March 20, 2013

Combine: Cauchy Muamba knows what it takes

TORONTO — With the 2013 CFL Draft fast approaching, this weekend’s combine in Toronto marks one final chance for draft day hopefuls to make a statement in front of scouts, coaches, and general managers.

Prospects will participate in various athletic tests that include the 40-yard dash and the bench press, while also being tested in one-on-one drills along with player interviews.

Muambas at the Combine

As part of’s ongoing coverage of the 2013 CFL Combine, brothers Henoc and Cauchy Muamba of the Bombers will be teaming up with us to bring you the latest news, inside information and analysis that Combine Weekend has to offer.

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Yet, as recently-signed Winnipeg Blue Bombers safety Cauchy Muamba explains, there’s more to the CFL combine than just showing up and trying to turn heads.

“It takes a lot of time to train for that,” says Muamba, set to enter his fourth season in the league. The 5-foot-11, 196-pound native of Kinshasa, Congo was drafted 34th overall in the 2010 draft after playing CIS ball for St. Francis Xavier.

Reflecting on his experience training for and participating in the combine, he’s quick to point out that mental preparation is just as important as physical strength.

“You have to be mentally prepared in terms of being in the room and on the bench while all the coaches are watching because all eyes are on you when you’re in there,” he says.

Muamba started training for the combine just weeks after his college season ended, focusing not only on the finer details of drills, but also how to deal with the pressure of being under a magnifying glass.

“It’s as if the time slows down and everything stops and all eyes are on you, so you’ve got to be mentally prepared for that,” he recalls. “One thing I did when I was preparing for that is when I was in the weight room my music stopped and I’d get as many people as I could around me while I’m doing it, just to simulate that same atmosphere.”

When it finally came time to strut his stuff, his morning consisted of going through the bench; jumping; and running the 40 in his head in order to be prepared mentally.

“The way I did it was pretty good,” says Muamba. “I got good results and it was pretty much just being mentally focused and physically focused and just being prepared.”

While those kinds of tests along with one-on-one drills are tricky enough, one of the biggest things Muamba says some prospects overlook is the interview process.

“It’s the most important thing that the coaches always look at,”he says. “It’s not all about everything you can do on the field but also how you respond to the questions that they ask.”

“You just have to be ready for all types of questions that they can ask you, like strengths and weaknesses and what you can bring to the team.”

Of course the biggest thing, Muamba continues, is to avoid lying.

“The coaches know everything,” he says. “You get in trouble and they ask you, just say ‘yes I did’ they always know everything so don’t lie, be straight forward and just be honest.”

With May’s draft in sight and the pressure mounting for prospects to make one final impression, Muamba offers up one final reminder to this year’s participants: no single drill or test is the be all end all when it comes to player evaluation.

“You have to remember that what you did during the season applies a lot,” points out Muamba. “Your stock can still be good because of the season that you had, or the interview you had with them and how you answer the questions.”

“That’s one thing I can say — if you do bad in one event it doesn’t mean anything.”