Brad Burke of Gatorade contacted Tomahawk Nation and asked if we had any questions for him to ask Derrick Brooks. We were of course eager to ask a few questions of one of the greatest 'Noles ever. Derrick discussed a variety of interesting topics including this year's 'Nole team, the Seminoles when he played, his NFL career, his post-NFL aspirations, and youth sports. Our thanks to Derrick for answering as many questions as he could for us.
Q: What is the biggest difference now as opposed to your playing days?
A: I think the biggest gap between my tenure at Florida State and today's players is that we're missing the synergy. And hopefully starting in 2010 we'll get that back with Jimbo Fisher. It's been a tough road the last four or five years for Coach Bowden, being that there wasn't any synergy on the staff. And I think now you get that. During my time, recruiting was at an all-time high. The best kids in Florida came to Florida State. And now the best kids in Florida are leaving our state, and the University of Florida is getting them. So we've got to get back, and it's a long road. But my message to all of Seminole Nation is to stay patient, and continue to pray for leadership, and just know that the guys on the field are out there doing their best to win.
Q: Now that Coach Bowden is moving on, how do you view the legacy he left behind?
A: It will be unmatched, in my opinion. Despite what Coach Paterno is doing at Penn State, Coach Bowden's the best, no questions asked. Am I biased? Yes. But I'm not ashamed to say that he's the best coach in college football history, in my opinion.
Q: What are you doing back in Tallahassee this week with Gatorade?
A: I'm here at the G Series Mobile Locker Room, getting ready to talk to some student athletes at Chiles High School. It's pretty great, man. What Gatorade did was essentially make a pro locker room on wheels that's going across country. If this thing had come to my high school back in the day, we'd have popped the tires to keep it from driving off. [Laughs.] This is Gatorade's way of creating a place where young athletes can learn the latest sports science and better understand how products like the new G Series can help them prepare before, during and after games and workouts to perform at their best. And people can enter a contest to bring this locker room to their high school. Check out the Gatorade Facebook page for more info on how to do that.
Inside, check our the rest of the interview!
Q: What enabled you to have such longevity and consistent top-level play in your NFL career (other than sheer talent)?
A: Well, if I knew the answer to that, man, I'd bottle it up and sell it. [Laughs.] In all seriousness, I just believe it was the grace of God, and making the right decisions on and off the field in terms of taking care of my body. I always had the mindset of making decisions to respect my body, and my body would carry me in the long run. Especially what I put into my body, which is why I'm here working with Gatorade and the G Series. As an athlete you've got to watch your hydration and your nutrition, and use the right kinds of fuel to help you perform your best.
Q: There's got to be a mental side to that longevity, as well.
You've got to always challenge yourself. If you're going to be king of the mountain, you've got to always challenge yourself every day. Not just on Sundays, I'm talking about Monday through Saturday, being your best those days. From a mental standpoint, from a physical standpoint, and from a leadership standpoint. And the things on Sundays take care of themselves. My preparation, with me, really made a difference. I always felt like I was challenged, I was never satisfied, and I looked forward to the challenge. From studying high school players to studying kids in college, I always studied the competition, at my position in particular, to make sure I set the standard. And I expected to set the standard. That's another thing, guys that come out early and have success, do they expect that on a day to day basis? Most guys expect that on a week to week basis, but to me that means you'll be good, but never great. The great players expect to be great on a daily basis.
Q: Aside from yourself, who was the hardest hitting guy you played with during your time at FSU?
A: Oh, even before me, I give it to. There was no bigger hitter, not just at Florida State, but in the game of football, than Marvin Jones. He's a distant No. 1. I made a lot of tackles and a lot of big plays, but Marvin had way more "de-cleaters," way more "ooooh hits" than I did. [Laughs.] Hands down, Marvin "Shade Tree" Jones was the hardest hitter.
Q: We've always thought you'd make an outstanding administrator or athletic director. Is that something you've considered?
A: That thought has crossed my mind several times, especially in the past few years because we've undergone a lot of changes at Florida State. I'll just pray about it, ask for perspective, and if that's the purpose for me then God will lead the way. Right now, I'm going to do the best to support the guys that are there now. And they should know that my support as a trustee is strictly in the best interests of the university - there are no personal agendas tied to it.
Here's some more background on the program.
The locker room is one of sports' most pivotal locations - the setting for pre-game rituals, inspirational coaching speeches mid-game, and spirited celebrations after the game. Now Gatorade is bringing the ultimate locker room experience to a handful of high schools around the country with the G Series Mobile Locker Room, a state-of-the-art facility that stops this week at Tallahassee's Lawton Chiles High School. For one week, select Chiles athletes will use the G Series Locker Room as their fully functional locker room where they will prime themselves before, rehydrate and refuel during, and recover after training and competitive activity. These students also will have the opportunity to test the forthcoming G Series sports performance products, which were designed by Gatorade scientists in collaboration with the world's greatest athletes to provide fuel, fluids and nutrients before, during and after workouts or games. Florida State and Tampa Bay Bucs legend Derrick Brooks appears at the G Series Locker Room on Thursday to discuss the importance of proper training, nutrition and hydration strategies and help inspire Chiles athletes to perform at their best.