Former FIU center Shane McGough traveled from Tampa’s Gaither High School down the road to Miami, Florida following in the footsteps of his brother Alex, currently a quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks. McGough learned some tips from his brother, quarterbacked the Panthers offensive line and found time to start at all three interior line positions in school. We sat down with McGough this offseason to talk about some of his goals as he embarks on a potential NFL career.
DN: In terms of the workout process for the draft, where are you training for the draft?
McGough: I’m actually in my hometown of Tampa, Florida training with The Trench Academy, trying to get all these times ready for Pro Day. And I think it’s going really well.
DN: What are some of your goals, ‘let’s just say it might be the 20-yard short shuttle or maybe the 3-cone or maybe the bench press?’ Any specific goals that you’ve earmarked with your trainer?
McGough: Yeah, we’ve all got some times that we’re really trying to hit. In my short shuttle, I put down a time the other day that I’m really trying to stay around. I ran a 4.56 in the short shuttle (did 4.58 on Pro Day), so that’s pretty fast for an offensive lineman. So if I can keep it right there, then that’s a good number. The 10-yard split is really important for an offensive lineman, showing explosiveness off the line. If I can keep that under a 1.7, that’s what we’re shooting for (On McGough’s Pro Day in late March, he ran in the 5.1-to-5.2 range in the 40-yard dash).
DN: You were at the College Gridiron Showcase and also at the Tropical Bowl. You weighed in at 304 pounds right at 6-foot-2, and you pretty good hand size at 9 3/8”. Those measurements are favorable for you, projecting to the center spot, correct?
McGough: Yes sir.
DN: Who were some of the guys that were there before you (at FIU) that kind of paved the way for you?
McGough: Neal (Mars) was a guy that I played under, as I was his backup. He was always there to teach me and we competed for the spot. Having a guy like that who was willing to help you and show you the ropes, knowing that I was competing against him was really good. Jordan Budwig was an older guy that was actually there when my brother was there. Missed a couple of years due to injury but him being an older guy and having a lot of experience; he was able to teach me the game as a younger player. Understanding different defenses and being able to pick things up.
DN: Rich Skrosky (offensive coordinator) kind of brought NFL-type principles to the program. In terms of line calls, talk about how being in somewhat of a pro-style scheme the last couple of years can help your progression.
McGough: It helps a lot with the way we did our stuff with Skrosky. In the NFL, a lot of it is put on the center to make a lot of those calls, protection calls and stuff like that. That’s exactly how we did it. We did get help from the quarterback but they did rely on the center a lot to make adjustments right there on the line. Tell the quarterback what you see and let him change it. Make sure everyone is on the same page. Skrosky always said, ‘As long as all five of us are wrong together, you’re still right.’ Being able to be in the middle as the quarterback of the offenslve line, make all the line calls, get the protection, get the slide where we need to be and pick up all the different blitzes is really going to show out on my film. Maybe some of those NFL scouts that are looking for those centers who are able to slide over, pass off twists and pass all the way off to an edge blitzer.
DN: We regarded you as the best bender on your offensive line in some of the matchups viewed. Talk about the guys that you went against from Western Kentucky, as that was a multiple defensive front. How did that contest challenge you intellectually?
McGough: Their defensive line was an experienced defensive line, they had a lot of older guys. Their nose guard and shades that I was going against I had played multiple times. We’ve seen each other, kind of got a few tricks under our sleeves. They ran a few different formations and just competing against those guys was fun. It gets boring if you’re not playing against good competition.
DN: You used some different techniques after you’ve snapped the ball. You used some of these against FAU, the game in which you guided and mirrored their nose guard on the inside zone touchdown. Talk a little about some of your run blocking techniques, particularly when you wall-and-steer defenders to turn them out.
McGough: It’s something that you kind of read the defender on that, depending on how he plays the flow in the backfield. It kind of changes how you react to what he does. On a lot of the ones you’re talking about when I’m walling off and mirroring him, he’s not really giving me a defined read I’m just trying to stay in front of them. And don’t let the running back see color (defender), because if he sees color he’s gotta cutback. You’re not making the decision for the running back. When I tear him over, ‘you called it a hip toss,’ it’s a lot of times on an A-gap zone where they’re coming right off my butt. And being able to tear them (DL) past the read spot of the ball opens up that lane. It’s usually when I feel the defender going that way, I just use his momentum against him and take him where he wants to go and run him past the ball.
DN: You started nine games at guard in 2018 (right guard) and started three games at guard (left) in 2019. The ability to play all three interior line positions after measuring in at 6’2, 304. You put NFL offensive line coaches in a better spot there, right?
McGough: Yeah, that’s one thing that’s super important. Especially nowadays in the NFL is being able to swing. All it does is put more stuff on your resume’. You can’t really say I only play one position unless you’re that veteran in the league. A rookie coming in you’ve got to have multiple positional abilities. I can say I only play center but there’s a guy behind me who plays right guard but also plays center. Well that opens up another spot on the roster if I’m not on it.
DN: The toughest opponent you went against in school?
McGough: I’d have to say the University of Miami (Fla.).
DN: Best football player you’ve played with?
DN: Come on Shane we’ve got to give you some tough questions…
McGough: It’s probably messed up if I didn’t say it was my brother (Alex).
DN: What’s the best thing you learned from him?
McGough: He’s shown me a lot about defenses. How to pick up or read if its four-down, three-down (defensive fronts). In high school, that was a little complicated to me.
DN: The number one center you’ve studied in the NFL.
McGough: I’ve watched a lot of Jason Kelce (Eagles) film. Cause he’s kind of got the same measurables as I do.
DN: What about A.Q. Shipley?
McGough: Yeah, I’ve watched him. We talk about him a lot with my agent and trainer. He’s another guy whose kind of got the same measurables. It’s always good to watch a guy tat’s similar to you because he uses similar technique you need to use to do your job effectively.
DN: Your number one goal a year from now, what would it be?
McGough: Just to get an opportunity to play. That’s all I can ask for. You want to shoot high but at the end of the day it only takes one team to take a chance on you, whether that’s getting drafted, getting an invite or signing free agency. Just to be on a team and getting the opportunity to play again.
DN: Really enjoyed getting a chance to catch up with you.
McGough: Absolutely. Appreciate it.
DN: Have a safe rest of the year and good luck in the 2021 NFL Draft.
McGough: Thanks, you too.