Note: Recently, LLT was granted the opportunity to conduct a phone interview with Marcus Gilbert, the Steelers' 2011 2nd round draft pick! The following is a transcript of their interview. Steelers Universe would like to extend our gratitude to Marcus for taking the time to sit down with us, and Cristina Alor, Director of Public Relations for Rosenhaus Sports, for coordinating our interview with Marcus!© 2011 Steelers Universe
SU: This is Perry Biggerstaff talking with 2nd round Steelers draft choice and former Florida offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert. Marcus, welcome to the Steelers Universe and we appreciate the fact that you are able to take the time to talk to us.
MG: Thanks for having me.
SU: I have to tell you that the week before the draft I was asked which offensive tackle I wanted this year…and I was adamant in my support of the Steelers drafting you. It’s great to have you on the team….if for nothing else but to make me look smarter than I really am. So…no pressure…but my reputation is on the line here…so I need you to do well.
MG: Well, no problem, I wont let you guys down.
SU: I tell you what Marcus, kind of go through that moment you were drafted by the Steelers. Where were you at and what were were the emotions.
MG: I had a party down in south Florida, with family and friends. We had a gathering and I was just sitting around waiting to here my name called. I was staring at my phone for like at least two hours and, so you know, the moment that it happened I was so anxious and nervous waiting to hear my name called. When I finally got my name called…well…first of all I had a clue, I had some type of feeling that the Steelers were going to pick me if I got past San Diego and some others teams like Tampa but then I was just hoping and praying that I would fall down and at least go to a good winning team like the Pittsburgh Steelers and get to play along side with my fellow former team mate Maurkice Pouncey. So it was just a blessing if anything. It was a very humbling experience and I got a little emotional and my family did…a lot of friends. They were very happy for me…you know…the long road I had a Florida and just all the hard work and dedication you put in it. You put in your time into football and it good when it pans out well.
SU: You know, it has to be. I was thinking when I was talking to some of the other draft picks. I mean this is the accumulation of your dreams and all your hard work so it has to be an emotional experience.
SU: I noticed that the Steelers offensive Coach was literally beaming when you were drafted and had a lot of good things to say about you. Did you have a chance to talk to him?
MG: Yes, I got to talk to him. He’s been out to visit with us. We already knew that he had a strong interest in our offensive line. So I already had that connection with him. I guess the strongest relationship that I have with any of the other coaches out there, any of the other offensive line coaches. So I just feel very comfortable with this organization and especially with Coach Kugler. He’s an excellent coach and I’m looking forward to working with him for years to come.
SU: You played both Right Tackle and Left Tackle in college. I have seen that most scouts list you as a Right Tackle in the pros, One of the reasons that I liked you and one of the reasons that I hoped the Steelers would draft you was that I personally think you have the quickness and balance to play on the left side. Do you have a preference and do you think that you can handle Left Tackle duties at the pro level?
MG: Oh definitely. I think I’m very capable of that. It is a challenge and I love taking up challenges. I know for myself that I can play the left side. I want to go out there and prove a lot of the doubters wrong. More than anything just go out there and help my team win at any position I can. You know, if they tell me to go in there and play guard, I’m going to go in there and play guard. I just want to help bring home another championship.
SU: And you actually played a little bit of guard too. You actually played left guard and right guard, didn’t you?
MG: Yea, I played left and right guard. I played basically four positions on the offensive line. So I feel very comfortable at any position on the line. Just again, I want to contribute and bring my talents to the Steelers offensive line and I think I can help tremendously.
SU: Well it definitely says something about your versatility that your coaches down there in Florida had you on the right side protecting left handed Tim Tebow’s blind side and then they moved you to the left side for John Brantley.
MG: Yep, Yep they did. You know, I think that’s what the coaches done a great job with is that I think all of our linemen at Florida had to play multiple positions. I think he well prepared us, especially for this next level. I’m very, very fortunate that I had the chance to do both of those things. All I can do right now is take advantage of my God-given abilities and use it…make something of it.
SU: What is your strength? What do you need to work on and what is your strength while blocking?
MG: Well, you know, I think as a player, especially me, I think there is never nothing that you cant get better at. There’s always room for improvement. Until I get done playing football. That’s why I say, you know, until I’m finished and I did all I can do….as long as I’m going to be playing, in every area of football…in the run game and the pass game...I need to improve and try to get better. You never want to stay the same; you always want to get better.
SU: You seem like a high character guy who has a great work ethic. Do you have a mean streak? Do you possess “the nasty” to play in the NFL trenches?
MG: Oh definitely…definitely. I’m going to bring it to the Pittsburgh Steelers this year. I see a lot of people saying I don’t have the mean streak or nastiness to me but I’ll prove a lot of people wrong and I’ll prove to the teams that passed on me that had a chance to draft a lineman, But I’m glad that I’m a Pittsburgh Steeler and I’m going to have great years to come.
SU: You know, I usually ask the draft picks if any of the players have reached out to them, but you are kind of unique in the fact that you have a relationship already with Maurkice Pouncey. Describe real quick, your relationship with Maurkice and have any of the other lineman reached out to you yet?
MG: Oh yeah, all of them or pretty much a lot of them. You know, Max Starks is a fellow Gator alum. Me and Maurkice we have know each other for years. Me, him and his brother are like best friends. All of us on the offensive line, we were like really close. We had a special relationship with our offensive line coach, coach Addazio. You know, we always put it on us to go hard everyday. We always put it upon ourselves that when we got into the meetings rooms it was all about business, but we had fun off the field because we were like brothers. You can never take that away from us. We love football and we brought the best out of each other so we just strive for the best. So that’s how we prepare our ways and I think we are just really good friends.
SU: How are you dealing with the lockout, where are you working out at?
MG: I’m working out at school. Me and Maurkice, we are working out together at the University of Florida. We will be working out with some of the guys, pretty soon, form the offensive line, doing offensive line drills and as much as we can do until the lockout is over. You know we really don’t have any control over it. All we can do is just go in there and do our best and try and make ourselves better.
SU: I was talking to your future teammate, Chris Carter, the outside linebacker from Fresno St. and he was saying that in some ways this lockout works to the advantage for this draft class. That the Steelers were going to get more than they bargained for because you will have a little time to prepare and know what scheme your getting into.
MG: Well you know, especially having Maurkice (as a friend) is a big advantage. We go through the playbook and we will get down to plays pretty soon, so as we get to camp…me, I will have an advantage on a lot of other guys.
SU: Tell us what motivates Marcus Gilbert.
MG: What motivates me is the love of the game. I just love football. I love to compete. I love to have fun. Its something I always wanted…my dream...to play in the NFL. Now that my dream is true, I have other goals and expectations I want to reach so that is what motivates me. That is what drives me. Just to be the best and to be great.
SU: Is there a player that you pattern your game after?
MG: You know, last year, to be honest with you, it was Maurkice Pouncey. For him to be a rookie coming in, and to do the things he’s done, and be a pro-bowler his first year, its tremendous. I look up to him. We are like brothers, like I said. He was my favorite player to watch last year. I went to a game last year and got to see him play on our bye week. So I guess you can say its Maurkice Pouncey.
SU: You know, that’s just a great answer. You have got such a unique situation that you are walking into. To have a friend on the team. Did you have a favorite Steeler player growing up though?
MG: Growing up it was Jerome Bettis. He was one of the best running backs ever to play the game. So I enjoyed watching him play. I grew up as a Miami Dolphins fan so didn’t get to really watch to many of the Steelers or attend any of their games. But I followed Jerome Bettis, he was one of greats that I looked up to.
SU: And now you’re a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
SU: Who is the person that has probably most influenced you in your life? I mean we kind of talked about on the field and how Maurkice has helped you out. How about off the field?
MG: Off the field, I would say my parents. I have two wonderful parents who have been by my side throughout school, going through school and achieving in college, and going through events that led to the NFL. They have been my most supportive fans, you know, my closest… I could count on them, all if I needed anything. They have been my most supportive and biggest fans. Off the field as well, so I am just very fortuanate.
SU: A lot has been made about the line of work that your father was in. Did the discipline and sacrifice that he displayed as a Secret Service Agent, did he pass that on to you in the way that you prepare for a game?
MG: Yes he did. Just to watch him. I try and mock myself after him. Be as humble as he is. Just try and be a man…you know he showed me a lot about being a man…how to approach things in life. I’m just very fortunate to have a father like that. A lot of kids really don’t have, growing up, fathers like him so I’m just thankful and blessed to have such wonderful parents. My parents they kept me very disciplined growing up. I was put into the best situation, so I am just grateful.
SU: Tell us something about Marcus Gillbert that the Steelers Nation doesn’t know yet.
MG: What they see this year is what they are going to get. I’m a player that loves the game of football and I’n going to bring a lot of nastiness on the field and I love to compete and I love to win. That’s what your going to get from Marcus Gilbert.
SU: Marcus we truly appreciate you coming on with us. We are looking forward to seeing your contributions to the Steelers organization and Marcus, before you go, tell us where Steelers fans need to go for all their Steelers needs.
SU: Marcus I thank you. That was Marcus Gilbert, Steelers 2011 2nd round pick, out of the University of Florida.