By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, April 23rd, 2010 at 11:44 pm in Oakland Raiders.
A transcription of an interview with Bay Area writers by Raiders’ second round pick Lemarr Houston:
Note: Quality of phone connection was poor . . . here’s a reasonable account . . .
Q: Raiders give you clues they wanted you?
Houston: Not at all, actually. I talked to them at the combine, and that was about it. That was the end of that. It didn’t really cross my mind that I’d be a Raider.
Q: When did you first hear from them? Right before the pick?
Houston: Yeah. Coach Cable called on the phone and asked if I was ready to come in and work hard. I told him yes. On Sunday, I’m really excited about being a Raider and being in Raider Nation.
Q: You have Northern California roots . . .
Houston: I was born in San Francisco, and I lived in Oakland, Vallejo – all over in the Bay Area. Sacramento, Hercules. And then I went up there this spring to visit my family that lives in San Francisco. And while I was out there (inaudible) to the combine. I still have my ties and my family in California, and I’m just coming home to my home away from home.
Q: What can you bring to help this team’s run defense?
Houston: I’m bringing a physical attitude. A physical attitude, someone whose motor is high and ready to play football. So I’m excited about trying to change the face of the Raiders defense and (inaudible) Richard Seymour.
Q: How’d you move up so far in draft status in the past year?
Houston: think it was a blessing from God, really. That’s what it was. I worked hard, I did things on the side and God has just truly blessed me so far.
Q: You know Rolando McClain at all?
Houston: I met Rolando McClain briefly, but I do know Mike Huff.
Q: Did you two overlap at Texas?
Houston: No, he left the year I came in.
Q: You played RB in high school, how’d you wind up on the line?
Houston: Well, I was a running back in high school at 265. And then when I came to college I was 276. So I played defensive end for two years and did pretty good there. We had a guy at defensive tackle, (inaudible), that graduated at the time and (inaudible-inaudible-inaudible). Coach (Inaudible) told me I could do it, and I stepped up to the plate, accepted the job and tried to change it around for myself.
Q: Does tackle fit you better?
Houston: I think playing tackle does fit me better, it gives me more of an advantage over offensive linemen, with guards not being as quick or sometimes the guards, they’re quicker or they’re not strong or not as fast, so I think it’s a perfect combination for me because I have strength and speed to use against them. I’m very excited playing tackle.
Q: What did Raiders say when they called you?
Houston: Coach Cable just said, are you ready to come in and work, he wants me to come in and help change this team now and not five years from now. So that’s what I’m excited about.
Q: What was the New York experience like?
Houston: There’s noting like it and I’m so pleased I accepted this trip and the invitation. All I’m saying is that if anybody is invited in the future to New York I would definitely take the invitiation.
Q: Worth it despite all the time waiting?
Houston: It was very much worth it.
Q: Could you come in and start right away if they needed you to?
Houston: Yes, I do. Yes I do.
Q: What’s your attitude, mean and nasty, play hard with a high motor?
Houston: I’m a silent killer.
Q: Scouting reports said you could play end in 3-4, some experience as end, is that one of your strengths?
Houston: That is, that’s exactly what I did with coach Muschamp. Coach Muschamp brought the 3-4 defense into our school and had me playing defensive end and defensive tackle (inaudible) He prepared me for the NFL and brought some of the complexity of those schemes to my college and I’m ready to use those against guys in the NFL, and I’ll be able to learn quicker, pickup my plays and get ready to go.
Q: Any indication at all talking with Raiders how they might use you, or was it all preliminary?
Houston: I talked to coach Waufle, who’s coming from the Giants, he’s got a great history with the defensive line. He was there for six years, and won a Super Bowl (inaudible) I’m very excited about this, the things that the Raiders are doing. They’re making moves, I think they’re doing it under the radar right now but I think it will show up this year and this season.
Q: Who went to New York with you?
Houston: My mother and my father and my family.