I got the opportunity to speak with Utah linebacker Francis Bernard during the Senior Bowl media day event on Tuesday, January 21st. The following is a transcript of our conversation.
Draft Rite (John Vogel): So we have a weak linebacker class in terms of the depth in the NFL Draft.
Francis Bernard: Oh, come on man, what the heck?
Draft Rite: I’m not saying you guys are bad! What are you going to do to separate, Francis?
Bernard: I’m going to display my athletic ability. I’m a guy who can play all three downs. I’m not afraid to be in space. Just with my athletic ability and I’m super coordinated. I’m able to blitz well. Also, I’m a quick learner and I pick things up super fast. I think those are going to be the things that separate me from the other guys.
Draft Rite: I gotcha. So I was doing some research on you back in November and we kind of relate. You had a daughter.
Draft Rite: Son. My bad. I had a daughter.
Bernard: You’re good.
Draft Rite: My daughter almost died too.
Bernard: Oh, okay.
Draft Rite: So I felt that pain, I kind of relate to that. How has that helped you with the way that you play the game? Is that a motivation for you?
Bernard: My junior year was just like, having had that happen, every day I would just go into the meeting room either not knowing whether my son was going to survive or not, but every day I just want my son to remember that you know, ‘no matter what time my dad stepped on the field, he gave his all. You can see it on film. Everyone that talks about him say he’s a super hard worker.’ So I just don’t want my son going thirty years from now when he hears back on how I played to know that I wasn’t a good player or that I didn’t play hard.
Draft Rite: I gotcha. So what do you think is you’re biggest strength that you are bringing to an NFL team?
Bernard: Athleticism. My learning ability and just my playmaking ability, you know? With athleticism comes the ability to be able to make a lot of plays and is the biggest factor in to what I can do.
Draft Rite. Gotcha. What do you think is the biggest weakness that you have?
Bernard: Just this last year, I wasn’t consistent with using my hands. Then sometimes I would, what’s it called? Overthink on some plays. I love to analyze plays before they happen and so because watching a ton of film sometimes I’ll get caught either flat-footed or caught looking too much at the whole formation instead of just playing, so, that’s probably the two weaknesses that I have.
Draft Rite: Last question for you.
Draft Rite: What’s it like living in Utah?
Bernard: Man, it’s awesome. You have four seasons, you can experience snow. Not a whole lot of people get to experience snow. But, it was great. Just a big family environment there in the whole state of Utah, especially Salt Lake because that’s where I grew up, and then like I said, four seasons, fall, winter, spring and then summer. You get it all so it’s good.
Draft Rite: Awesome dude. Hey, I appreciate you taking a couple of minutes.
Bernard: Yeah, no worries.