Interview: Brett Romberg

Brett Romberg is the returning anchor on this year's offensive line. He talks about his career at Miami and also looks ahead to the 2002 campaign. He also lets us in on what brought him to Miami all the way from Windsor, Ontario and talks about his first meeting with Art Kehoe while at a high school camp. He also touches on some interesting experiences he's had outside of football.

Talk about your leadership role this year
I want to lead the whole team, not just the offensive line. I want to take them with me. In drills this spring I would stay after my reps and help teach and encourage other players. I won the leadership award after spring practice which was good because I want to be one of the leaders of this team.

Who stepped it up this spring on the OL?
Joe McGrath. He did really well, I think he worked very hard and he is going to contribute a lot this season for us.

Players outside of the OL?
Leon Williams is going to be awesome. I talked to Vince [Wilfork] about him and Vince told me the defense was doing some inside running drills and Leon came in and did his reps and got pulled and did something wrong and got chewed out a little bit and got back in and made nine straight tackles. He just dominated the drill I guess and guys were just in awe of him blowing up play after play. I'm looking forward to seeing him playing here in the coming years. I also think Roscoe Parrish played very well, he really looked great out there. Kellen Winslow is another one. I think he is already a better run blocker than Shockey was so we are in very good shape there.

Talk about your goals for 2002
I really want to repeat. It has never been done here with all of the great teams we've had. We have a lot of big games and a lot of tests and that is what I want. Last year this team had a shared vision, we were extremely focused on winning. For me personally, I just want to stay healthy. This is actually the first time I've gone through spring practice completely healthy.

You talked about the focus of last year, compare it to this year
We are actually even more focused. It is incredible. We are working even harder than last year at this time, I just can't believe it. Our very first day of summer workouts we ran 24 110 yards sprints with a 90 second break between each run. We had to finish each sprint in less than 16 seconds. And after we completed these sprints and everyone was about dead, then we went in and lifted! We also made a pact as a team that we get together on every off day (Sunday) and work out. We work out every Sunday at 6:30 for an hour and a half and we run six 110 yards sprints and then we stretch and work out in position groups. We have 65 players doing this and that is the best participation we have had here and the dedication is incredible. We have guys that live in Homestead 45 minutes away that drive here on Sunday morning to work out on their only day off!

Are the coaches pushing you harder at this point compared to last year?
Yes, definitely. Especially the younger players. The coaches and seniors on the team both have an attitude to push the young guys. We're like ‘You've got a ring, but you haven't done anything yet. We won that ring and you need to step up this year and earn yours.' I think we're getting under their skin and they are pretty pissed off and playing very hard and trying to prove themselves.

Talk about the differences in playing under Butch Davis and Larry Coker
Butch is a business man. If you need something fixed or done you call him and he'll get it done. Coach Coker is almost a friend out there. There isn't anything I wouldn't do for the guy. They are very different but in the end they get the same results.

Talk about coach Kehoe
He makes every day pleasant. On those grueling hot days you hear his loud mouth telling you it isn't that hot or it isn't that bad. The guy just lives and breathes this place. They'll end up burying him at Greentree when he dies. He epitomizes everything about Miami.

What is your opinion on the 2001 OL being the best ever here?
It is the best Miami has had so far in my opinion. We just had the utmost confidence out there that we could do what we wanted, when we wanted.

What is your take on how the excellent DL we have will prepare the OL this year?
Our defensive line runs things three times faster than half of the teams we'll play. I think our defensive scout team will be better than a lot of the teams we will face. The young guys will learn fast and they have to with the schedule we have this year. I think a defense like we have will only help our offensive line get better.

So what brought you to Miami from Canada?
I have no idea really. Growing up in the Windsor area I heard all about Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and others but not Miami. I was at the University of Windsor St. Dennis Center which is like an indoor track and we had a summer football camp there and this short pudgy guy is walking around saying "Miami." I'd look behind me and he'd be gone and then later I'd here "Miami" and finally asked myself ‘who the hell keeps saying that?' That was my first meeting with Arthur Francis. After that camp I watched Scarface and Miami Vice and thought I could envision myself down there in the nice weather. Then one day I was out shoveling my driveway and just told myself that I had enough of that crap and I called and committed. Along with the great climate I wanted to get away too. Going to Michigan or Michigan State wasn't ‘going away to college' to me. I wanted to be a big boy and really ‘go away' someplace far and be on my own. It's been the best decision I've ever made.

What are you majoring in?
I graduated in December with a degree in Business and Sports Management and am now taking graduate courses.

What are your goals for the NFL?
I just want to be the first center picked. I follow it some already and see that a lot of veteran centers have their contracts coming up so I think that bodes well for me.

Any preferred teams?
I am a Steelers fan mainly because of Greg Lloyd. If I could go there it would be excellent but if not then obviously I'll do my best wherever I go.

What are you currently at for height and weight?
I am 6-3 and 293 pounds right now and just ran a 4.31 shuttle less than a month ago. I feel great.

Talk about your strengths and weaknesses in your eyes
I feel pretty good about my athletic ability. I have quick feet and good balance that allows me to get away with some things. I think my weakness is more my attitude than anything else. I spend a lot of time with Zach Thomas [MLB of the Dolphins] and he always tells me that the toughest centers for him to face aren't necessarily the physical ones but the nasty ones. He says I'm not out there to make any friends and he is right. This year my main goal is to be the nastiest SOB I can (laughing). I just want to make people miserable out there.

Outside of the national title, what is one experience you'll take away with you?
I'd say the Florida State game in 2000. The whole game, not just the final drive. I lost 14 pounds in that game and had four IVs and didn't feel a thing. I was in a total zone the entire game and didn't even hear the crowd at all.

What do you like to do away from football?
I am really into music. I play lead guitar and the drums and if I'm not writing music or practicing I'm usually listening to it. I was at Zetafest this spring and it was incredible because I was able to go backstage and meet a lot of bands. I spent time with Tool, Adema, Puddle of Mud, Kid Rock and Pamela Anderson, Rob Zombie, Earshot and others. I spent the most time with members of Adema and Puddle of Mud and it was really weird. They were all happy to meet me because I was a football player so I played it cool but inside my heart was racing as I just idolize a lot of these guys. I introduced Rob Zombie when he came out and that was awesome. It was just a great time hanging out with these people in their tour buses.

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