Saturday, April 11, 2009

Q&A: Larry English, Hybrid, Northern Illinois

Hybrid Larry English interviewed on the All Access Radio's Football Friday Show with Ralph Mancini, Daniel Mogollon and Rodney Towe in our Linebacker Special on March 20, 2009

Larry, you’re the third guy we’re having on and it’s been a linebacker's show. But ironically, it’s been all guys who’ve played a lot of defensive end in college, so let me ask you: When you hear the term ‘hybrid’, what do you think of, what comes to mind?

I think of an athletic football player, a guy that can both play the linebacker position and drop back in coverage, but also rush the passer. I think there’s a premium on players that can do both of those things because it’s kind of hard to find guys that have that much athletic ability.

Conversely, how about the term ‘tweener’? When you hear that term what comes to mind?

‘Tweener’ I think—in some people’s eyes—is kind of the same type of thing. I don’t know if ‘tweener’ is the negative version of ‘hybrid’, you know ‘can’t find a position for the guy’, but I mean, at the end of the day I think that both of the terms…at the end of the day the football players that can play football–I think in some cases–the size isn’t as much of an issue as some people might think.

Let me ask you–I’m pretty sure you’ve mostly played defensive end in your college career. Is it something you thought about yourself like: ‘Hey I think I can do this’, or is it more something other people are saying your skills kind of translate to?

I’ve always known that I have the ability to do it. I started as a linebacker in high school—my whole high-school career I played linebacker—and really was recruited as a linebacker by most of the schools I was looked at by. It just so happened that the Northern Illinois D-end coach wanted to see me rushing the passer and I was able to do it, so they moved me to D-end and worked for me. I think with that said, I can play both; I don’t think I will have a problem standing up and playing in two-point. Obviously I think everybody knows that I can play defensive end also.

What would you say is your greatest strength: your run defense, your pass defense, tackling, or your pass-rushing ability? What would you say is your greatest strength? And also, what is the most underrated part of your game?

I think my greatest strength is, you know, being able to rush the passer, because there’s not that many players that can do it. Not everyone can do it, but also a lot of times with guys that can rush the passer—especially if a your undersized—you kind of automatically get thrown into the bucket…(Laughter)…of guys that don’t play the run and with me, that’s not the case. I take pride in playing the run, and I do a good job of playing the run, so I think that would have to be the most underrated thing because when people do sit down and ask, they find out that I do both.

How about the reputation of being someone who is rarely fooled by offensive schemes? How do you prepare for next week’s opponent and how many hours do you actually put in when it comes to film study during a given week?

You know, I don’t know if I can exactly put a number on it, but it’s always important, you know, your preparation for the offense you’re getting ready to play against–from the standpoint of watching the tackle trying to find little clues…little things in his game that you know that you can defeat. Basically, how you know you’re going to have a leg-up on him, so from that standpoint it’s important to watch the offensive tape of a team you’re getting ready to play, and also from a standpoint of what kind of schemes they run. I think the more tape you watch, the more familiar you get with that offense and that’s just a huge part of your preparation because on Saturday’s or Sunday’s it becomes second-nature.

What is your current weight, and are you afraid of bulking-up too much and losing some of your speed and quickness?

My current weight is 255, and I’m not afraid of bulking-up and losing quickness… whatever team that I go-with, whatever weight that I’m going to play-at, I can play at. I’ve been heavier than this and I've felt comfortable and I've felt fine. Weighing 255 is just kind of naturally where I fall, but at the same time I’ve been up to about 262.

You’ve been through the Combine and all of that. Do you think that we (the media) over-hype the 40-yard dash?

In some cases I think the 40-yard dash is over-hyped. A lot of it is so technical. If you can find a guy that has great technique in a ’40 start’ and in a track stance, and can come out of a track stance and run in that straight line, he can run a great time. But is he necessarily going to be a great football player? Are all great track athletes great football players? No, that’s not the case. I think what’s more important is looking at a player's tape, looking at the game-film…is this a guy that plays fast, does he run around fast, does he run? I feel that if a guy is on a football field and on tape is running players down 40 yards downfield, I think that says more about a football player's game than a number.

Let me pick your brain for a second…you’re coming out of the MAC, and the MAC was a pretty strong conference last year. You went up against a lot of good quarterbacks including Nate Davis, Dan LeFevour, and Tim Hiller. Who was the toughest quarterback you faced last year?

I would have to say it was Nate Davis. Just the arm strength, the instincts. I think he’s a smart football player. He’s a good player. I’d say he’s the toughest. With that said, those other guys are good too—Dan Lefevour…I was playing against him for three years now and it’s always tough playing against him with that run-pass combo.

Out of those guys–and you can throw somebody else in if they deserve to be there–who was the toughest to bring down?


Or could you bring them all down with ease?

(Laughter) Well if I get to them, I’m bringing them down. (Laughter) LeFevour keeps you on your toes because you know at any second he can tuck-the-ball and run. He’s got a good ability to run the ball, and he has really good instincts of feeling the pass rusher coming, so I would have to say him, with the ability to run and pass.

You’re at a crossroads as you get prepared for leaving college and to enter the professional ranks. What are you going to miss the most about college, and what are you most looking forward to in the Pros?

I think definitely the thing I’m going to miss most about college is the relationships; you know you build relationships with coaches and teammates—that’s the biggest thing I’m going to miss personally. But, with that said, I’m ready and looking forward to moving on to the next level. It’s just that time for me to move on and I’m really looking forward to going out every Sunday and competing against the best, and also throughout the week preparing, you know, I think if you have the right mind-set you can help yourself out in many ways to become a good football player, which I plan to do.

Before we let you get out of here, we do a little segment we call three-and-out…First down: On a typical Saturday night, where is Larry English?

Usually watching a game, whether it’s football or basketball. I’m a sports junkie, so I love to watch games, so probably watching a game.

Second down: Since you’re such a sports junkie…If you had to be any other athlete, in any other sport, who would you be?

(Laughter) I’d probably say LeBron James. I played basketball when I was growing up and all through high school. Just his ability to dominate a basketball game with his athletic ability, you know his ability to take over—I would probably say LeBron James.

Third down: Alright Larry—we’re going to have to have you on again because I love to talk to sports junkies. Who do you have winning the NCAA tournament?


Photo Credit: NIU Media Service

1 Comment:

Go Huskies Go said...

Good interview!

Good luck Larry in the draft. Huskie fans will always be rooting for you.