Mwamba on Sapp, Steak and "21 Questions"

Senior defensive lineman Patrice Majondo-Mwamba is more than a stone's throw from home. The Brussels, Belgium transplant was born in French speaking Congo and has only played organized football for the last few years. He came to Texas Tech by way of Hartnell Junior College in Salinas, California, where he made a name for himself as a JUCO Top 100.

Senior defensive lineman Patrice Majondo-Mwamba is more than a stone's throw from home. The Brussels, Belgium transplant was born in French speaking Congo and has only played organized football for the last few years. He came to Texas Tech by way of Hartnell Junior College in Salinas, California, where he made a name for himself as a JUCO Top 100.

His cousin (and former Red Raider teammate) Loliki Bongo-Wanga inspired him to take up the game, as well as a chance encounter with NFL superstar Warren Sapp four years ago in Miami.

"That's the kind of player I'd like to be- always ready. He's the best player. He talks a lot and shows a lot. I had a chance to meet him before I even started playing. I didn't even know who he was. I just knew he was a superstar," said Mwamba on Sapp.

Mwamba is known for his strength. He benches 410, power cleans 315 and squats 600.

"I'm stronger than a lot of the people I play against, but they beat me in some plays because they reacted faster," he said. The game is faster than many JUCO's and incoming freshman anticipate, but last season's young defensive line is more prepared following a productive offseason.

Strength and Conditioning Coach Bennie Wylie helped Mwamba improve further during the offseason, especially on footwork.

"After spring break I was 307. Now I'm down to 285. I'm lighter, quicker, stronger. We're lucky to have Bennie here," he said.

"Whatever he asks us to do, he does it with us. When he's asking us to push the wall, he's pushing the wall with us. As a coach he doesn't have to be doing that. He's brought us together more than people would actually think- mentally he challenges us a lot," Mwamba added.

Having team leaders Adell Ducket and Mike Smith on defense has also made a big difference.

"Adell Duckett is one of the best defensive ends in the nation. He pushes us- he's the first one around and the last to go," he said.

"Mike Smith is a great guy. Those two are our leaders. They lead by example. Talk is cheap," said Mwamba.

The defense has a few goals as a unit this season. Obviously the first is giving up fewer yards. Another goal is keeping opposing running backs to under one-hundred yards per game.

"We have the potential to dominate every team we play against. We're going to do something big this year. We have the best defensive player in the nation and one of the best quarterbacks coming out," he added.

Mwamba has been anticipating the Texas and Oklahoma games throughout the offseason. "Thinking about them motivates me every day."

A few of his favorite memories from last season include putting hits on UT's Vince Young. "We hit him pretty hard."

Teammate Chris Hudler also had a favorite memory from last season, one in which Patrice is pegged as the biggest smack talker on the line during the Colorado game.

"It was funny because their center spoke French, so they were going back and forth in French. I can only imagine what they were saying to each other, and the referees had no idea either," Hudler said.

Mwamba's pre-game rituals include listening to 50-Cent's "21 Questions." He also enjoys the Backstreet Boys. "Very chill- nothing too crazy."

Here's a few of his favorite things…

Interning at the Boys and Girls Club this summer, watching Andy Dick's MTV reality television show "The Assistant," and ending a day full of training, school and work with a big steak at Café J.


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