Matt Mayberry is a week away from one of the biggest events of his life to date: the 2010 NFL Draft. Mayberry, a middle linebacker from Indiana University, took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to tell B/R writer Tim Cary about how he's preparing for life as a professional football player.
TC: What are your plans for watching the draft this coming weekend?
MM: I will be in Chicago with my family relaxing. Nothing too special, just spending the day with my family.
TC: How many different teams have you talked to or worked out for during the pre-draft process?
MM: I have spoken to just about every team but a few, and I've worked out and visited more than a handful. The Bears and Patriots are already out there in the media, but the other teams I have visited with asked to keep it quiet, so I've got to keep to their requests on that one.
TC: What was your pre-draft workout preparation like? Take us through a normal day of working out and getting ready for the draft.
MM: It was something else, but I loved it! My day started at 8:00 am and ended around 7:00 pm. We would do speed work, followed by position work, and then hit the weights in the afternoon with rehab-type stuff (to prevent injuries) and recovery methods. I was down in Cincinnati at a place called Ignition where several standout current NFL players train, and they do a great job of getting you mentally and physically prepared for the next level.
TC: Do you have a preference of playing in a 4-3 defense or a 3-4 scheme at the next level?
MM: No, I do not have a certain preference. I have been in touch with both 3-4 and 4-3 teams. I've been told outside and inside in a 4-3 (what I played in college) and then strictly inside in a 3-4 scheme. I would say I'm pretty versatile when it comes to that.
TC: Did you have a favorite NFL team growing up? If so, which one?
MM: Not really. I am from the Chicago area, so I always grew up loving Walter Payton; that drew me to the Bears, but there was never really one favorite team.
TC: Which do you enjoy more, getting a sack, forcing and recovering a fumble, or making an interception?
MM: Wow, that is a tough one! All three of those can change the game around in a positive way and give the offense great field position, but I really like to rush the passer and was pretty successful at it in college, so I will have to go with a sack. Interceptions are great as well!
TC: What do you think will be the most difficult thing about making the transition from college football to the NFL?
MM: Just the speed and work that goes into game week. I don't think it will be that much of a transition for me though, because I thrive off speed and my work ethic is second to none (I like to believe!). I really take pride in working everyday as hard as possible.
TC: What's your greatest memory or highlight from your career at Indiana?
MM: There were a lot of them, even though we had a lot of downs while I was there, including the death of my coach/mentor Coach Hoeppner. My greatest memory though would have to go back to the 2007 season when we went to the Insight Bowl in Arizona. That was a great time with my teammates and some of my greatest friends, so that was a time I really cherished!
TC: What is your greatest attribute or characteristic as a football player that will help you succeed playing on Sundays?
MM: Speed, work ethic, and relentless attitude! The results speak for themselves as being one of the fastest linebackers in the country. In the offseason I train six hours a day, sometimes twice a day, all related to football specific drills! I recently started boxing for hand eye coordination and quicker hands, which will really help on Sundays. I prepare to win everyday and have been for awhile, but now I'm a lot more hungry and a lot of people will be shocked! Lastly, I have a attitude to succeed and never give up. I think my game tape correlates to that one. No matter what the situation was, whether we were losing or winning, I would go hard every play and not be denied to get to the ball and make a play for my team.
TC: Thanks so much for taking the time, Matt! Best of luck to you next weekend with the NFL Draft!