PITTSBURGH STEELERS 2009 FIRST ROUND DRAFT PICK ZIGGY HOOD PRESS CONFERENCE APRIL 27, 2009
Art Rooney, II:Good afternoon and thanks for being with us on a great day in Pittsburgh and a great time to welcome our first round draft pick Ziggy Hood. I have a long list of accomplishments that Ziggy has put together over a number of seasons at his alma mater. Not the least of which, last season All-Big 12 Conference first team and also academic All-Big 12. So I want to congratulate Ziggy on a great college career and we are very happy to welcome him to the NFL and the Steelers. Now Coach Tomlin and I would like to present him with his first Steelers jersey
Ziggy Hood: How are all of you doing today? First of all I would just like to say thank you to the whole Steelers organization. Thank you to Mr. Rooney and Coach Tomlin for choosing me and giving me this opportunity. I am very blessed right now. I'd like to thank the fans for giving me support out there. The Steelers are known in history to be a tough defense and not only that but a tough offense. I'd just like to say thank you and pretty much I am good to go and ready to work.
Who is your agent and have you talked to him about how you would like negotiations to go?
Andy Ross but he told me to me to enjoy the moment and we will talk later about the whole process.
Is it starting to sink in more?
Little-by-little and day-by-day. Tomorrow will be a whole new day. Everything is starting to fall into place.
You resemble Casey Hampton – have you watched him much?
Not too much. He played nose at the time so I really didn't watch too much about it but I heard a lot about him from a teammate of mine, David Overstreet. So I pretty much knew about the guy before I got up here.
You seem to have a knack for shedding tackles. Who do you attribute that to, who were you watching?
I watched a little bit on Tommy Harris and watch a lot on Raheem Brock with the Colts, just trying to pick up different playing styles to help me in becoming the best defensive tackle.
Was it harder to make All-Big 12 in football or academics?
Probably academic because there are a lot of smarter football players these days so I take that as a great pleasure making it as an all-academic. It is something that my family has value in because my mother and brother did that when they went to college.
What did you study and why?
Graduated in three years and I was on route for an animal science degree but I chose to graduate early because I didn't want to take an extra semester to get in the way with football and what I had to do to make it to the team.
How has biology helped you in football?
We talk about all-living cells and the more water in your system the better you will produce. The more hydrated you are, the better you are at performance.
Why did you end up at Missouri?
The only teams that really called were Baylor, TCU and UTEP and West Texas A&M, which is 20 miles away from me. But Missouri came to me when I was playing against a team they were recruiting a quarterback in and I had a standout game that year and they chose me over him that year.
Have you ever been to Pittsburgh before?
No Sir, not at all.
What was your first impression of the city?
Beautiful. Very beautiful.
*You seem to be a guy that doesn't take a lot of plays off.
Not at all. I may not be one of the strongest, fastest, quickest or better defensive tackles out there but I can give a lot of credit to myself that I can make a lot of plays from the backside if I hustle to the ball.
What do you know about this defense?
Hard-nosed, blue collared, ready to go, tough to hit and they bring their lunch pails every day.
How long will it take you to grasp playing end here?
It is going to take me a while. It is just another learning curve I will have to do as college all over again, but every day I am going to take it step by step and get more on the play book, more than ever. Watching a whole lot more film and putting more work on the field and off the field.
What is different about how Steelers' ends go about defense?
It is a 3-4 defense, fire two-gap system. Probably a whole different because we had a one-gap penetration at Missouri. So I didn't know too much about hitting the guard and hanging in the linebackers. It is going to be something new to me, but I will adjust.
How much will it help to learn from the Steelers current line veterans?
This line was the line that played in the Super Bowl so it will be beneficial to me and to learn so much from these guys will help me make myself better. Not only that but make this team better with me getting better as a player.
Did you get in touch with Jeremy Maclin yet?
I tried getting in contact with him but he hasn't picked up any of my calls. So I am just waiting to hear from him.
Who is the most famous athlete from Amarillo?
Probably William Thomas and me.
Who was the first guy you mentioned?
William Thomas who played with the Eagles back in the day and now is with the Raiders as part of the coaching staff.
*Do you think that is why you weren't highly recruited out of high school?
I have no idea whether the teams look there or not. Maybe I should have done better on my part and got five more sacks, more tackles and maybe my name would have been a whole lot better. But whatever the reason, I am glad that I went to Missouri and I am in one of the best positions that I am in now.
What will the change be like coming from the Big 12 to the NFL?
The game is going to be a whole lot faster. But I think it is a lot more mental than physical because I think the game is 90% mental and 10% physical. It is going to demand a lot from me mentally because coaches are going to be throwing play books at me every day, trying to pick up things faster and we don't have long weeks. We would play on Saturday and then not until the next Saturday but here we could play on Monday and then on Sunday. So things are going to be moving a whole lot faster than in college.
Who are some of the best lineman you went up against?
Jason Smith from Baylor and Duke Robinson from Oklahoma.
How did you do against those guys?
I think I did alright.
Have you heard from any current Steelers players yet?
No. I talked to a lot of my teammates now in here. But I haven't had any phone calls, but just walking around, enjoying and meeting a lot of teammates. I am really excited to be with them.
What is your first impression of Coach Tomlin?
I'll let you know when mini-camp starts.
Did you get nervous or anxious walking past those Lombardi Trophies?
Excited because this is history and it is just an honor to be part of it. Hopefully next year I can do whatever I can, do my part and secure one for next year. But just having seen all of those trophies, it makes me feel good inside knowing I came to probably one of the greatest organizations in the National Football League.
Is it true that you use to work at Sonic?
*What did you learn from working there?
It taught me how to work every day. Two and a half years of waking up, going to class, not only that, but then going to practice and then turning around and going to work from five to twelve, then just repeating that day-in and day-out. Sometimes I even worked after a Saturday game if I had to just to provide for my family, but not only that, it taught me how to work and the more you work the better chance at life you are going to get, and the better chance of someone giving you a shot, like Missouri did.
What did you do there?
I was pretty much everything except for manager. I could pretty much do everything, from flipping patties to car hopping riding around on roller skates.
Anyone ever get sassy with their order?
Not at all. At least I don't think until I popped up in the window and they found out who it was. But other than that, I had no problems and enjoyed it. Hopefully go back and see if people are still there, hopefully they aren't still there, hopefully they moved on. But other than that I enjoyed it and I learned a lot while I was there.
Did you work there when you were in high school?
Can you talk about providing for your family?
Just a little bit. My mother was working at a job at a sheriff office, something happened, but other than that, just taking a little bit of the relief off of her. I didn't have to do anything, but I chose to do it to take more off of her.
Are your roller skating days over?
I think so. I think I am too clumsy now. Back when I was 240 or 230 I think I could move around a whole lot better.
Who were your role models on and off the field?
Probably would have to be Lorenzo Williams at Missouri, when I first got there because he taught me everything when I first got there. Everything I know now I learned from him. Off of the field it would have to be my brother because he is an engineer graduate from Texas Tech, mechanical down at Moteva in Beaumont. Both of those guys may not know each other but they taught me similar things of hard work and staying persistent at what you do.
Did you have a favorite team growing up?
Yes. It was the Broncos but now the Steelers are now my team.
Who were you rooting for in the Super Bowl?
I was rooting for the Pittsburgh Steelers. I saw little James Harrison scoop up the ball before half-time and took it right down to the end zone. I wouldn't call him little but he took it to the end zone and scored. I was in CES in Atlanta, Georgia training, so I enjoyed it at the house on the coach.
How big is your immediate family and any other athletes?
Just me and my brother. He walked on to Texas Tech, but his engineering degree took him to a whole other level, but other than that, just me.
How was this whole draft process for you?
I really didn't pay too much to the positive because they are there, but I really took note to the negative because that is something that I have to get better. I don't mind working for it. If I can fix all of my negatives then I can fix something else I may need to work on.
What are some of your negatives?
Probably staying low, being more physical at the point of attack. Something I just have to get more use to since I was the only guy penetrating. But that comes with the different schemes at Missouri. But once again I think I will do a great job when I get here because I don't shy away from hard work.
Did they tell you what your jersey number will be?
I think they told me 96, if I am not mistaken.