During the first two days of the Dallas rookie mini-camp, several of the team's prospective newcomers admitted to being somewhat intimidated the first time the took to the practice field under the watchful eye of head coach Bill Parcells. Coaches who boast a pair of Super Bowl rings can do that to a wide-eyed player.
While he respects his new coach as much as the rest of his new
teammates do, running back Marion Barber doesn't seem indimidated.
"He's a real intense coach -- he motivates us," Barber said of
Parcells. "He's a legend.
"But I think I kind of knew what to expect."
Barber had a bit of an advantage over some of his rookie counterparts,
since his father, Marion Barber II (the Dallas rookie is the third
edition), played in the NFL, serving seven seasons as a running back
with the New York Jets.
"Yeah, my dad kind of gave me a heads-up, told me some of the things to
expect," Barber said, "on the field and off the field."
The biggest advice he got, Barber said, was to pay attention to what
"That was the main thing, to try to listen as much as possible to
everything Coach Parcells says," Barber said. "I mean, you listen to
any coach you play for, but when it's a coach like him, you really
listen to everything.
"My dad played in the NFL, so he's always been like another coach for
me. I haven't had a lot of surprises."
As half of one of the most prolific rushing backfields in the nation
last year at Minnesota, Barber carried the ball 231 times for 1,269
yards and 11 touchdowns while sharing the load with Laurence Maroney,
who also racked up more than 1,000 rushing yards for the Golden Gophers
in 2004. Had Maroney not been around, many feel Barber would have been
one of the premier individual ground-gainers in the nation.
As he arrives in Dallas, Barber is joining a team that already has an
established young starting running back in 2004 rookie Julius Jones,
who surged toward stardom in the second half of the season after
sitting out half the season with a broken shoulder blade. While he
obviously would like to start, Barber said he has no expectations in
terms of playing time.
"Right now, it's not about playing time," Barber said. "It's about how
quick I can adapt to the system, how much I can go over all the
material. I want to make the team, first, and get on the field any way
That willingness to take on other roles likely will come in handy for
Barber, who has joined RB Tyson Thompson and WR Jamaica Rector
returning punts in the the team's rookie mini-camp.
"It doesn't matter what they want me to do -- I'll return kickoffs,
I'll return punts," Barber said. "I want to make this team, and I want
to play for this team."
Marion Barber: Eyes Wide Open
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