NFL Draft Q&A With Larry Birdine

After getting great results out of a rotation in 2004, Oklahoma's Larry Birdine missed the 2005 campaign due to injury. He had one year left as a starter to make a statement to NFL scouts. Learn more about him in this exclusive interview with's Ed Thompson.

Ed Thompson: Share some of your impressions from the Combine experience, Larry...

Larry Birdine: It was something I was accustomed to -- a lot of early morning wake-up calls. It had a vibe to it. I think as far as the interviews and the meetings and getting acquainted with the coaches, it was a great time for me.

ET: Did you have any formal interviews where you were face-to-face with any of the head coaches or general managers?

LB: I met with the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks. I met briefly with Romeo Crennel of the Cleveland Browns. They were very business-like. It felt like an interview. They put me on the blackboard to try and see what I knew about playing defense.

ET: Do you think you're projecting strictly as a defensive end in this draft?

LB: No. I played most of my career with my hand down. But I think that I am athletic enough, and given the opportunity, I think I could play a little stand up, outside linebacker in a 3-4.

ET: Did the Patriots talk to you about that?

LB: Definitely. They asked me a couple of questions. Have I played stand up outside linebacker? Have I ever dropped back into coverage? Of course, I haven't really played outside linebacker, but I have been able to drop into coverage and things like that.

ET: What do you think the pro scouts like about the way you approach the game when they look at film?

LB: I think they can tell I have an eye for the ball and ball awareness. I know where the play is going. My motor is constantly running. No one is safe on the field when I am out there as far as the offense goes. They feel I am rangy for a big guy. That's always a plus.

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
ET: One of the stats I saw that was incredibly impressive was that out of your career tackles, about 25% of them were made behind the line of scrimmage...

LB: Tackles for loss, that is what you pride yourself on as a defensive lineman. Basically, it's just whoever gets off the ball fastest and whoever wants it more. Guys are trying to block you and you are just trying to fight off bocks. Fortunately, I was able to get in the backfield and make some tackles.

ET: Favorite moment of your college career looking back?

LB: Favorite moment of my college career was definitely when we were dominating Texas. I just think it was a nice performance as a team by us.

ET: You had to overcome some adversity, tearing your left bicep muscle your junior year. How did you work through that and what did that do to you mentally?

LB: Initially I was down. And the only thing I knew was to be around football. So I would be at practices and try to help out the young guys as much as I could. I was telling them you have to play every play like it's your last. You never know, it might be. It definitely helped me grow as a teammate and leader because those guys kind of looked up to me. It also humbled me from the standpoint I was coming off the great year. We played USC in the championship. I was the guy coming in with all the hype. In camp, it kind of went away when I got injured. I definitely had to go back to work and get myself into the game.

ET: Larry, if I would talk to some of your teammates, what kind of guy do you think they would describe you as in the locker room and as a teammate?

LB: They would say high energy. When it came down to it, I was the guy that would go to bat for them and lay every thing on the line.

ET: When you were meeting with NFL coaches, what did you hope they would learn about you as a person?

LB: I wanted them to know that I am a good person. Good and great players are all out there. But just being a good person is important. And I am a team guy. Team is everything.

A member of the Professional Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's NFL and college football player interviews and features have been published across the network and syndicated through's NFL team pages.

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