Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Q&A: Mike Mickens, CB, Cincinnati

How does it feel to have a team go through pretty much your whole life experience and dissect it?

Mickens: It’s a real great experience, well, if you haven’t been in trouble it’s a good experience. If you got in a little trouble along the way, it’s pretty bad, but I’m a clean guy. It’s amazing how many things they can find out about you.

What is one of the strangest things they knew about you or one of the strangest questions they asked you?

Mickens: Well there really weren’t any strange questions; they just really want to know about you. They wanted to see how your family was when you grew up and basically just see if you were going to be honest with them. I like how they know that stuff and ask that kind of stuff...they really just want to get to know you.

How is your knee and are you going to be 100 percent for your Pro-Day?

Mickens: The knee is getting better. I’m back in Cincinnati rehabbing. I’m busting my butt every day trying to get ready for my Pro-Day. The goal is to do everything on Pro Day and hopefully my knee will be 100 percent by that day so I can.

What do you think is the most underrated part of your game? And do you think you are a better man-to-man guy or zone guy?

Mickens: I think the most underrated part of my game is the knowledge I have for the game. My route recognition, I think, is a good part of my game. I think I pick that up during the game, to see how the receiver likes to run his routes. I love playing man-to-man; it’s that man versus you. That’s how you tell how good of a corner you are, I think, if you can lock down a receiver then it shows that you’re pretty good. I like the challenge of it and getting in the man’s face and dominating him.

Do you think the 40-yard dash is overrated?

Mickens: Yeah, I believe the 40-time is overrated. I think that if you can play football, you can play football. It’s not how fast you ran. You can’t put some of these world class track athletes out there on the football field and expect them to be a football player. I think it comes down to being a football player and that’s what I am.

Cincinnati has been traditionally known as a basketball school, at least until your class came along. Talk about how your class and the addition of Coach Kelly changed the program.

Mickens: It’s been a long process from my freshman year, where we were 4-7, to winning the Big East this year. We just grew together as a team and then coach Kelly came in and gave us the vision, telling us that we can win games we just need to believe in ourselves. He set that in stone for us and we believed in ourselves and we went for a good run this year and we won the Big East. A lot of things changed from my freshman year to senior year.

Is there any cornerback that you model yourself after?

Mickens: Asante Samuel. He gets his hands on the ball a lot and I try to do that when I’m out there, too. I just try to make plays on the ball like he does. Then you have Champ Bailey, he’s a great corner and can lock down basically the whole side of a field.

Do you think it hurts your profile that you came from an up and coming program and not a program like Ohio State?

Mickens: It might a little bit, but I really don’t get into all that. I think no matter where you come from if you can play football, you can play football and it's going to show in the long run. That’s what I base my stats on—I think I’m a football player so I’ll be okay in the long run.

How is your knee doing?

Mickens: It’s not all the way taken care of, but it’s getting back. I’ve been rehabbing, but I came back a little too fast for the bowl game and it swelled up on me the first day of practice. So I’ve just been focusing all my attention to rehabbing and just trying to get 100 percent. There’s nothing wrong with it, it just takes time and unfortunately I don’t have as much time as I would like.

Do you think you would have been better off not playing in the Orange Bowl, or would your competitive nature not allow you to miss the game?

Mickens: I just love playing football and I love my teammates, my coaching staff, and the Cincinnati fans and that was my last college game so I just had to play. If I have an opportunity to play football, I’m going to take it. I don’t regret anything about it. I enjoyed the experience and I always dreamed of being in a BCS game. I wouldn’t take it back, I would play again.

What was your proudest moment as a college football player?

Mickens: It had to be winning the Big East this year. That’s something that we all dreamed about coming in as freshmen, winning the Big East. When we went 4-7 our freshman year we felt like we were so far away, but we stuck with it and we kept going uphill and we finally won it this year. It was so exciting when we won it, it was something we always dreamed about and we worked so hard to get.

Who is your favorite athlete to watch other than a football player?

Mickens: Shaq. I love Shaq and how he dominates. He’s just a big force in the middle of the paint and he dominates.

Who is your favorite superhero of all time?

Mickens: Flash. I used to have the nickname Flash.

What wide receiver would you love to cover? It can be a past or present player.

Mickens: I would love to cover Larry Fitzgerald. He just goes to catch the ball and he’s a dominant player right now in the NFL and I would love to see where my game is at.

Photo Credit: College Press Box (Cincinnati)