Mark Barron, Tampa Bay's first-round draft pick last week spent a few minutes with the media following the first day of rookie mini-camp. The former Alabama star thinks the atmosphere under Tide coach Nick Saban has prepared him well for the NFL and new coach Greg Schiano.
Buccaneers first-round draft pick Mark Barron was all business standing in the May heat taking questions from the local media Friday afternoon after completing his first NFL practice during Tampa Bay's rookie mini-camp.
Perhaps the past four seasons spent being coached by Nick Saban at Alabama has rubbed off a little, which would be music to detail-oriented Greg Schiano’s ears. Whatever the source of Barron’s drive, it was apparent and in full force, minutes after the rookie stepped off the practice field, having just completed his first NFL practice.
“It was a good day today, a good start,” Barron said. “I just came out and got a feel for what I will be doing for this team. It was a good start. I woke up this morning and I knew it was time to go to work. That is all my mind was focused on.”
The two-time captain for the Crimson Tide knows the days will be more difficult but showed no sign of being concerned about what the future will bring.
“It wasn’t too bad today but I get a feeling it is going to get a little worse," Barron said. "A little bit hotter and a little more intense. As of right now we are just coming out to work and get a feel for the way they do things. It is just a hard working atmosphere. Intense. Disciplined. They are trying to instill that out here.”
Barron was obviously a highly productive football player in Tuscaloosa (235 tackles, 22 pass breakups, 13 tackles for loss, 12 interceptions, five sacks and one forced fumble), and the fact he was tutored by Saban was most likely something that appealed to general manager Mark Dominik and Schiano. Barron talked about the similarities in a Saban-led practice, and one under his new head coach.
“(It was) business as usual,” Barron said. “I came from a program where they do things similar to how they do it here. So I woke this morning ready to go to work. It was really like a continuation from where I came from (at Alabama).
“It is pretty much what I expected from him (Schiano). A real disciplined guy and he expects that from everyone out here.”
Schiano thinks Barron is a great fit in what the Buccaneers want to do defensively in 2012 and beyond.
“The first film I watched of him, Mark (Dominik) and I watched it together, and I was like, wow. Then you go back and try to find problems. That’s what you do but we just continually fell this kid is a fit for the Bucs. He’s a leader, he has a physical presence and he loves it. This is a guy that loves it, studying tape, studying the defense, the opponent – he’s our kind of guy.”
Dominik, who watched the practices from the sidelines, was just as complimentary about Baron as Schiano.
"You put on any football game of Mark Barron playing in Alabama this year you are going to see a guy that is a physical football player, has range, wraps up,” Dominik said.
“I love the way he tackles. He is force. He has great size to him [and] a smart football player. All those things as people that…know him know him as the captain and why he is the leader on that football team. See the toughness. The dedication that he brings to the football team [and] that is really important to us.”
As Barron was finishing up his post-practice interview, a reporter asked him about growing up in Mobile, Alabama and playing football in his neighborhood. His recollections shed some light on maybe why he is viewed as so tough.
“It was just a thing where we got bored and we played wherever we could play,” Barron said. “If it was out there in the street – that where we played at. If it was in the grass – that’s where we played at. We would take it however it came. Sometimes it ended up tackle in the streets.”
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