Dunford's Deep 20: Bartley Webb

According to recruiting expects, Notre Dame offensive line commit Bartley Webb is blessed with great technique. But what does that mean? In this addition of Dunford's Deep Twenty, Webb answers that very question with precision and eloquence. Additionally, he reflects on what life will be like blocking for fellow Notre Dame commit James Aldridge, offers Notre Dame fans a glimpse into Arkansas high school football, and says why he created a personal website.

Dunford: What is the Notre Dame fan base like in Arkansas?

Webb: Well, I know a few people in this area that are Notre Dame fans. Obviously, there are more Razorback fans here, but the Notre Dame fan base is much wider. Actually, I know a few people on the football team that are ND fans.

Dunford: Describe Arkansas and where you live?

Webb: The area I live in is the Ozark Mountain area. It's not like the Rocky Mountain area, but there are big hills and a lot of trees. When you get to the eastern side of the state it is mostly flat farm land. Basically, it's the combination of the two.

Dunford: How would you describe the football atmosphere in Arkansas?

Webb: Well, football is the state sport, just like it is in Texas. So, the atmosphere at high school games is unbelievable. We fill up the stands with as many people as we can put in there, they're all screaming. We have about 2500 people in our school, and our student section is pretty much full each and every game. Pretty much everyone comes to the game. It's first come first serve. In my mind, it's the best football school in the state. Then you've got the Razorback fans. You've got your tailgaters, people who campout and bring their RVs, and your diehard fans.

Dunford: Did you feel any pressure to stay instate and play football?

Webb: Um, sort of. There were a few people that wanted all five of us to stay instate. But a majority of people understood that I had to make a decision from an individual standpoint. Most people accepted my decision once I made it.

Dunford: You have a website. Why did you create one?

Webb: Actually, my parents put it together. My mother is a teacher. She teaches computers so she knows a lot about how to do those things. My father is the president of the Chamber of Commerce, so he also knows about computers.

Dunford: It's an awesome website. When did you get it up and running? Did you create it to promote yourself?

Webb: It got up and running right at the end of my junior season. Basically, I did it for people who happen to show interest in me. That way they could get a lot of information on me and see game footage of me. Basically, I wanted to make it easier on them. Plus, it's a promotional deal.

Dunford: On your website you have some video clips of you working out at a strength and conditioning facility. Talk about how you've grown both physically and mentally through that program.

Webb: Well, I started working with him during basketball season during my sophomore year. I worked out with him from 6-7:30 at night for 4-5 times per week. The way we work I don't just lift and do running, we work on my quickness, running form, and lifting techniques. So physically I became stronger. Mentally, when I would do the exercises I would rest afterwards. When I was resting he would talk one-on-one with me. What this was doing was building my confidence.

Dunford: The ladder drills. How does that drill help you in football?

Webb: Well, one thing he's always told me is that football is 80% east and west and 20% north and south. That comes with pass blocking when you have to move your feet. Then on the run blocking you have to move side to side. You don't want heavy feet when you're doing those things.

Dunford: Experts say you have great technique? What does it mean to have great technique at the offensive tackle position?

Webb: Well, you block a certain way to run block and you block a certain way when you pass block. Run blocking technique is more natural, but pass blocking technique is not natural. When someone is running at you and you have to pass block, you want to explode into them. But you can't that. You have to use your hands to keep his away, and let him go where you want them to go, not where they want to go.

Dunford: You block for an elite high school quarterback. What have you learned from that experience that other offensive lineman, that might have lesser skilled quarterbacks, may not have learned?

Webb: Basically I've learned that Mitch is really good. I'll be honest with you, he's made me look really good at times. His ability to step up in the pocket and read defenses at the same time is amazing. I know where he is going to be whenever I take a pass set.

Dunford: I did this type of interview with James Aldridge roughly two months ago. I asked him who he would like to have block for him at Notre Dame. Immediately he said your name. How did you two meet each other?

Webb: You know, to be perfectly honest we with you, we met each other at the Blue and Gold game. We've talked a couple of times since then, but we haven't really stayed in touch with each other that much. I've gotten some e-mails from him and I've e-mailed him back, but we don't talk every week.

Dunford: Have you watched any tape on James? What do you think of him?

Webb: I have, and I can't wait t block for him. He's unbelievable.

Dunford: Other than James, have you had any contact with any of the other Notre Dame commitments?

Webb: I've e-mailed Zach Frazer a couple of times. It's nothing really extreme; just trying to contact him and get a relationship started. I know what once we have all finished our football seasons, and it's time to start focusing on Notre Dame football, the talking will takeoff.

Dunford: You are the sole offensive lineman that has committed to the Irish. What other offensive line recruits do you think highly of and would like to see follow you to Notre Dame?

Webb: Really, I haven't really given that much thought. I guess any offensive lineman they've offered would be good. We've loved for all of them to jump on board.

Dunford: Were you being recruited by Notre Dame at this time last year? Was Notre Dame even an option?

Webb: You know, I can't say I was. I was actually kind of blown away at the interest that came around, and once Notre Dame offered, I was like, "Oh, wow, Notre Dame offered." After that I said to myself that that's a place I really needed to check out. And once I did, I fell in love.

Dunford: Talk about your school. How big is it? What is your favorite subject?

Webb: Like I said before, my school has around 2500 students. We've got three buildings—a history building, an English building, and a main building that holds math, science, and some other classrooms. Attached to the main building is the cafeteria and the basketball gym. The end zone of your football stadium is actually by the history building. The stands where our band sits are almost on top of the history building.

My favorite subject is American history. I can't really explain why I like American history, and whenever I tell people that I like it, they look at me and say, "what".

Dunford: What do you plan on majoring in?

Webb: I plan on going into coaching, and if I coach at the high school level, teaching history

Dunford: Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Webb: Coaching, hopefully at the college level. If that doesn't work out, teaching history, American history, and coaching the offensive line at the high school level.

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