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One-on-One with the Pirates
, August 11, 2010

By Ron Cherubini

Q&A with Michael Brooks

By Ron Cherubini
All rights reserved.

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It is fitting that Michael Brooks goes into this, his senior season, as an all-league candidate and likely NFL draft pick in 2013. Brooks splashed onto the scene earning playing time as a true freshman in 2009.

That Brooks was able to garner actual playing time on a defensive line that produced three NFL players and two Super Bowl Champions is astounding. That he was able to garner Conference USA All-Freshman honors that year only underscores that among the likes of Linval Joseph, Jay Ross, and C.J. Wilson, he made enough plays to be noticed and recognized for his talents.

Fast forward to his final season and Brooks is a big-time veteran on the defensive line, serving as the heart of it at nose guard. He is widely regarded among the top tier at his position nationally and, in the league, is a player that opposing teams game-plan. He is as healthy as he has ever been and appears to be finishing his career at East Carolina just as he came into the league as a freshman, atop the league defensively.

This season, Brooks will be asked to be a pivotal leader, a big playmaker, and a guy who is known for making his teammates better around him. And, he has the stuff to answer the call.

Michael was kind enough to sit down for a chat with Bonesville to share his insights on the upcoming season.

Michael Brooks (92) in action (ECU SID photo)

One-on-One with Michael Brooks

Q: You know, you came into the ECU program and somehow carved out playing time among guys like C.J. Wilson, Jay Ross, and Linval Joseph on an outstanding championship defense. Today, you guys as a unit seem poised to make a push to be the best unit in the league and maybe even one that makes noise nationally. Can you talk a bit about that progression?

A: You know, we just got back to working hard, just like we did on that championship team (2009). We are all used to working together, not just the defensive line but the whole defense. It took a lot of work to go from worst in the country to where we finished last year so we know what it takes. Now we all want to do a lot better than last year. We want to be a Top Ten defense. Yeah, I am getting a special feeling… we are going to be a lot better than last year.

Q: You seemingly made the switch to the 3-4 unaffected. Do you believe that your handle on it now versus last year is much better? Do you expect that you will be even more productive this season?

A: It was a hard move for me, but I worked really with Coach (Marc) Yellock to learn the position, the movement, and how to play it. Now, it feels like second nature to me. I don’t really consider it different than when we are in an even front because I just love playing football and it doesn’t matter whether I am at nose tackle or at tackle.

Q: Last year, you were used to looking to your side and seeing Derrell Johnson there. Is it different to see him back a level? Talk a bit about the guys left and right of you and their abilities. Matt Milner, John Lattimore, Lee Pegues, Justin Dixon?

A: Honestly, it is very weird not seeing Derrell next to me, but the move was a good one for him and for the team really. He is going to be very good at linebacker. Now we are working Lee (Pegues) at nose tackle with Terry (Williams) out and he is doing really well there. I think (Pegues) and John Lattimore are going to be very good players for us this season. Same with Matt and Justin — we are good at defensive end.

Q: You mentioned Terry Williams not being available after he ran into some off-field issues and with his status yet to be known. Are you confident in the other guys you see working behind you?

A: Definitely comfortable. Of course, Terry is very good, but Lee is good too and we have other guys who are working there as well. I am totally comfortable with the guys we got. Like Coach said, ‘the show must go on.’

Q: What player on this team do you most respect and why?

A: If I have to give you just one guy, it would definitely be Jacobi Jenkins. From when we came in to the program to now, he has worked hard and he has become a strong leader (for) us. He is very good in that leadership role and a good player, too. I really respect Jacobi.

Q: It’s been no secret that the center position has been a struggle for ECU, but now it seems that there are a few guys over there that can get the job done. Is that a true assumption based on having to knock heads with them?

A: I think both those guys are great at center (Josh Clark and Taylor Hudson). They both can play and we can do well with either one in the lineup. Taylor is very good there. I think we are pretty set at center now.

Q: You played with some guys in the NFL ... and there is some thought that you might join them. Do you think about that stuff? Is it in the back of your mind?

A: Of course, it is everybody’s dream to play in the NFL. But right now, I want to win another conference championship. I try to not to get ahead of myself.

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08/12/2012 02:13 AM


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