It's been called âThe World's Toughest Job Interview.â For six days at the NFL Combine (Feb. 24-March 2), college football's best will be measured, interviewed, tested, watched and analyzed by countless NFL coaches, general managers and scouts conducting all of their due diligence before the NFL Draft. To prepare, nearly two dozen prospects have traveled to IMG Academy for six-plus weeks of Physical, Mental, Communication, Nutrition, Vision and psychological training with Athletic & Personal Development program specialists and on-field training with some of the game's top football coaches.
As the clichÃ©d saying goes, Colby Whitlock is who he is... and he doesn't hide it. Small-town. Big-bodied. Aggressive. Often seen in his camouflage Texas Tech shirt, Whitlock is the prototypical nose tackle. The 6-3, 300-pound Whitlock recently talked about fans making him laugh on the sidelines, following in the shoes of Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy, wrestling and wild hog hunting from a helicopter.
Colby Whitlock on...
...being overlooked by his hometown Sooners coming out of high school: I was a little upset at first, but I got over it and fell in love with Lubbock. Oklahoma wanted me to play offensive line, and I didn't want to do that. It's not my style. I've never liked it. Defensively, you can be more aggressive. Offensive line is more of a controlled aggression. It's a good personality fit. I don't need a lot of shine to go about my business.
...being named to the All-Big XII first team: It's a huge honor. The Big XII is a great conference players with a lot of great players. Look at last year, two of the defensive linemen on the all-conference team were Suh and McCoy - the best defensive tackles in the nation.
...the toughest stadium to play: At Oklahoma State, the fans are right on top of you. There is no sideline room. You hear a lot. It may bother some guys, but it doesn't bother me. Some of it is actually pretty funny. In '07, we were at Texas, and this guy kept shouting âHey, Whitlock. Hey, Whitlock.â Finally, he goes, âHey, S***lock.â That was probably the funniest. I died laughing on the sidelines.
...the difference between Mike Leach and Tommy Tuberville: Coach Leachis just himself. It could be 25 degrees and snowing in Lubbock, and he's come in wearing flip flops and shorts. He's just a character. He was a good coach, though. He was very laid back. Coach Tuberville is much more structured. Everything is scheduled like boom, boom, boom. I enjoyed playing for both of them, though.
...the best and worst part about being 300-plus pounds: It can come to good use. Pushing cars when they run out of gas and weird things like that. Plane seats are the worst. Riding in planes is horrible.
...using his high school wrestling background: I miss wrestling a bunch. If Tech would've had a wrestling program, I definitely would have worked out with their heavyweights. From a big guy standpoint, it has everything you need to get better at football - leverage, footwork, mental toughness. To me, it's the number one sport to complement football.
...his model football player: Kelly Gregg of the Baltimore Ravens. He was an Oklahoma kid. Great high school wrestler. We're built kind of the same way and with the same high motor.
...fishing and hunting: I grew up fishing back home. The last few years, I've got out of it a bit because there's not much fishing in West Texas. My biggest has probably been a 5-pound or 6-pound bass. When I was at Tech, I knew a guy whose family had old oil money, and his dad had a helicopter and hundreds of acres of land. We'd go up in the helicopter and shoot wild hogs. It was really cool. They're such a nuisance that it's allowed.
...his off-days at Texas Tech: I had a lot of friends who were farmers. When I had a day off, I'd go and just goof off with them at the farm all day. I enjoy being outside. We'd go work calves and different things.