Interview with Mark Hopkins

"Over the years, I have noticed that we have pulled together and become more of a football team instead of football players. Our workouts are more intense and our work ethic is much better." - Mark Hopkins

Q. How is everything going for you these days following spring training?
Pretty good. Glad the spring semester is over. I just got my tonsils out about a week ago, but I'm almost fully recovered from that. I'm just working as a substitute teacher and doing some promotions for a company called, "Eight Days a Week." Just trying to keep busy and make some money.

Q. During the spring you were moved to big slot and at this time we only have you and Steve Cucci this coming fall, so this enhances your playing time. Your thoughts?
Yes, I was moved to big slot the first day of spring practice. At first it was a shock because I didn't really know the position since I had been learning Wide Receiver. After talking with the coaches, watching some film and learning more about big slot I realized that it's were I fit best. I think I'll have a great chance to help the team playing big slot. I have the size strength, speed, and hands to be able to play that position effectively.

After I was moved, I came down with mono, which took me out of practice for about two weeks and I missed the spring game. I'm better now and am looking forward to getting back out there. I don't think I've ever really looked forward to two-a-days, until now.

Q. What is your role in that position and how many throws will you guys get in a game?
I'm going to play big slot and a little backside TE. I'm going to go in motion some, shift around, block on roll-out passes sometimes, go out sometimes. Coach Spradlin told me spring was just the basics, that we haven't even scratched the surface of how they use the big slot. As for how many balls we get per game, well if it was up to me, I'd say about 15, but it's not, so you'll have to ask the coaches.

Q. What is your take on the new offense?
I think it's quick striking; it has the ability to score any time. I think it's going to be different than anything any team has seen.

Q. What is your impression of the defense following spring training?
I don't really know but I'm sure they are going to be better then last year!!

Q. From a fan standpoint, there seemed to be more organization and discipline this spring. Were the assignments limited or were ya'll working with the majority of the playbook?
It was a limited playbook; we wanted to put some plays in and rep. them over and over until we executed them perfectly.

Q. Tell us about the changes in the program since you came in the class of 2000.
Over the years, I have noticed that we have pulled together and become more of a football team instead of football players. Our workouts are more intense and our work ethic is much better than in 2000.

Q. What about the North Shore connection at UofH? Have you talked to Coach Aymond lately?
North Shore puts out top athletes every year. I'm sure we'll see many more in the years to come! As a matter of fact I've seen Coach Aymond several times lately. I saw him getting his hair cut the other day and we talked about what was going on with me and the new North Shore team. I told him I was going into teaching and coaching and he told me that I have a job waiting on me at North Shore when I get out. I also went out to watch spring ball and this could be their year!

Q. What are your personal and team goals stepping onto the field as a RS-JR?
My goal is to be the "go to guy" on down and to play a big role on special teams.

Q. Do you have any problems with your ankle and the plate? Speed, swelling or affects from cold weather?
No, it's as good as new!

Q. Tell our fans a little about our new head coach, Art Briles.
Coach Briles a great coach. He is hard working, dedicated to his job and to us. He's the kind of guy that when he talks, you can't help but listen and want to do what he says.

Q. What do you want to say to the CoogFans today?
I wish I could say, "Send money," College is expensive and a scholarship doesn't cover it all. But since I can't say that, on a more serious note, I'll say, "Thanks for all your support and interest in the Coogs over the years. It really means a lot to the players, even if you don't get much feedback from us. Many of the players read the postings and it really helps to know all of you are such dedicated fans. Keep supporting us and we're looking forward to giving you an exciting season in '03!"

Since Mark first stepped foot on the UofH campus he has gone about his business in a very mature way. He is an excellent student, very intelligent young man and does the things that makes the team better. He is what I call a foundation player. Mark will make a great coach, and I was thrilled to read this interview and find he has that inclination. We need more Coogs out there in the coaching profession. Good luck to Mark this fall. I think we will be seeing a lot of him this season. #86


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