Youth Football Online Q&A with Houston Texans Safety Dominique Barber
NFL Player: Dominique Barber – Team: Houston Texans – Position: Safety
Youth Football Online interviews NFL Safety Dominique Barber. Dom graduated Wayzata High School in Minnesota; during his senior year he was All-Conference/All-State as a defensive back. His athletic abilities weren’t limited to just football- he lettered twice in hockey and once in baseball. In college, Dom was a second team All-Big Ten selection. The Houston Texans selected Dom Barber in the 6th round of the 2008 draft. Dominique comes from a well respected football family- his dad Marion Barber played for the N.Y Jets and his brother Marion Barber III currently plays for the Dallas Cowboys. Here’s our in-depth rousing interview with Dom.
Coach Jeff: How has being from a tight knit football family molded you into the person you are today ?
Dom Barber: Family is so important to me; my parents raised us the right way.
Enjoy life, live to the fullest and always put God first. So that’s what I try to do, God
comes first in everything I do, I give him praise for my family, my success, who I
am, it all goes to him. Growing up in my household the love that my family has for
each other is unconditional, and it goes a long way with my everyday life. My Faith,
Family, Football, everything I do I try to do it with unconditional love, everyday in
Coach Jeff: There are countless benefits of playing youth football, what do you
believe is the top benefit?
Dom Barber: Man, youth football was absolutely the best. It’s so important, you
learn how to play football, develop your skills at a young age. You learn how to
throw, how tackle, (as my dad always says, “Below the shoulders and above the knee
and you should have a good tackle”). The list goes on, and it’s up to you as a youth player to understand what your coaches are trying to teach you. Develop your football mind, as you would do in school.
Coach Jeff: As a student athlete, how important is it to excel in the classroom?
Dom Barber: Football isn’t going to last forever, so you always have to have a
plan. Every kid who plays football grows up wanting to be an NFL football player.
Everyone has their favorite player or that person they want to be able to compare
their game too. But it starts in the classroom and getting your degree. Because I’ll
say it again, we all think we can play this game forever but the reality is you can’t.
Football can be taken away from you at any point in your life, but your college
degree can’t be taken away.
Coach Jeff: What does it take to become a successful college and NFL football player?
Dom Barber: You have to put God first, because he is the one that is going to direct
you in the correct path. Family, you should always be able to look to your family for
guidance, help or anything you may need. Family should be there to help you find the
answer. Youth coaches, I still have contact with some of my youth coaches because it
means a lot to me. What they have taught me has helped my development not only as a player but also as a man. My high school Defensive Coordinator is now the Head Coach at Maple Grove High school. I still chat with him all the time about football and about life. It’s always nice to know that I have so many people in my corner and people I can trust
and enjoy my playing career with. But you have to be disciplined, no one can make
you go to class, or go to study hall it’s up to you. You have to find out how to balance
your school, football, and social life without trying to be too overwhelmed. Sit back
sometimes- think about everything, enjoy the moment, and think that “hey it could be
worse”. I just try to enjoy life as it is; I’ve been like that for years now and it has
helped me become who I am today.
Coach Jeff: What is the most challenging aspect of playing strong safety? What traits
do you need to be a solid safety at any competitive level of football?
Dom Barber: It’s almost like you’re the QB of the Defense. Usually the Mike Line
Backer will get the fronts set (D Line set) and as a Safety you have to make call, adjustments, and you have to do that on the fly. So you have to be a student of the game, you have to understand what are the possible plays out of this formation, what could happen if there were motions, unbalanced line, all plays when you play safety. Can’t have cold feet out there as you are the last line of defense, have to be able to tackle and you have to be able to cover a tight end and a receiver at times. You need to know the playbook as if you were a QB or even a D Coordinator because all that’s going to do is help you, then you are able to go out there and just play and not have to think.
Coach Jeff: How does having a solid week of practice translate into success on game
Dom Barber: I’ll use a typical work week for us. Games are usually played on Sundays
so the workweek starts Monday. Watching film, looking for the opposing teams
tendencies, adjustments, personnel, all comes into play on Monday and you carry that
out through the week. And you have to practice hard, because you as a player have
to show your teammates and coaches that you are ready to play- ready for anything.
When you have a good week of practice you just know as a player that you are ready
and you can go out there and just ball. Can’t wait until Saturday night meetings to
think that you can go out there and play. Yes you can do it, but are you going to
be able to play as well as you would be able to play had you did your homework
earlier in the week.
Coach Jeff: What defensive back drill do you feel is best for the youth level?
Dom Barber: Back Pedal. We back pedal everyday in practice. You have to train your
legs early, it gets tiring at times but you have to be able to back pedal as a Defensive Back just as you would be able to run as a wide receiver. Yes, you’re not going to be able to run like you can forward, but the point is to be comfortable. Be able to back pedal all day long
because, as a safety, that’s what your going to be doing most of the game.
Coach Jeff: Nutrition and hydration are commonly overlooked in youth football, how
important is diet and hydration for your body to perform in practice, workouts and games?
Dom Barber: Man I can’t tell you enough how important it is to be hydrated as a
player. Again it starts on Monday, you have to train your body early. Football is a
tough sport already and it’s mentally draining. But when you’re hydrating your body you’ll take away the little man in your head that’s asking for water on game day. You have to hydrate yourself as if you were studying film. Goes a long way when you’re out there playing the game- you’ll just feel better. I’m from Minnesota and now live in Houston, so I’ve had to make major adjustments to the summer weathers. More and more fluids are needed because heat is an unbelievable thing in Houston (laugh). But it’s an adjustment
you have to make and if you want to play it’s important to stay hydrated and eat
correctly. Can’t always have fast food, you have to put things in your body that will
take care of you not worsen what you have started early in the week.
Coach Jeff: Tells us about the Barber Foundation Youth Football Camp that your
Dom Barber: Our foundation is toward inner city youth kids. We do a camp in
Minneapolis every year and it’s for the kids. Its an all day camp where we have some
of our teammates, and other players come out to interact with the kids. We’ll show them
somethings that we do to prepare ourselves for the upcoming season. All we want to do
is give back, and the Lord has blessed us to do just that. Some kids are less fortunate
than others, and it goes a long way when these kids see professional athletes trying
to help them with their game. I love it! I love giving back and every year I get so
excited about the camp back home because I know the smiles I see, the laughter I hear,
are extra bonuses to me and to us- our foundation. It’s a wonderful thing to be able
to do that and feel the love that these kids bring.
We would like to thank Dom Barber for sitting with us for this authentic interview. Follow Dom on twitter @34DomBarber. Visit Dom’s website at DomBarber.com.