Catching up with Big Barry

During his time at Clemson, big Barry Richardson was an enormous part of all the offensive success the Tigers experienced ... literally.

The 2007 first team All-ACC offensive lineman completed his eligibility that same year and was a sixth round pick of Kansas City in the 2008 NFL Draft.

As a rookie with the Chiefs, Richardson's playing time up-front was somewhat sparse, but he did eventually emerge as a solid contributor on special teams.

Now in 2009, he finds himself with a new coach in Todd Hailey and also with a new starting quarterback, Matt Cassel. It's clearly a time of big changes in K.C. and that's just fine with Richardson.

After a rookie year where he soaked up all he could from veteran teammates, he is clearly ready to show what he learned a year ago. And while he is sure to continue playing special teams, this year could see him break into the rotation on the offensive line.

Recently caught up with this former Tiger by phone and here's what he had to say:

Barry let's talk first about your time at Clemson. What was it like for you?
Richardson: I really enjoyed my time at Clemson. It was a good experience. I got to play with some great people there. As I look back on it, I know we didn't win a national championship, but it was good when we won. I enjoyed playing with those guys. I miss it but I had to move on.

Were you surprised that you became a starter almost right away?
Richardson: No, I didn't think they would give me shot that I deserved. When I first came in, there was another guy in front of me, Cory Lambert, who was a five-star recruit in front of me. They gave me a shot, threw me in there and I took it. I thought it would take a while before I actually played. I knew I would play but never thought it would be that quick.

Being a native of the Palmetto State, what was it like facing off with South Carolina every year?
Richardson: It was great. I liked the rivalry. Every time we went out there, you get the best from them. It felt good winning. You got some bragging rights every year. I appreciate it because when I go home, people know me and the ones who like South Carolina don't have much to say because we won.

How did you like playing for Coach Bowden?
Richardson: I respect him. He was a good coach when I was there. They weren't winning and that's part of the game. If you're not winning, no matter how much people like you, that is the name of the game. He's a good coach. I think he'll do well. He'll get another job somewhere.

What was your first year like in the NFL?
Richardson: My first year was a learning experience. I was behind Damion McIntosh and this is his 10th season now. He has taught me a lot about the game. I've been improving ever since I got under his wing. He showed me how to improve my blocking technique and little things to make me a better player. I have just soaked up everything he has taught me. Brian Waters has also taught us a lot, all of us on the o-line. Hopefully it will pay off in the future.

"I really enjoyed my time at Clemson. It was a good experience. I got to play with some great people there. As I look back on it, I know we didn't win a national championship, but it was good when we won." (AP)

How do you like it in Kansas City?
Richardson: I had no idea where I was going (before the draft). When they picked me, I didn't know much about the city. I had a cousin who was from here and that's about all I knew about it. He told me about the barbecue and that's about it. I had no idea about the weather, how cold it gets and how it changes every five minutes from raining to sunny. But I got used to it this past off-season. It's been all right up here. I like it.

What has been the biggest adjustment for you to the pro game?
Richardson: It's more about the tempo or the speed of the game. It's not really the speed, but the tempo. It's more about calling sets, getting plays ran and back to the huddle for the next play. There is no break in between and in college, we had a lot of breaks. We would run a play. Then they had to set the ball and move the chains, which would take forever. The games would drag on very long. It's not like that in the league.

You played some special teams last year. How did you like that?
Richardson: Now that was a new experience. I was never on the wedge in college but it's rough out there. I'm not going to lie but it‘s pretty tough playing in the wedge. It was a new experience and it got me on the field. I enjoyed it.

What one quality you think every successful NFL offensive lineman has to have.
Richardson: I think No. 1, you have to stay healthy and two, you've got to have that toughness. You've got to be able to stick it out and dominate that person in front of you for four quarters. I watch Byron Watters when he's out there on the field and he's holding his own. Whether the score is 50-0 or whatever, he's out there demolishing guys every time.

How do you feel about the coaching change with the Chiefs?
Richardson: This is my first coaching change in my career, but from what I've seen so far, we're on the right track. Who knows what this year will bring for us? If we work hard and everybody is on the winning path thinking that we can do it, I think we could go deep into the playoffs.

Has your off-season preparation changed at all?
Richardson: No, I've always been a good worker in the off-season. I know that your training in the off-season can make or break your performance in season, so I look at it as the most important time in my career, the off-season. You have to get healthy and get your strength back because during the season, you get beat up pretty bad and the off-season is all you have to get back to the level that you should play at. Top Stories