The San Francisco 49ers have a new coach in Mike Nolan and a new look overall this coming 2005-2006 NFL season. The team used their 11 draft picks to draft help on both sides of the football. Big East Offensive Player of the Year Rasheed Marshall will be an addition to the wide receiver position on the team. The San Francisco 49ers drafted him as the 174th overall pick in the 5th round.
(Backup Player: Including IE)
Chris Yandek: First off how are you?
Rasheed Marshall: “I am doing good.”
CY: Did the San Francisco 49ers talk to you leading up to the NFL Draft?
RM: “The only time I talked to San Francisco was at the NFL Combine. They sat down and did an interview with me. That was the only time I talked to them.”
CY: Where were you when you got the phone call that you had been drafted or about to be drafted? Did Mike Nolan call you and if so what did he say?
RM: “Well, it was kind of funny because I was at my house sleeping. I got the call and my brother answered the phone. He said it was the San Francisco 49ers. I forgot who it was that called, but it wasn’t Mike Nolan.”
CY: What are your thoughts on playing for Mike Nolan and as a coach overall?
RM: “It’s just a great feeling overall having the opportunity to play football again at the highest level you can possibly get. Also being out here with San Francisco and the rich tradition with new coaches that are full of energy is great. I am just trying to make the most of my opportunity and make the change.”
CY: The San Francisco 49ers drafted Alex Smith as the first pick overall in the 2005 NFL Draft. What are your thoughts on getting the opportunity to play with him and catch some his passes as a wide receiver?
RM: “It’s great. I met Alex at the combine, just being able to meet him as a person and not a football player, he would be a great friend. He is a great friend of mine right now. From the football aspect of it, being able to catch passes from him is even better. He is great.”
CY: What do you think is the most important thing you can learn as a rookie in the NFL?
RM: “You definitely have study the play book. I definitely learned that through our first mini camp. These plays are fast pace and you definitely need to keep your head in the play book. Just study it as much time as you have off. You gotta study that play book and try to learn as much as possible.”
CY: What was it like living in Pittsburgh your entire life growing up, and what players like Kordell Stewart, Hines Ward, and Antwaan Randle El have taught you about the transition from quarterback to wide receiver?
RM: “I actually learned a lot from those guys. I know all three of them personally and had the chance to talk to all three of them. It was a lot of good advice. It was all similar because they all said the same thing. Being the athletic guy and being able to do a lot of different things you shouldn’t fight the change. You play quarterback growing up your whole life through high school and college, but you are an athletic guy enough to make the switch without having a lot of problems. Just don’t fight the change. Be open to it and just give it all you got. Just put out as much effort as you did playing quarterback as you would wide receiver.”
CY: You played high school football at Brashear High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and lived there your whole life, but chose West Virginia over the University of Pittsburgh. What was the main reason you chose your state university rival over your home state college to play football?
RM: “Well, it was pretty much a no brainier if you ask me. The neighborhood that grew up in Pittsburgh was five minutes off the University of Pittsburgh campus. I grew up there. If I went to Pittsburgh it really wouldn’t have been a genuine college experience. They didn’t offer me a scholarship. West Virginia was the team that showed a lot of genuine interest. I felt the love coming from West Virginia and went ahead and made the decision.”
CY: What was it like making the transition from West Virginia head coach Don Nehlen who retired in 2000 to current coach Rich Rodriguez?
RM: “It was like night and day. Coach Nelhen was a laid back kind of coach. He would just oversee everything and walk around practice to make sure all the coaches are doing their jobs with the team and everything. Coach Rodriguez is more hands on with the team. He is the offensive coordinator. He is involved with getting players ready. If that takes screaming and hollering just to get them motivated that’s what it’s going to be. It was completely and totally different coaches, offenses, and different mind sets approaching the game.”
CY: You rank first all time in rushing yards by a quarterback in the Big East with 2040 yards. What do you think is the one thing that truly made you a great running quarterback at West Virginia and leading the Big East all time in that category?
RM: “I think a lot of the running ability came natural. I think it was just a God given gift. Also the coaches put me in a position with the plays they were calling and attacking different teams. Me also running the football had a lot to do with it also. I would definitely say the God given abilities and the coaches being able to just incorporate me into the offense and let me run the football.”
CY: You won the 2004 Big East Offensive Player of the Year Award. What did it like to be the first West Virginia player in history to win this award?
RM: “It’s great. I really can’t explain it. It was a goal of mine at the beginning of the season that I really didn’t tell anybody about. I shared a few different goals with Coach Rodriguez and a couple other different people. That was one goal I just kept to myself. Every week I reminded myself before I stepped out on that field that I am going for that Big East Player of the Year. Once I found out I got it, it was truly a blessing because every week I fought for what I earned at the end of that year.”
CY: Finally, what’s the one thing you want to accomplish over this season and your entire NFL career?
RM: “The biggest thing this year I want to do is continue to work hard and just make this roster. They will keep 53 players and that’s not a lot. I want to be one of those guys who makes it down to the final roster. Just be a sponge and continue to grow as a rookie wide receiver. I am learning a new position and a new NFL play book on top of that. This year is definitely going to be a learning year. Just hard work and the job to keep wanting to learn more and more. I think that’s what is going to get me on the roster. We will see.”