Boston College history to be named a finalist for the Rimington Trophy, a collegiate award given to the nation's top center.  He now joins a Saints offense line that recently won the Madden Most Valuable Protectors award.

Tennant spoke with NewOrleansSaints.com about learning from the veterans, heading back home, and playing with two outstanding quarterbacks.

When you were drafted, you had said you would come in and play either center or guard. Do you still feel that way? Where do you think things are going now that training camp is underway?When I got here, I expected the same thing that I am getting right now. I am playing center and guard, and I'm just trying to learn from the vets. Everything is going really well and I'm picking up the scheme pretty quickly. I'm having a blast.

What is like coming to a team with a highly coveted offensive line that won theMadden Most Valuable Protectors Award?** It's an honor because I have the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the business. I just try and take little things from each of the guys every day and really improve my game.

Some scouts compared your potential to Jeff Saturday or Matt Birk. How does it feel to be mentioned with those guys?I am nowhere near any of those guys now. One day, I hope to be. Right now, I just need to continue improving my game and learn from the veterans. Maybe one day.

You previously said that your biggest weakness was managing your weight. How are you handling that now that the season is starting?It's not a problem. For some reason, as soon as I came down to New Orleans my weight has been fine. I am holding a steady 305, so there are no problems.

The weather down here is much different than in Boston…It's not nearly as humid up there. It gets warm though. It will be nice to go back up there for the Patriots game. I get to experience that all over again.

This is kind of a season of homecomings for you because you are headed back to New England for practice and a preseason game, and then back home to Cincinnati in December. How do you feel about visiting all of the places that you played before?It's a dream come true to be able to be at this place at this point in my life. I am very fortunate. I am very blessed. I just want to go back there and enjoy it.

You were highly coveted coming out of Boston College. How did it make you feel that the Saints traded up to get you?It just showed me that the team was really interested and that they thought I was a good player for them. I just want to go out there and make all of the predictions correct.

What is your favorite thing about New Orleans so far?The fans. Up at Boston College, you never had anything like this because you have the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics, and the Bruins. New Orleans just loves the Saints. I love being a part of an organization that has fans like that.

What do you like to do off the field?I like to read books, go to the movies. I recently read a book called *Abraham Lincoln: The Vampire Hunter. *It was some fiction book that caught my eye. My girlfriend is in town, so I have been hanging out with her. We also just bought a dog, so I am trying to make sure the dog doesn't pee all over the house.

You were a wrestler in high school, how do you think that has helped you in football so far?I only wrestled for one year. I couldn't keep my weight up long enough. With wrestling, it was all about my balance and hand control. I just try to use those things and apply them to my game.

You played with an excellent QB in college in Matt Ryan. How do you feel that he is now a division rival?He was a great player. The first year I started was with him at quarterback and I was at center. He's a fierce competitor. I am excited to play the (Atlanta) Falcons this year.

What are your thoughts about playing with another excellent QB in Drew Brees?He's just a tremendous leader as far as this team. I just try and do what he does correctly and live based off what he does.

With the team coming off a Super Bowl win, how are you looking to help the team get back to another championship?I will do all I can to help this team.

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