|Rookie Barber looks to make a name for himself|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 28 May 2008 23:17|
``Hey Barber,'' someone bellows as the rookie looks back wearily while lugging his helmet and three others off the field in the 90-degree heat.
Such is life for the son of former Jets running back Marion Barber Jr. and brother of current Cowboys back Marion III. While he's certainly proud of their accomplishments, the sixth-round draft pick is working to be known for more than his last name the pair have made famous.
Though Texans coaches love that he comes from a football family, it also adds increased pressure for the player simply hoping to make the team in Houston.
``My dad had a good career, my brother's having a great career and I hope to fill those shoes as well,'' he said. ``I'm not saying that I'm going to have to fulfill exactly what they did, but I'm going to do everything I can to be the best player I can be.''
His dad played for the Jets from 1982-88 and his brother was a 2005 draft pick of the Cowboys who recently received a $45 million, seven-year contract extension. Coach Gary Kubiak thinks being exposed to professional sports all his life has helped Barber adjust to the NFL.
``Nothing is too big for him,'' Kubiak said. ``He's fitting in really quick.''
Barber was chosen by the Texans after a four-year career at Minnesota, where his father and brother also starred. He led the Golden Gophers with 100 tackles last season, had 5 1/2 tackles for losses, broke up eight passes and recovered three fumbles.
``It's in his family genes to make this football team,'' defensive coordinator Richard Smith said. ``He's a very distinctive player, very smart and high effort guy. We like his football mentality and instincts on the field. He doesn't put himself in bad situations.''
The Texans also like his size (6-foot, 210 pounds) and expect him to contribute on special teams. Seeing the field on defense will be much more difficult. Safety is one of Houston's deepest positions with eight players vying for a spot on the squad.
The Texans return C.C. Brown and Will Demps, who started last season. Glenn Earl is back after missing all of last season after breaking his foot in a preseason game. They also have Brandon Mitchell and Brandon Harrison, both draft picks from 2007.
Smith is hoping Barber will be a late-round steal who will end up making an impact on the team. They've seen it before at the position with Brown, who quickly became a starter after being drafted in the sixth round in 2005.
For now, Barber is trying to learn Houston's defense and get to know his teammates. He believes learning three different schemes from as many defensive coordinators in four seasons at Minnesota will ease his move to the NFL.
``They're throwing a lot at you at one time. So you've got to get adjusted to that,'' he said. ``The older guys here are helping me out a lot so it's making my transition a lot easier. I was able to adapt to change quickly in college, so I feel I could do a pretty good job of adapting to this as well.''
Note: RB Ahman Green missed practice Wednesday with food poisoning.