Our interview w/ Tyvon Branch on 3/15/10
TheRaidersBlog.com: What are you up to right now?
Tyvon Branch: I’m actually in the middle of workouts right now as we speak… just remembered that I had to give you guys a call so I called in.
TheRaidersBlog.com: Thanks man. Lets get right into the questions then. How has Oakland been treating you for the last two years?
Branch: Its been fun man. I had a great opportunity out here. I had the chance to get on the field and make plays. Can’t complain with that.
TheRaidersBlog.com: So growing up, why football?
Branch: Uhh…I don’t know man. I played POP Warner football, flag football, at 5 years old and fell in love with it instantly man.
TheRaidersBlog.com: Was their any player in particular growing up that made you get into football?
Branch: I come from a sports family so my family got me really involved football. But Deon Sanders and Barry Sanders are my two guys growing up that I really loved.
TheRaidersBlog.com: Is there anyone “off the field” that inspires you?
Branch: There's not one person in particular. I draw inspiration from different people in my life. My mother. My father. They all stayed on me, told me if I'm not going to give it 100% don’t do it at all. There's a lot of people in my life that I draw inspiration from.
TheRaidersBlog.com: Don’t want to bring up a sore subject, but what was up with Connecticut B-Ball this year?
Branch: They just had a down year. Jim Calhoun is a great coach. I’m sure they’re going to bounce back soon.
TheRaidersBlog.com: When making the transition from college to NFL, what did you find was the biggest difference between the two?
Branch: The biggest difference from college to the NFL was the speed of the game. Here, everybody's fast. College, you had the big guys who weren’t moving too good. But here it’s the best of the best. And that’s the biggest difference, everyone's just as good. Regardless of the record, everybody's a good team.
TheRaidersBlog.com: This past season you had 98 tackles, 26 assists, 1 sack, and 2 forced fumbles. Why do you think this was your breakout season?
Branch: This was my first year to actually have a chance to play consistently. My rookie year I was plagued with injury and I was sitting behind Gabril Wilson. So, I didn’t get a chance to get on the field that much. I think I just got my opportunity and I made a lot of the plays that came to me this year.
TheRaidersBlog.com: With Micheal Huff, Mike Mitchell, and yourself at the safety positions, is their an open competition and how do you think it will play out?
Branch: Its defiantly an open competition. Whenever you have competitions everyone pushes themselves to be their best and that’s great for us. It makes everyone better in the long run. They do a good job of using all of us. Mike Mitchell has to come in on packages and he had to do some things in nickel packages as far as blitzing and things, and I think it was a good thing for us.
TheRaidersBlog.com: What do you think of Coach Tom Cable?
Branch: He is a great coach. If he cant fire you up, your in the wrong business. Hes just one of those guys that knows how to fire you up and get you going. Hes like another player out there on the field. You know? Except hes just calling the shots.
TheRaidersBlog.com: Do you see the Raiders in the playoffs?
Branch: Yeah defiantly. I think we’re turning corners, were doing things to get some better guys in here. You know, were taking all the right steps right now and I think that’s a good thing for us.
TheRaidersBlog.com: We just heard that the Raiders traded for Kamerion Wimbley, what do you think of him as a player and what do you think he will add to the defense?
Branch: Hes a great player. A great pass rusher. I think hes going to help us out a lot in all phases of the game. I know hes a stand up D-end or stand up outside linebacker, whatever you want to call it. His pass rushing technique is real good. I think hes going to help us out in the passing game as well as the blitz game as far as doing some different things. I think hes going to do good for us.
TheRaidersBlog.com: Can you give us any insider information on who the Raiders will be drafting at 8?
Branch: I really couldn’t tell you to tell you the truth…a lot of stuff we don’t talk about in the locker room. We let that be handled by the people upstairs and we just kinda stay out of it.
TheRaidersBlog.com: We're going to switch it up a bit and go to some fan questions now...