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10 questions with Barber


The Texans have high hopes for strong safety Dominique Barber as he enters his second year in the NFL. Dominique, who worked out with his brother Cowboys running back Marion Barber in the offseason, saw time with the first team during OTAs and is looking to be a playmaker in defensive coordinator Frank Bush's new scheme.

1. How did OTAs and mini-camp go for you?

"I think they went pretty well. We have a new defense and a new DB coach (David Gibbs), so I had to adjust to the new terminology, but that went well. I am excited for training camp on July 31."

2. Defensive backs coach David Gibbs is big on technique. What did he have you working on?

"Throughout OTAs and mini-camp, technique was his No. 1 priority. He was more concerned with us having solid technique than he was with us making a mistake in coverage. That helped me a lot. Technique can take you a long way because it makes it easier for us to make plays. Once you have your technique down, you are in a better position to make a play on the ball."

3. You got some reps with the first team during OTAs. Where do you see yourself in the lineup going into training camp?

"Obviously, we all want to be starters on the team. I just have to go out there and handle my business, know the defense inside and out and do what I can to help the team. If I am not the starting strong safety, I am still going to work to be the best safety I can be. I will do whatever (special teams coordinator) Joe Marciano needs me to do, even if it means for me to go out there and be a long snapper. I just want to do whatever I need to do to help this team make the playoffs."

4. Defensive coordinator Frank Bush's new defense is predicated on the defensive line attacking the quarterback and the secondary making plays. What do you think of his new schemes?

"Coach Bush is bringing back the old days of flying around back there and making plays. You have to track and trust the guys next to you and know that he knows his assignment and what he has to do. When you can trust your teammates, you can go out there and fly around and make a play. We are going to make mistakes, but it's about continuing to go out make another play and backing each other up. If someone misses a tackle, there should be 10 other guys right there and have that person's back. I think people are going to see a completely new defense this year with us wreaking havoc and causing turnovers and getting the offense the ball back."

5. You ended last season on a high note, recording a sack against the Chicago Bears. What strides do you need to make in your second season?

"I just have to continue to get better as a player and a student of the game. There is so much to learn and I can always work at understanding gap fits and all the little nuances of a defense. I look at Eugene Wilson, Nick Ferguson and DeMeco Ryans and how they go about their business. I have watched them and learned from a lot them."

6. What have you learned from safety Nick Ferguson, who enters his 10th year in the league.

"I have learned an extreme amount of information from Nick. Last year, I sat next to him during meetings. I watched how he studied film and the playbooks and asked questions. He knew every fit that linebackers have and every defensive assignment on the field. The thing about Nick is that he is so open to helping people. I can ask him a question like, 'What happens if they come out in this formation? How do we check it?' He will give detailed answers. He is a great person at heart and a great player on the field."

{QUOTE}7. What do plan to do with your vacation time before training camp?

"I am actually going back to Minnesota because I am in a wedding. I am excited about that. I also will be in Dallas with my older brother (Marion Barber) for a week or two. I might take a relaxing trip, too."

8. You and your brother Marion Barber held a youth camp together. Why did you decide to put that on?

"This was our second annual Barber Brother's Foundation Football Camp. We held it in Minneapolis and we put it on to help give back to the inner-city kids there. We had about 150 kids come out. In the morning, they did all their individual drills – o-line, running backs and wide receiver did all types of drills. Then, we had lunch and got some rest and we got back at it in the afternoon. It was a really great time. My brother and I love working with kids and we want to give back to our hometown community."

9. When you and your brother train together, how competitive does it get?
"We are definitely competitive. We were raised in a competitive family when it comes to athletics. It was never forced upon us, but we grew into people who love to win. When we are in the weight room, I try to watch exactly how he does it. They call him the "Barbarian" for a reason. I also push him because he's not much of a long-distance runner. I tell him, 'If I am in here lifting and squatting eight or nine sets, then you are coming outside to run with me."

10. The Texans aren't playing Dallas this year, so which matchup are you most excited for?
"I am really excited to play at St. Louis because my best friend from high school, James Laurinaitis, got drafted by them and will be playing for them. I played with him in high school (Wayzata High School) and watched him play at Ohio State. I have seen him play at every level, and it will really great to watch him play for the Rams."

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