Coach's Corner: Stephen Barrera

One of the biggest lands in the Aggie 2009 offensive line class may be Stephen Barrera, who has never before played on the offensive side of the ball. Still, his head football coach had great things to say about his future at Texas A&M.

Do you have Stephen's numbers on the defensive side of the ball for the year?

"Stephen finished with 47 tackles, 29 of them solo, 2.5 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 forced fumble, and 8 tackles for loss this year."

Barrera has been told by the A&M coaches that he will be moved to the offensive side of the ball, is that correct?

"Yep, he will be somewhere along the offensive line, which should be a good fit for him."

Has he ever played offensive line for you?

"No, he's always been defense, but he has a real good head on his shoulders so I'm sure he can make the transition."

What abilities has he shown that makes you confident that he can make the switch?

"Well first of all he's just a physical specimen. He's probably right at 300 pounds and he doesn't have a belly on him at all. He's coming in at 6'5" or 6'6", so he should make for a good tackle at the next level. Also, since he's been on defense he has amazing hands. His hands are the best part about his game right now, and that will help him on offense as well. Also his footwork is excellent as it has to be on defense."

What will be the biggest thing to work on to make a quick impact at A&M?

"It's always going to be hard to make an impact very early on, but he has all the tools to do it. The biggest thing will be, of course, just learning the offensive side of the game. He has an edge because he knows what the defense would do, but he has to get used to seeing it from that side. He's very smart, and he's very camp savvy, as we call it, he's been to a lot of camps, so he'll do well."

Could you talk about his leadership skills?

"He's been voted captain two times now, and at first we weren't sure of the type of leader he would be, but over the course of time he's really come out of his shell this year. He loves playing with other kids that are highly touted, so he is a good example to the kids of what to do."

When you say he loves playing with highly touted recruits, do you mean against them, as in he likes a challenge?

"Yes exactly. We were playing Jersey Village last year, against one of their top offensive linemen [Rice commit Bobby Janisch] and he had one of his best games against him. Also this year he went up against [2010 highly prized recruit Chad Lindsay] from The Woodlands, and he did very well too. I would say he rises to the occasion against tougher guys."

Has there been a play or set of plays that was a good indicator of the physicality A&M saw when they offered him?

"There have been several. On a lot of plays this year he's used his strength to just throw people off him, I mean like really throw them. Also, we'd be able to do so much with him. We'd have him in the nose guard, and put him as a spy, and he'd be out making tackles on the sideline. He has that special combination of size and speed."

How is he in the classroom?

"He's fine there. A&M will have no worries about his academics."

How excited is he to come to A&M?

"He's still excited. You know A&M struggled this year, but he's still happy. His mom and his dad both went there, so he's ready to become an Aggie."

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