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10 questions with Barber

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Safety Dominique Barber celebrates after his first-career sack in the 2008 season finale against the Chicago Bears.

Dominique Barber, a sixth-round draft pick from Minnesota last year, is expeted to compete with veteran Nick Ferguson for the starting strong safety position next season. He played in 12 games as a rookie and recorded a sack in the season finale against the Chicago Bears.

Barber has been spending the offseason training with his brother, Dallas Cowboys running back Marion III, in Miami. He plans to return to Houston at the end of March. The Texans' offseason workout program begins on April 6.

**1. What have you been doing this offseason?

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"I've actually been with my brother the entire offseason. Since about the beginning of February, we've been training down in Miami at a place called Perfect Competition. Right now, I'm at home [in Plymouth, Minn.]. I came back for my mom. She had an event for work, so I came back for a little fundraiser. I head back to Miami on Sunday and get back to working out."

**2. How nice has it been to get to spend time with your brother?

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"It's helpful. He gives me a lot of advice. I'm able to see the things he does to get his body in shape and things of that nature, and it's just nice to spend time with him. It was a long season; never really got to see him. So for the past two, three months, it's just been nice to be with the big brother."

*3. Have you gone on any vacations? *

"Kind of. We went to New York. Went to Vegas for a few days. But really, we've been in Miami for most of the time. I would say that's vacation enough."

**4. What kind of training are you doing in Miami?

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"Oh, you know, just the typical training: running, lifting, work out four days a week – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. Just things to get your body back in shape and get ready for offseason workouts with the team."

{QUOTE}*5. It doesn't sound like you've really been letting up, but how much of a relief has the offseason been after the grind of your rookie season? *

"A lot of my buddies have asked me that question. It was a long year when you think about that in January you start training for the

combine and things of that nature, and then you get to the draft, the draft goes straight to minicamp, minicamp to OTAs, OTAs go to training camp. It was just a long year. It's nice to finally get some time off, but it's pretty much around the corner. It's not much of an offseason if you really think about it."

**6. What do you think about Frank Bush being hired as the defensive coordinator?

**

"I'm extremely excited. I know how much he loves the game of football. His intensity level and his coaching style is something that I like very much. I'm excited. I know he's going to let us loose and give us a lot of opportunities, and it's going to be up to us to make those plays because he's going to always put us in the right position."

**7. Have you gotten to talk much with David Gibbs, your new position coach?

**

"I spoke with him once. I'm excited about Coach Gibbs. I know he was the defensive coordinator at Minnesota a couple of years before I got there, but a lot of my brother's buddies that he's stayed in contact with told me a lot of stories about him. They learned quite a bit from him, so I'm excited to get working with him and just excited to get back to football."

**8. What are your thoughts about the team re-signing Eugene Wilson and Nick Ferguson?

**

"I'm excited. Those are two veteran safeties that we have. I know last year, in the position meeting room, I always sat by Nick. Nick was always in my ear, giving me ideas and giving me just little things. That's helpful for a young guy like myself, coming into the league and getting that huge playbook thrown at you. The fact that Nick was so helpful, that was great. And as far as Geno (Wilson), Geno is a great guy as well. He's more on the quiet side, but on the field, he makes a lot of plays. I'm excited to have these guys back."

*9. You came on strong at the end of the season. Did anything change for you to spark that improvement? *

"I just tried to continue to play throughout the whole season. I just think my feet were starting to get a little wet as I was getting more and more playing time. I was feeling more and more comfortable out on the field. The coaches were giving me opportunities, and you've got to take advantage of your opportunities. They come and go, and I was fortunate to take advantage of my opportunity and I'm just ready to get things rolling again next year."

*10. You're going to be competing for a starting job next season. After being a sixth-round pick last year, what does that mean to you? Did you expect the opportunity to come so soon? *

"You know, I really don't know if I expected it or not, but again, you've just got to look at the opportunity. And the opportunity is there. I look at it like, hey, as far as I know, C.C. Brown was a sixth-round pick. He was a starting safety for the Texans the last four years. So I don't think where you go in the draft really matters; it's about what you do on the field. Fortunately, I was able to make some plays on the field and caught some eyes from the coaches.

"The big thing about the NFL is making plays. If you make plays, the coaches have no choice but to put you out there, so I've just got to continue to make plays and do some extra work. But the opportunity is going to be a great opportunity. I'm excited, and I'm just ready to compete."

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