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/ FACES Magazine March 2017

Ettore Lattanzio

Ettore Lattanzio made waves in his sophomore season with our Ottawa REDBLACKS. Lattanzio has proven to be a strength on the defensive line, building on his 9 games last season and showing why he won the 2014 J.P. Metras Trophy for top down lineman in Canadian Inter-university Sport. He is among the toughest players on the team, but has a huge heart for the game and a history of being recognized for his success on and off the field.

We caught up with Ettore after his grey-cup win to chat about his season.

 

When did you first get involved in football, and when did it become a real passion of yours?

I started when I was twelve and in grade six to be exact—a little bit later then most of my teammates. My first year was a learning experience… I didn’t know much about football, and I didn’t really watch it prior to playing. I think after my second and third year of playing I started to really get the hang of it. That’s when it became more serious to me.

 

What was your experience like at UOttawa, playing with the
Gee-Gees?

My experience there was bittersweet. I say bitter because there was a lot of turmoil that went on during my time there, unfortunately. A lot of switching of coaches and all that good stuff (laughs). That was a frustrating time because it was hard to get a good consistency going when we were always changing our coaching staff. Overall I loved playing there and I made a lot of great friends and the environment was great. My favourite part was just being able to play with my buddies consistently for 5 years—that was awesome.

 

Which position do you find most challenging and which most enjoyable?

The defensive experience is not as physical as playing tackle, but there’s more mental preparation. You have a couple more reads you have to do. It’s not as much in your face. On the interior line there’s always someone in front of you, whereas on the end there’s times when you might not actually be getting blocked but your reads are different. If you’re not getting blocked, you can’t just get excited and think you can run up the field. You could be out of position. It takes a different type of mentally when you’re playing the edge compared to the inside. I’d say the most mentally challenging position was trying to learn fullback…that was a completely different experience. Physically it wasn’t as difficult, and it wasn’t as taxing, but the offensive side of the ball is a much different game… it’s a lot more cerebral.

 

What did it feel like to be signed by your hometown CFL team, the Ottawa Redblacks, as a free agent July 6th, and who was the first person you called to share the good news with?

It kind of became local news once I was brought back from Winnipeg. As soon as I was signed word got out and people started contacting me. So I really had to spread the word myself (laughs), but it felt great and it was an awesome feeling to be able to once again represent my city and hometown at the next level. I’ve really only ever played in Ottawa so for me it felt right. It’s funny because the Redblacks showed interest in me initially, but everything happens for a reason. Most teams were looking at me as a potential fullback, including Ottawa.

 

But going to Winnipeg was important because that is where we found that it didn’t work out—not for lack of trying—but just because it wasn’t my position. My Winnipeg experience acted as a confirmation for Ottawa to give me a shot as a defensive lineman. They didn’t have to deal with the learning experience, it was already done for them. They just threw me in my position and I was able to excel in it… with the help of great teammates and a great coaching staff.

 

Tell us a little bit about your CFL home game debut with the Redblacks?

The atmosphere was like…like every game—incredible. The fan base here is great. You have a lot of older fans who were here with the Renegades and when the Roughriders were still in town. You have that old school, core fan base, and that is mixed with the newer generation that is coming out. It’s awesome to see the amalgamation of everyone cheering for you, and the fact that I know a couple dozen of the people in the stands is also pretty sweet.

What is your greatest asset as a player?

I’d say my greatest asset is my determination… I’ve always been the one-hundred-mile kind of guy. I’m not the biggest guy, I’m not the tallest guy, and probably not the fastest or overall strongest…but it’s my effort that sets me apart from a lot of other players. Which is probably one of the reasons that I’m still playing my position, even though under standard size.

 

What do you do in your spare time? Any hobbies?

I’m a pretty low-key kind of guy. I love spending time with the fiancé when I can, and I’ll play video games and chill inside on quiet days. I love movies, and I read. I’m actually taking a language course on the side right now. I’m trying to get better at speaking Italian, because my family is Italian. I’m trying not to just be a meathead; you know? (Laughs).

 

What is the general atmosphere like in locker room now?

I speak for every team in professional sports…once you’re near the end of the season, you know it’s crunch time. Everyone’s trying to get as many wins as they can, and the same goes for us. We know we’ve lost a lot of games out there that we could have won. Even though we’re still first in the east right now, we need to solidify that position in our coming games. We’re motivated… everyone knows we’re easily the top dogs in the east. We’re just focusing on continuing in the playoffs and solidifying our positon as the top team in the league.

© Faces Magazine 2016