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Friday Media Transcript: Running Back Saquon Barkley

Eric from BBI : Admin : 7/27/2018 3:33 pm
Running Back Saquon Barkley
July 27, 2018

Q: Do you feel like a veteran yet?
A:† No Ė far from a veteran. Just excited, living the dream. Iím a New York Giant, playing football. Iíve been wanting to do this since I was a little kid, to play in the NFL. Just attacking every single day, trying to get better.

Q:† What was yesterday like for you? Iím sure youíve never practiced in front of a crowd like that before. Just to see all those 26 jerseys out there, whatís that like for you?
A:† Oh yeah, definitely never practiced in front of a crowd like that. It was awesome. Like you said, saw a lot of 26 jerseys in the stands, saw my family. I got to see my family after, I was able to sign for kids after also, and that becomes part of the game. You donít do it for the fans, but you play for the fans also, too, and you want to come out there and practice your heart out, and just for them being out there showing love and support, it means a lot to me.

Q:† It looked like at one point they were maybe cheering your name during drills and you werenít quite sure if you were supposed to wave or to not pay attention to them at all. Did anybody tell you what to do?
A: No, no one told me how you are supposed to respond to that. If you arenít busy and you have a chance to acknowledge them, I think you should, but when youíre in a drill and focused, you should be focused on football.

Q:† How do you feel like the football part went? How do you feel like you fit in, and taking all the reps yesterday?†
A:† I felt great. Iíve been watching a lot of film, obviously I got to get installed with the playbook in rookie minicamp and minicamp before, so definitely got a step ahead than what I was when I first came here. I understand the playbook, and now itís just trying to put it all together. All the hard work Iíve put in the offseason, all the studying Iíve done, all the [running] backs Iíve watched, I try to take it to my own game and continue to get better every single day.

Q:† What was it like yesterday, the first time 11 on 11, you have Odell out there and just getting a chance to practice with the full team around you Ė what was that like?
A:† Yeah, itís great. Definitely, you got to see the potential that we have on our offense. When you look to your left and your right, youíve got Odell, you got Cody, you got Shepard, youíve got Evan Engram catching one-handed passes. That guy is someone who, obviously everyone is impressive, but thatís somebody who has stood out to me and caught my attention. Heís like a wide receiver out there. Yeah, you definitely see the potential, and youíve got Eli dropping dimes, our offensive line playing great, Stewart being a great leader to me, also. I learn from all the other backs, also, so when you get to go out there, and just repetition and continue to get better every single day and continue to learn from each other.†

Q:† How unique is it for you to split the first team reps there at camp? Is it any different than something youíve maybe done in the past, or similar?
A:† Definitely different. In college, I was always going every three, then I would switch with Miles [Sanders] or Mark [Allen], or Andre [Robinson], but I love it actually. I havenít done anything in this league yet, Iíve got to continue to prove myself, and itís also a chance for me to learn. Jonathan Stewart is a great running back and been doing it for a long time, and I ask him a lot of questions and get to see what heís seeing, and come in and try the next play.

Q:† Whatís your approach when heís up on the field getting a rep? Do you sit there, do you try and watch certain things from him while heís actually doing it, or do you look at it on the field afterwards? How do you sort of approach that?
A:† A little bit of both actually. You watch it after, definitely, but on the field, you watch how he sets up his block. Something that Iíve learned now from him, a lot of things Iíve done in college was just off of instincts, just making natural cuts Ė now you can foresee that, seeing defensive fronts, seeing him flow to linebackers, he watches all of that. Thatís whatís made him so great, and why heís been in the league so long, so when he makes a certain type of cut, when I get a chance, Iíll ask him why he made his cut or after I watch film if I didnít catch it on the field, Iíll talk to him in the film room also.

Q:† Whatís your relationship with Eli been like as you do ask him a lot of questions, and he has such a body of work and knowledge to draw on to give you those answers?
A:† Yeah, Eli is awesome. Eli is an amazing teammate. I know Iím probably a little annoying to him, I do ask him a lot of questions, but he also has been challenging me and asking me questions. If weíre not on the field, he will just call me aside and be like, what do you do in this scenario? And Iíve got to answer the question. Hopefully most of the time Iím right, but if Iím wrong, he will let me know why Iím wrong and what weíre doing in this scenario, so heís been a great teammate. Eli is actually hilarious. Heís actually funny. Thatís something that I didnít really [think] he would be coming into this team, but being able to spend some time around him, he definitely is a character.

Q:† Have you heard donít leave your cell phone open around him?
A:† No, I have not heard that.

Heíll change the language, he has fun with teammates.
A: Thank you, Iíll definitely keep my phone on lock now.

Q:† Have your teammates treated you like a rookie?
A:† Yeah.

Q: In what way?
A: I feel like being treated like a rookie is being treated like a teammate here, everyone gets treated the same. Obviously, the rookies have to prove themselves, but just expect the same from me. Even though Iím a rookie, Iíve got to know what Iím doing , where Iíve got to be, and get better every single day.

Q: Do you have to take anyoneís pads in or anything like that?
A:† Not yet. Hopefully no one hears that and starts making me do that stuff, but not yet. I havenít had to do anything like grab peopleís pads, but hey, it comes with being a rookie. If Iíve got to do this or they tell me to do that, take it on the chin and do it.

Q:† What was actually signing the contract the other day Ė what was that like? Was it a sigh of relief that it was done, was it overwhelming considering the numbers?
A:† It wasnít a sigh of relief that it was done, I kind of knew what was happening. I knew the day I got here that it was going to be done. My agent, Kim [Miale], did an amazing job with that also, but when I signed it, I was just like, alright letís get to work Ė the same mindset I had coming in before I signed the contract. Like I said, itís football to me. Itís about playing the game of football and enjoying it, and trying to get better every single day. I do have to give credit to my agent Kim, she did an amazing job, but not really too big on the numbers or whatever. Thatís part of football.

Q:† Anybody who talks to you or talks about you, even going back to your high school days Ė teachers and everyone else Ė always talks about that asking questions. When did that start for you? Have you always been a curious kid, and was there ever a question you were afraid to ask and kind of got over that hurdle?
A:† Never really been afraid to ask questions. Iíve been like that since I was a little kid. My mom and dad used to say I used to ask them questions like, why this, why that, why this, why that? Thatís just the approach that I take, and Iím always going to have, even when Ė God willing Ė I play ten years in this league, asking questions is how you figure it out. If I donít know, Iím going to ask so I can prepare myself and be as ready as I can for whatever, if itís a play, picking up a blitz, if itís asking Jonathan Stewart why he made that cut, even if itís asking a wide receiver how do I set up a hitch, how am I not going to give it off, how do I run a slant? I want to try to be the best player I can be to help this team and try to be an all-around player, so thatís going to have to continue me asking questions, and trying to get as much information I can take.

Q:† Four years ago you were getting ready for high school camp about 90 minutes from here. Have you had a chance at all to kind of reflect on the craziness that has brought you to this point in your career?
A:† No, you really donít have much time to reflect because youíre not looking too far into the future, youíre looking at the day ahead of you or the next day after that, trying to be the best pro you can be. I really havenít. I went to dinner Ė not dinner, one of my coaches had a barbeque and invited a couple of us, my high school coach, and we went back and my old high school quarterback [Nick] Shafnisky, we actually got into a whole argument about which senior class wouldíve beaten each other. So, I guess I did have time to reflect on that. But, you really donít have that much time because youíre just focusing on the moment. Iím big on living in the moment and not reflecting too much on the future or reflecting too much on the past. Obviously you want to learn from the past to prepare yourself for the future, but want to stay in the present and get as better as I can get, try to become as better as I can be every second.

Q:† As a running back, how much are you dependent on the offensive line in the sense of, is there an adjustment period? When you get a ball, are you just looking for a hole, or what?
A:† Yeah, you depend on your offensive line 100%. If you ask any of the great running backs through history or the great running backs right now, theyíve got to give credit to their offensive line. Obviously, as a running back, itís your job to set up the blocks, itís your job to hit the whole square, put your head down and make that guy miss. You definitely want to watch film, but when you watch film on running backs, youíre also watching film on the offensive line, so when I watch Zeke [Elliott], I would watch how heís set up his offensive line, how he would lean outside to the right and cut back in same thing with LeVeon [Bell], Todd [Gurley], David Johnson, and all those guys. Definitely as a running back, thatís why any award I have ever won before in college or been nominated for, I have to give credit to my offensive linemen because without them, every running back, youíre kind of nothing.

Q:† Somewhere around the draft you said Odell was really welcoming to you, and you spent a lot of time this summer with him. How much did that mean to you, that he had open arms?
A:† Yeah, it definitely meant a lot. Not only him, also Sterling Shepard. I think team bonding, having chemistry and getting to know each other, getting to know each other off the field obviously helps. We trained together, we were able to work out, you get to compete, push each other. I think that definitely will help us on the field with our chemistry.

Q:† Speaking of on the field, everybody talks about the speed difference from college to the NFL, and obviously you havenít played in a game yet, but just the practice speed between maybe some of the practices back at Penn State, the first practice in training camp yesterday. How big of a difference was that?†
A:† Speed difference to me is not really the problem or whatís the big difference. I think a lot of people mistake that with just the information the defense takes in, just how smart defensive players are in the NFL. If youíre a 4.3 guy, youíre a 4.3 guy. If youíre a 4.4 guy, youíre a 4.4 guy, no matter if youíre in college or the NFL, but the difference is, you got guys like B.J. [Goodson] and Alec Ogletree, those guys know where theyíve got to be and when they† got to be there. For example, in college, some guys would be hesitant or theyíre not quite sure. They know what the job is and what they have to do, what they have to accomplish, and they get there a step quicker. Thatís the difference in the speed, so I have to elevate my game and my mental part of going back to understanding the reads, understanding the safety rotations or the fronts, and continue to learn from Jonathan Stewart. So, even though I run a 4.3, if Iím not up there with those guys who run a 4.6 mentally, Iíll be just the same.

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