Peyton Barber interview
Q: How much do you love the game of football? How big is your passion for the sport?
A: Football is my life right now. That’s all I’ve been doing. I’m eating, sleeping, drinking football. I feel that I’m ready for the next level with the amount of work I’ve been preparing myself with.
Q: I just read an article by a former NFL offensive lineman LeCharles Bentley that basically said that the NFL isn’t a developmental league and how teams don’t have much patience for rookies in need of development. Where are you right now in terms of your skills and overall strength as you get ready to enter the league?
A: I feel like I can do it all. I can block. I can run the ball. Everything you need me to do, I can do. I have great footwork and I hold the ball strong enough. I can also handle any type of pass protection that comes my way. I feel like I’m strong enough to run through any tackle. I’m also quick enough to get away from or elude people.
Q: Going into a new season, most college players set specific goals. What are your goals right now as you enter the pros?
A: Well, number one, I want to make a team first. Second, I want to make the 46-man roster and third, I want to start. I want to contribute to the team and help my team out in any way I can. The end-all goal is I want to be starter. I want to be one team’s starting running back. I don’t want to hop around—I want to stay with one team.
Q: One team for your entire career?
A: Yes sir.
Q: You’ve been around some great teams at Auburn. You were only a redshirt freshman on that group that played FSU in the championship game a couple of years ago. What was it like being around guys like Tre Mason over even Cameron Artis-Payne? What were you able to pick up from those guys?
A: I remember thinking I wish I was out there…I wish I was playing. But at the same time, I had to take the time to learn and that’s what I did. I watched everything they did. I watched everything that Tre and Cameron Artis-Payne did and tried to put some of that in my game.
Q: How would you describe yourself as a running back to someone who has never watched you or even heard your name?
A: I would describe myself as a physical running back, but at the same time, someone who is deceptively fast and quick. I’m hard to bring down and have great hands out of the backfield and I can even run downfield if need be.
Q: You ran a 4.6 at the combine and a 4.59 at your pro day. But you also did that at 232 pounds. That’s pretty big for a running back. What do you think about those 40 times in general?
A: Honestly, the 40, I think, is one of the most overrated drills that anyone is asked to do. When are you ever really going to run 40 yards? I mean it happens, but the average play is what, three seconds? It’s not very likely that you’ll run the 40 yards down the field all the time. At the same time, you don’t have anybody chasing you; you don’t have 300-pound linemen trying to tackle you. The 40, to me, I don’t think that shows anything It might show that you’re fast, but the L drill and 5-10-5…those can be just as good because it shows that you’re quick and elusive.
Q: And how many times in a game are you going to be running down the field 40 yards in a straight line anyway?
Q: It was reported that the Patriots were one of the teams at your pro day. Did you get a chance to speak with Bill Belichick or any other coaches?
A: I talked to a lot of coaches. They like my size, my speed and they like the way I play the game. They said I have a few things I can polish up and that’s what I’ve been working on.
Q: In what particular area of the game do you think you need to improve in the most?
A: Honestly, I feel like I need to improve in every part of my game. I think I can always get better at something. There’s never something that I can’t get better at.
Q: What are some teams you’ve been in contact with?
A: The Patriots, Falcons, Saints, Denver, Colts, Bucs… I mean any team you could think of I’ve probably talked to. Also the Packers, Arizona.
Next: Barber talks Packers, visits