Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2006 | Five questions for Chargers Pro Bowl special teams player Kassim Osgood:

Who is your pick to win the Super Bowl?

Indianapolis. Peyton Manning is on fire, and he’s hungry. He’s been waiting so long to win it. I think he’s going to make a statement when he gets there.

What is the offseason mindset of the Chargers players after being upset by the New England Patriots in the AFC Playoffs? Also, how will the team adjust to changes on the coaching staff and roster changes that may develop?

You take the pain from that loss and you put it in your back pocket. Then you go off and enjoy your time off. When March comes around, you’re back at it. Next season will be here sooner than you think. When that first game comes, you pull that hurt out of your back pocket, remember it and use it as motivation to succeed.

We learned about how to handle the pressure of a big game. Some guys were wide-eyed. We need to focus, concentrate and relax a little bit so we can do what we did all season.

Basically, we want to keep our nucleus as much as possible. We want to keep the guys who were in there for the majority of the plays and then build around them. You fill in the spots that might be vacant. We’ll be a good team again next season. Right now it’s about understanding what we did wrong, how can we fix and when we come back we’ll strive for perfection.

You’re a San Diego State alumnus (Osgood and J.R. Tolver both caught passes for 1,000 yards in 2002, setting an NCAA record for most yards by two receivers) and you’ve met Coach Chuck Long. How do you feel about the program’s future as Long prepares for his second season?

I think he’ll be successful. He just needs time to gets his methodology established with players that are now his players. What encourages me is he’s a relaxed coach, and he’s getting a feel for his players and his talent. He knows now what he can and what he can’t do with his talent. I think he learned a lot about what he can do next year. Everything I hear about him is he has a very positive mindset about what he wants to achieve here.

Your football offseason also is your season for acting. You were in the movie “We Were Soldiers” and recently appeared in MTV’s Short Circuits. What’s this time of year like for you as an actor and why are you pursuing it as a career?

It’s audition time for me now. You go out there to as many auditions as possible to play as many roles as you can to try and get your name out there. Once you’re out there, they can say they like you for this look or they like you for that. You harass your agent to get you into auditions. It’s fun and it’s a challenge. It’s sort of like football. Only a select few get in, and once you get in you’ve got to make a name for yourself.

You came down to the Hall of Champions Sunday, and we had a full house as you presented All-CIF certificates to San Diego high school boys and girls athletes in the fall sports season. Repeat for voiceofsandiego.org readers what your message was to kids who might have been disappointed they didn’t make All-CIF first team instead of second team or for kids who might be rest on the laurels for awards they’ve won in high school.

Sometimes we can get distracted by awards that we can receive. What’s more important is to look at the success of your team. How good is your team and what did I do to contribute to my team’s success? Don’t let awards overshadow the team. Individual awards will come if you have the talent and everyone else will know you have the talent. Sometimes receiving an award doesn’t give you the same satisfaction as your parents saying you had a good season or your coaches and teammates telling you we couldn’t have won without you. All-CIF awards don’t foretell the future. You have to continue to work hard and strive for your goals no matter what awards you won or didn’t win.

Tom Shanahan is voiceofsandiego.org’s sports columnist. He is the media coordinator for the San Diego Hall of Champions. You can e-mail him at toms@sdhoc.com. Or send a letter to the editor.

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