Ramses Barden Interview Wide Receiver - Cal Poly 8/24/08 By: Tony Conty The full audio of this interview is available by Clicking Here Tony Conty: Talk about how you ended up at Cal Polytechnic. Ramses Barden: Let’s see, I was recruited from a number of Ivy League schools coming out of high school, San Diego, and also Stanford. Stanford’s Linebackers Coach, Tom Williams, had a good friend at Cal Poly. For some reason, it didn’t work out for me to go to Stanford. I don’t know if they weren’t taking receivers that year or if it was an academic thing. I’m not sure. Anyway, this Linebackers Coach from Stanford spoke with the coach at Cal Poly. It seemed to be a good fit and we haven’t looked back since. Tony Conty: Stanford could use you right now, actually. Ramses Barden: I don’t know. I know they got Jim Harbaugh who recruited me at San Diego so I’m definitely rooting for him. Tony Conty: So right now, what’s your approximate height, weight, and 40 time? Ramses Barden: 6’6. 224, 4.50 range, maybe a little bit less depending on the day. I want to save some more for maybe some surprises in the future. Tony Conty: Your name is unique. Is there a story behind it? Ramses Barden: A little bit. You know, my parents are big on history and my dad wanted that I would have something to live up to, something to be memorable, and I think it is. It’s definitely something that’s unique. You don’t hear it every day. It has its significance and historical presence as far as the Egyptian ruler in Ancient Egypt. More than anything, my parents wanted to give me a name that stood for something and one that I would have to live up to and give me something to aspire to. Tony Conty: What is your major at this time? Ramses Barden: Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. Tony Conty: Well, you could work in football in a lot of capacities, then. Ramses Barden: I’d like to think so, if one way doesn’t work out. Tony Conty: We just looked at a whole stack of tape. If I had to judge as a draft analyst, the game that we have on you, as far as your release, your hands, your speed, and your routes, it would probably be Weber State. If you had to look into your memory bank, which game best showcases your abilities? Ramses Barden: As far as the tangibles that you are speaking of as far as athleticism and all that, I would agree with you that Weber State is one of the better games. I like Western Oregon, except for I had a series of dropped balls. Other than that, Western Oregon was OK except for some dropped balls. I lost a little concentration and had to get it back in subsequent weeks. As far as production, Idaho State, easily, but as far as the athletic ability, I would agree that Weber State is a good game to go with. Tony Conty: You only lost one game by more than 10 last year, so obviously you were hanging in a lot of games tight. What do you do as a leader in the huddle to make sure everyone is still believing in the scenarios when you’re only down by a couple of points? Ramses Barden: Well, it’s sort of a feeling and something that everybody buys into on our team. It’s one play at a time. You hear a lot of coaches preaching those values. We really try to drive it home in that things look impossible in terms of an entire task, but when you look at it and break it down into parts and to pieces, all you have to do is handle that one little piece right and then you can move on to the next thing, and then that’s taken care of. Next thing you know, you taken all of these correct steps just with your mind on the most immediate goals. That big task or that big goal that looked impossible before is close to being accomplished, so what I’ll say in the huddle is, “Let’s take care of this play, next play, next play”. We have to focus on it and ensure that as a team we have our goals in the front of our mind. Tony Conty: For those who may not know, describe the type of football played in the Great West? Ramses Barden: It definitely has its rivals. We got two new teams in our conference this year, so we have no idea what to expect when we play team, but historically we’ve had South Dakota State and North Dakota State, which are known for being fairly tough teams. You saw, I’m sure, North Dakota State take down a handful of Division I opponents in the past couple years. They’ve been very talented and very consistent. I really think they are of a tough breed and you have some of our teams on the West Coast who we try to keep as much as we can. We have a tough mentality, but, at the same time, we play with great effort. That’s what we are going to get across. We’re going to play with great effort on every play and you’ll see that. You’ll see talent and you’ll see speed from different types of players. More than anything, you are going to see effort and teams playing for a common goal. Tony Conty: What should we expect out of the Mustangs this year? Ramses Barden: Mustangs this year? Excitement, definitely. We got enough people coming back that know what’s going on and are excited to play and have worked really hard in the off-season on both sides of the ball, Offense, Defense, and Special Teams. We’re going to see a good amount of production. I know we had a strong year last year as far as numbers were concerned, but we see last year as, kind of, the tip of the iceberg. We left a lot of things on the table and you’re going to see a lot of mature athletes and mature voices coming together and working for a goal that we’ve had for a number of years and we feel that we have the best chance to be that team-to be THE team, and that’s our goal, to be THE team. Tony Conty: Talking to a lot of Division I-AA and Division II players over the years, some scouts overlook numbers if you are not a Division I player, but your stats are hard to ignore. Do you pay much attention to stats? Ramses Barden: I would love to say that I do, but I can find too many flaws in my game that it’s hard to pay too much attention. Sometimes I’m like, “Oooh, how many did I get?” and such and such, but that doesn’t mean anything if I can’t look at that game and say “I played with great effort” or “I made that block when my Running Back needed it”. “I finished running across the field when another receiver had a Screen and finished that block”. It’s great to be able to bring about things that are on paper, but I’d much rather have someone else brag for me while I focus on the things that are going to make me better and make my team better. Sure, I’m proud of last year, but, at the same time, there’s so many things I could look back on and see that I left things on the table, so I can only be proud for so long. I’ve long since moved on. Thank-yous and appreciations are great from everyone who congratulated me. There’s so much that we, myself and my team, feel like we have to do. I can’t focus on something that centers around being a stat or something like that. Tony Conty: Do you fear, much like Darren McFadden, that such a huge Junior year could make a solid year seem like a disappointment? You don’t focus on stats per se, but do you fear that you might not live up to the great Junior Year that you had? Ramses Barden: Not really, because I think my goals are different. I’d like to things that I have goals to repeat those types of numbers or improve upon them, but more importantly, I want to show a more complete side to my game. Those things will take care of themselves. I want to show those things that were at Weber State more consistently, just the whole package that comes with being a complete receiver and a complete talent. That’s really where my head is at right now. That’s not really my focus to repeat numbers per se, all the stuff that comes with numbers, Touchdowns, Yards per Catch, things like that. I feel like if I work on the small improvements, the numbers will take care of themselves. Tony Conty: What would you say your biggest strength is as a Receiver? Ramses Barden: My biggest strength is going to be my hands. Up and down, I have complete confidence in my hands and how I track the ball. Tony Conty: You are entering your 4th year on Varsity. What can you say that you look back on and that you have improved the most? Ramses Barden: I feel that every year, my effort has taken a step forward. I don’t feel it was where it needed to be the first two years. My Junior year, I feel there was a clear improvement in the effort I was putting toward on the field. I feel like I have enough things in place that if my effort is consistent, the rest will take care of itself. That’s how I want to show my team leadership, playing for the numbers on the front of the jersey as opposed to the name on the back. Tony Conty: Nice, you finished with a touchdown against Division I Idaho last year and you mentioned how North Dakota State had a few surprise victories. Do you approach games against Division I opponents any differently. Ramses Barden: I’d love to say I don’t, but there a different standard that people will look at. You’re not expected to win, but you have a goal to go out, compete, and come home with a victory. I wouldn’t say we are underdogs. I’ve never considered myself an underdog, but, at the same time, it’s an added sense of pressure. It’s a chance to prove yourself in front of a bigger crowd. I’d hate to say I approach it differently, but there’s another sense of a higher level that comes into play, and it kind of changes the perspective of the game a little bit. I don’t think it is nerves, but there is more to play for. Tony Conty: How much thought did you give seriously to declaring for the draft a year early? Ramses Barden: A lot of thought, actually. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t. There were days where I thought that I had played my last game as a Mustangs and days when I thought that I wanted a little more of that college life experience. That’s really what it ended up being, but, as far as how close it was, it really was about 50%. There would be a couple of days where I absolutely wasn’t coming back and a couple of days where I was like, “I want to be a Mustang some more”, but I was really close. It depended on where the deadline was. If they moved up the deadline another few weeks, we might be having a different conversation. Tony Conty: Who are the most dominant defensive backs that you have faced in your career? Ramses Barden: I don’t know. I don’t what to sell anybody short by not saying their name, but I don’t want to build anybody up. I know that there is plenty of competition that I’ll have to be worried about this year. I was always impressed with the Corner that we had a few years ago, Courtney Brown. Dwight Lowery: he definitely had great ball skills, things like that. I would have liked another opportunity to go against him. Bo Smith was OK, from Weber State a few years back. I’m actually excited about going against D.J. Clark again, from Idaho State, because he’s 6’2” and he’s a speedy guy, at least on the track. I know that he’s got a track background. I’m definitely looking forward to playing him again, but, watching him on tape, he’s got a lot of talent and a lot of ability. Tony Conty: Which current pros at your position do you admire? Ramses Barden: I like your Hines Wards for their effort and their toughness. Those guys like that never take a play off. They are the ones that I look like that I aspire to be. As far as a body type like mine, I like a lot of the big receivers, ones who can go up and get the ball and make something happen after the catch, like a Brandon Marshall, or someone like that. I am definitely grateful for someone like Marques Colston who came from a similar background and made such an immediate impact. People like that really paved the groundwork for someone like myself to have success after college. Tony Conty: What went through mind as you watched the Brett Favre saga unfold? Ramses Barden: Honestly, I really got tired of it pretty fast, but it actually made me like Brett Favre a lot more. I was never really the biggest Brett Favre fan until these last couple months. He definitely skyrocketed on my list of liked guys, because it really showed how much passion and love he had for the game. You always hear people talking about, “Oh, he loves the game and yadda yadda yadda, but it’s hard to see that if you are not right in front of somebody. To go through such turmoil, it shows how much somebody can’t stand to be away from the thing that they love. There aren’t many things that I admire more than the desire and appreciation of what they do, someone like a Michael Jordan, who just couldn’t stay away from the game. He’s still coaching and being a General Manager now. I really like the people who dedicated their lives to what they believe in. Tony Conty: Considering that Chris Henry came back as of yesterday, what do you think about Roger Goodell’s approach to cleaning up the NFL and focusing on character? Ramses Barden: It’s important. I definitely agree that it’s important to send the message that the men and the women who are such role models for America, the World, or today’s youth, whatever you want to call it, they are good role models, from their abilities, their character, how they conduct themselves in everyday life, things of that nature. I definitely notice the sharp change in punishment and consequences for the actions that people have been known to do. Getting arrested, DUIs-these things have just skyrocketed. I definitely don’t disagree with it. It is what it is. It definitely doesn’t have much bearing on me. I am excited that athletes are being held to a higher standard, because I believe that they should be. Best of luck to everybody: I don’t want to see people getting in trouble. I think that if you are going to be a role model, you need to be a role model all the time, not just from 5 to 8 on Monday Night Football. Tony Conty: Self-promote. Why should teams consider you in next year’s draft? Ramses Barden: I’m going to bring the complete package of the complete receiver. I have great tangibles, great hands, and you’re going to get great effort. You’re going to get a team player who will step into a leadership role when necessary. I’m not going to be the rah-rah guy, but I’ll be that if you need me. I’ll lead by example. I’m going to fight for the ball when it’s in the air and fight for my teammates. I’ll be a joy to be around. I’m going to have fun playing the game, so that’s never going to be the question. I love to compete. I’ve always loved to compete, so my desire and my motives are definitely not in question. I’m going to block for you. I’m going to make the tough catches. I’m going to make the easy catches. I’m excited to learn. I’m coachable. I like to say that I am a sponge and I am trying to soak up as much as I can. You’re going to get an increased quickness that you haven’t seen before and you’re going to get speed that you haven’t seen before. You’re always going to get more. You’re always going to see improvements from me on every level of the game, and that’s what I feel I bring to the table.