From NFL Draft Blitz.
Willie Pile Interview
Safety - Dallas Cowboys
With: Chris Harris
On The Clock With Willie Pile Dallas Cowboys Free Safety #20
I recently spoke with Willie Pile of the Dallas Cowboys. He formerly starred at Virginia Tech where he started three consecutive years and led the team in tackles his final two seasons. In the NFL, Pile has played with the Kansas City Chiefs and currently is with the Dallas Cowboys.
Chris Harris: First off, where did you grow up?
Willie Pile: Irvington, New Jersey until age 11 and then I lived in Alexandria, Virginia until college.
Chris Harris: How was the high school experience with football?
Willie Pile: It was good. Wanted to play basketball but decided to play football because all my other friends were doing it. It was a way to pass time until basketball season. I just wanted to play wide receiver, but we really needed a quarterback. The coach let me know that I might as well play quarterback.
Chris Harris: When you left high school what was your height, weight and speed?
Willie Pile: 6-3 180 and 4.6 range in the 40.
Chris Harris: Are there any siblings in your family who also have a future in athletics?
Willie Pile: Ben Barber, he is a sophomore at Edison High School in Alexandria, Virginia and Levi Barber is a rising freshman at Edison High School. Ben, will likely be bigger, faster and stronger than I was. Ben's skill level is far more advanced than myself at the same age. Levi, who is in eighth grade and will attend high school next year. Levi, is a student of the game and has an intelligence in remembering statistics in being exposed to the game on every level. He has been at my high school, college, NFL Europe and NFL games.
Chris Harris: What would be your advice to young athletes pursuing an NFL career?
Willie Pile: To physically prepare your body, because everyone at that level in in peak condition. You are going against the best athletes in the world. Mentally, prepare your mind to take in a lot of information. Then be prepared to handle dealing with people. You are representing your family, your franchise and the NFL and you have to act accordingly.
Chris Harris: What was your biggest adjustment from high school to Virginia Tech?
Willie Pile: Physically getting ready. I wasn't strong enough or fast enough to compete at the Division I-A level coming out of high school.
Chris Harris: How would you describe Coach Frank Beamer?
Willie Pile: Coach Beamer is a very detail oriented coach, that gets the most out of all his players. He gets guys that have high character. He wants guys to maximize their potential.
Chris Harris: Who was the best player that you played with while at Virginia Tech?
Willie Pile: Ben Taylor, now with the Green Bay Packers. Because I actually played on the same side of the ball. His football instincts were higher than anyone I ever played with in college. He was a leader, showed the young players the way.
Chris Harris: Who was the best player that you played against while at Virginia Tech?
Willie Pile: Willis McGahee, now with the Buffalo Bills. He was tough. He ran hard and competed every play.
Chris Harris: Much has been made of the comparisons between Michael Vick and his brother Marcus Vick. As a free safety who had the unique experience of practicing against both Michael and Marcus, how would you compare the two as quarterbacks?
Willie Pile: Michael has the stronger arm and quicker release. Marcus has a better touch on his ball. Both have the same accuracy. Michael's ball gets there faster than Marcus. Athletically, about equal in speed and quickness but it seems like Michael throws it a lot harder and further than Marcus would.
Chris Harris: Would you take a chance on Marcus Vick if you were an NFL front office?
Willie Pile: Yes, but I would include a behavior clause in his contract. He is tremendously talented and all he needs is a veteran to show him how to carry himself like a professional.
Chris Harris: In moving up to the professional ranks what was the hardest aspect for you?
Willie Pile: I had to speed up mentally. When I sped up mentally I was able to react faster physically.
Chris Harris: Was it difficult to choose an agent?
Willie Pile: No, it wasn't difficult. Sports Stars Inc. in New York gave me the best opportunity to prepare for the combine.
Chris Harris: What were you looking for in an agent?
Willie Pile: Somebody that knew how to negotiate. Someone that had a strong background with past clients. I called athletes who were represented already at Virginia Tech to find out how my agent would deal with his current NFL clients.
Chris Harris: In evaluating the 2006 NFL Draft which three players do you think will end up having the most successful careers?
Willie Pile: Got to go with Reggie Bush of USC, Jimmy Williams of Virginia Tech, and Ernie Sims of Florida State.
Chris Harris: If you had to bet a one game paycheck on a college player who would be successful in this 2006 draft class who would it be?
Willie Pile: Reggie Bush of USC because his game translates to the NFL.
Chris Harris: Obviously, playing for two Hall of Fame caliber coaches in Dick Vermeil and Bill Parcells is a great experience. How would you compare the coaching styles of Vermeil and Parcells?
Willie Pile: Both are very similar as far as in what they demand. Practices are very similar. They both want intense practices on every snap. Vermeil is emotional to the point he cries over the players he loves. Parcells, he is a coach that doesn't show emotions as easily as Vermeil.
Chris Harris: Now that you have been in Dallas for a year do you feel more comfortable in the defensive scheme?
Willie Pile: I feel more comfortable when looking back at the film. I’ve looked at the technique aspects that I need to learn to get better. Mainly lining up, the backpedal, my reads and my depth in lining up in the secondary.
Chris Harris: Any personal and team goals for the upcoming season?
Willie Pile: Our team goal is to make it to the Super Bowl and then we have enough in the arsenal to win the game. Personal, is to get my first interception. Once I get my first, the rest will come.
Chris Harris: Where do you feel you have improved since last season?
Willie Pile: I have improved my strength and my footwork. The off-season strength and conditioning program helped mostly with my improvement.
Chris Harris: What is the best part of competing in the NFL?
Willie Pile: The chance to play against the best week in and week out. We face the best players to come out of all regions of the country.
Chris Harris: What would be your message for the Dallas Cowboy fans for the 2006 season?
Willie Pile: That we are going to be a playoff caliber team. We are coming to work and Willie Pile will be a big part of it.
Chris Harris: Are you excited to have Terrell Owens joining the team?
Willie Pile: Yes, he will take some heat off of Jason Witten and our other receivers. He will really help us out, he gives us another dimension and threat to score any time the offense is on the field.
Chris Harris: Thanks Willie. Appreciate the interview. Best of luck on the 2006 NFL season.