"On the Spot" with CB Richard Sherman [#9]

We caught up with the infectiously enthusiastic and always fun Richard Sherman, who is providing the 2009 Cardinal with tremendous flexibility as a three-way player. One of our most gifted pigskin playmakers, Sherman is transferring his considerable skills over to the secondary where he and his fellow defensive backs hope to shut down opposing wide receivers and help our team to the post-season.

"On the Spot" with CB/WR/PR Richard Sherman [#9]

The Bootleg's "Emeritus" spent a few minutes after practice Wednesday with two-way standout senior Richard Sherman, who is slated to be one of the starting corners when the Cardinal suits up in Pullman to take on the Cougars in a couple of weeks. For the record, Sherman is one of our very favorite interviews and his love of the game bursts forth like a gushing oil well and always has.

On-Field, Post-Practice Interview on August 12, 2009

The Bootleg: We are here with senior cornerback/wide receiver/punt returned Richard Sherman. Richard, first of all, how are you feeling? It sure looks like you have changed your body a little bit to get ready to play corner!

Richard Sherman: Yeah, working out a little more, eating a little more. I have probably gained 10-15 pounds, depending on which day you catch me. During the offseason, I was trying to bulk up so I could play both ways and return punts, try to help this team win. You have got to be big enough to do it.

TB: Are you feeling a little more "durable"?

RS: Definitely more durable  - and my knees are feeling great. I am feeling like I have great 'wind', just got to acclimate to the pass, that sort of thing. I think I have acclimated to defense pretty well, just trying to get out there and help.

TB: Speaking of acclimating to defense, have you been "accepted" socially by the defensive guys as one of their own now?

RS: Oh yeah, yeah! It took a while during spring for everybody to get used to seeing me on the defensive side, but after a while, they have accepted it and we are starting to meld well together, everybody is out there trying to have fun, trying to win.

TB: You and #2 [fellow corner Corey Gatewood] have the "all-hair-team" thing going on for the corners...Are we right in thinking you fellas have developed a little confidence out there with the presentation of a bit of new look for the Cardinal corners?

RS: Definitely, definitely. Corners have to have confidence. We play out there on an island, you play with some of the best athletes on the field, you've got to have confidence to play with them. You've got to believe you can do what that other man does better than he does, to get interceptions, PBUs (pass break-ups), things like that - so we have to have some swagger, all the DBs, that's what we're bringin'!

TB: Now that you are on the other side, what about your "short-term memory"? Can you shake off a mistake? You are an emotional guy! We don't want to see you gettin' beaten deep and not being able to bounce back...

RS: (Laughing) No, no. I manage to shake it off pretty well, I mean, I try not to get beat too often, not that it never happens, but when it does, I walk up to the line for the next play and "come with it".

TB: We all remember your high-step hurdling during that terrific return against TCU last season - if we get a pick from Richard Sherman, unless the situation calls for sitting down with it, can we assume we'll see some big returns?

RS: (Lighting up, even in the scorching morning sun) Oh YES! I am trying to go "sunkissed 60" - all our DBs are! [Note: #33 Quinn Evans produced a nice "pick-six" at practice today] We are going to block for each other. Anyone catches one, we are going to try and destroy the offense all the way to the end zone!

TB: How much corner did you play in high school at Dominguez?

RS: I played both ways my junior and senior year - so I have played a lot of corner.

TB: You still have some of those same instincts, this is not entirely new to you at all?

RS: Not at all. I really just have to adapt to the coverages because in high school we just played 'cover-one', cover-one with a deep safety, we had some great athletes. 

TB:  What about goals, obviously you have team goals  - "to win", but you want to be a lock-down guy - have you set specific goals or statistical goals?

RS: It is really hard to set goals, I am just trying to make sure that nobody catches too many balls on me. Trying to make sure we as a defense keep them down to five, maybe six points a game [starts laughing at his own refreshingly ambitious defensive bravado!] You know, the impossible goals that everybody sets, but basically we are trying to "stop" guys cold, trying to hold some of those big-time receivers to low yards.

TB:  You are going up against your own here for the next couple of weeks, we know all of our wide receivers are tough, but name a couple of guys that make you sweat a bit when you see them coming out wide.

RS: (without any hesitation) Well, Ryan Whalen, you always have to bring your A-game with Ryan! You know he is going to catch it, you know he is going to run a crisp route, and you know he's going to be on time. No matter what happens, no matter how you bump him, no matter what, he is going to run a crisp route, he's going to get a great release, he is going to be there on time.

TB: We see Whalen working the doughnut machine on a daily basis - that guy never stops catching balls!

RS: He doesn't drop 'em very often. You have more chance of winning the lotto than seeing Ryan Whalen drop the ball!

TB: You were getting our quarterback Andrew Luck a little confused out there, he is used to seeing you catch the ball - one of his passes seemed directed at you!

RS: (Laughing) Yeah, I think I had him confused on a deep route once. He went deep and there I was, I was a little surprised. I am trying to go both ways (WR/CB) so maybe he got a little confused there on that specific play because I do go on offense from time to time to run a couple of deep routes or short hitches or whatever they have me do. 

TB: Now "Sherman", that is pretty close to the Biblical "Samson", what would happen if you 'shed your dreads'? Would you lose all your power and strength like Samson?

RS: Oh no, no, no, no....but it would definitely confuse a lot of people. I have had 'em since tenth grade so I think a lot of people would be confused and have trouble recognizing me!

TB: So if we are going up against Notre Dame in November with a bowl on the line and we need a big play to win, do you shave 'em off and produce a trick play?

RS: (More laughing!) That would be a trick play - they wouldn't know who I was on the field!

TB: So, you are feeling good and this is really your chance to shine....

RS: Any time you get to play is an opportunity to shine.

TB: And you requested this chance to play corner?

RS: Yes, I always felt I was a better corner than a receiver in the first place. Sure, I wanted the ball, coming out of high school - everybody wants the flashy positions, but now I'm trying to do the best I can.

TB: You aren't conceding the punt return job to anyone, are you? You'll be competing for that too?

RS: Oh yes! I am trying to do everything I can.

TB: Why do we want to see Richard Sherman out there fielding punts? What are you bringing to the table?

RS: (Big smile!) I am bringing a lot of 'highlights', that's what I'm looking for! Hopefully a lot of touchdowns, a lot of return yards. I haven't really done it since high school, but did a pretty good job back then, I took a couple "back" (for TDs). Hopefully that's what I am bringin'.

TB: You haven't lost your "little boy's spirit", your love of the game", have you, Richard?

RS: No, hopefully I NEVER do!

TB: Good luck, we are all looking forward to September 5 and a great season for you and the team.

RS: Thank you very much!

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