Asi­ata re­solves to move ahead

Guard’s new at­ti­tude brings pos­i­tive results

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Nfl - By Chris Perkins Staff writer ch­[email protected]­tinel.com, Twit­ter @Chrisperk

DAVIE — Dol­phins guard Isaac Asi­ata looked in the mir­ror af­ter his rookie sea­son and didn’t like what he saw. Nei­ther did his life coach, who is a for­mer Navy SEAL.

“He sat me down, and I was ba­si­cally, not com­plain­ing, but telling him how I was dis­ap­pointed with last year and he told me straight up that year is gone,” said Asi­ata, the 2017 fifth-round pick out of Utah. “And he didn’t say it was a waste, be­cause I learned a lot of things and grew up a lot, but at the same time he told me that I need to mount up and get go­ing.”

It was a mes­sage Asi­ata al­ready knew. It was also a mes­sage that hard­ened his re­solve.

“I knew I needed to do things dif­fer­ently,” Asi­ata said. “I needed to ap­proach ev­ery­thing dif­fer­ent, and at the end of the day be a pro and make that jump from a first year to sec­ond year.

“I feel like I’m in the process of do­ing it. It’s not per­fect. My game isn’t per­fect by all means. But I’m work­ing to be per­fect. Just try­ing to work on that jump and be a bet­ter more re­li­able, ac­count­able guy.”

Asi­ata, who de­fen­sive tackle Davon God­chaux said was the most im­proved of­fen­sive line­man on the team, was in­ac­tive for 15 games last sea­son, mean­ing he didn’t even wear a uni­form on game day.

But his at­ti­tude ad­just­ment is start­ing to show results. Dol­phins guard Isaac Asi­ata did a lot of soul search­ing af­ter a dis­ap­point­ing rookie sea­son.

Asi­ata has been play­ing sec­ond-team left guard be­hind Josh Sit­ton through­out train­ing camp. It’s not where he wants to be, but it’s a huge im­prove­ment from last sea­son.

Asi­ata has changed his en­tire rou­tine — he ar­rives ear­lier ev­ery morn­ing, he main­tains his body bet­ter by do­ing things such as get­ting in the hot tub and stretch­ing, he does ex­tra film study, does ex­tra work in drills and he’s more at­ten­tive to his as­sign­ments and tech­nique.

“You’ve got to have the dis­ci­pline to be able to do that ev­ery sin­gle day,” Asi­ata said, “and I’m try­ing hard to do that ev­ery day.”

It’s still a ques­tion whether Asi­ata makes the

53-man ros­ter. The start­ing guards — Sit­ton on the left side and Jesse Davis on the right side — have cer­tain ros­ter spots and the same is likely true for veteran re­serve Ted Larsen.

But his at­ti­tude ad­just­ment led to a re­al­iza­tion.

“I’ve got to earn this ev­ery sin­gle day, earn what­ever it is I’m, do­ing whether it’s my morn­ing rou­tine, com­ing out to prac­tice, meet­ings, the way I hold my­self in the build­ing, how much time I spend in the build­ing,” he said.

“Ev­ery sin­gle day you have to earn it, even on your off days you’ve got to do some­thing to earn the right to be here.”

Asi­ata seems to be an en­er­gized man and player be­cause

of his off­sea­son rev­e­la­tions.

“It’s not easy to face things that you kind of want to ig­nore,” he said.

And he also seems to be on the road to be­ing a pro­fes­sional foot­ball player, in all senses of the term.

“It’s all about be­ing a pro,” he said. “There’s a lot that goes into that one say­ing, and that’s diet, that’s phys­i­cal, emo­tional, men­tal, ev­ery­thing. You’ve got to grow up, ma­ture, un­der­stand this is your liveli­hood. You want to be the best; don’t waste op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“Ev­ery­thing is summed up in be­ing a pro, do­ing what it takes to be a pro.” De­fen­sive end Charles Har­ris in­ter­acts with fans be­fore the scrim­mage on Satur­day at Hard Rock Sta­dium.

JOHN MC­CALL/STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

YUTAO CHEN/STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

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