Mark Brazinski Interview
Sr. / California / OC
Updated - 4-12-14
By: Alex Khvatov
Alex Khvatov: What are your measurements (height, weight and forty time)?
Mark Brazinski: Height is 6’3 ½ and weight is in the 308 range. My forty was 5.43 and my 10-yard split was a 1.92.
Alex Khvatov: Tell me about your Combine performance in Baltimore.
Mark Brazinski: There were a lot of prospects. You meet guys that you are competing with, you have a proper order and you are almost like a secret agent. They call you by the number, and you go from station to station. It is a little bit different than training. The most important thing is to stay warm and hydrated as an athlete. I improved in every single drill from the Pro Day to the Combine. I got some solid numbers.
Alex Khvatov: What schools showed interest in you when you were coming out of high school?
Mark Brazinski: I was an All-American coming out of high school. The most notable schools were Florida State, North Carolina, Rutgers and Syracuse. I was considering a couple of Ivy League schools like Penn and Harvard.
Alex Khvatov: Why did you choose the University of California?
Mark Brazinski: I have two older brothers that went to Penn. When one of my brothers left the school, he had a high paying job on Park Avenue. I am a rational and reasonable man. NFL is always the dream, but you have to have a good backup plan. Berkley had a good Division I football team and the best business school. It is the third rated business school in the US. They had Jeff Tedford. They have been to three or four straight bowl games. I wanted to go to a bowl game every year. They had the same coordinators for a long time. There was a lot of stability around the program.
Alex Khvatov: Tell us about your career with the Golden Bears.
Mark Brazinski: During my five-year span, we went to two bowl games in San Diego. We lost to Utah my first year and to Texas my third year. We went 1-11 during my senior year. We had four offensive coordinators, three different OL coaches and two different head coaches. I always had to be on my toes. There are so many positives that it take away from it. We were always learning new things.
Alex Khvatov: You were a four-star recruit coming out of high school, why weren’t you able to break into the starting lineup?
Mark Brazinski: Going into the spring of my fourth year, I was slated as a starting guard. But I tore my ACL and MCL. I came back from an injury in five months. I made sure that I was on top of things. They put me back into starting lineup against Oregon State at the end of the season. Then my head coach got fired. We played the youngest offensive line under the new head coach during my senior year. We had three freshmen starting. I taught these young guys and showed them the ropes.
Alex Khvatov: Where are you currently training for the NFL Draft?
Mark Brazinski: I have been training at Cal. We have a lot of the resources here. It is a good place to live. It has worked out pretty well. I am at Cal the majority of the time, but I go to the gym at South Bay to train for my forty.
Alex Khvatov: Were you satisfied with the results from your recent Pro Day?
Mark Brazinski: As a competitor, you always want to keep going for more. I could have done better. But I did well.
Alex Khvatov: What are your strengths?
Mark Brazinski: You can show me any defense, and I will tell you what they will do. I will tell you who is coming where and how to get a TD.
Alex Khvatov: What areas of your game do you need to improve upon?
Mark Brazinski: I think that with most linemen, we all have to work on leverage and hands. I am no different. I think that I have come a long way with it.
Mark Brazinski: My fondest memory was playing against Stanford. It was a night game during my first year. Stanford was down by four, and Andrew Luck was driving them down the field. He throws the ball, and one of our LB’s gets the pick. It was a highlight. Everyone came together, and we got a good team win.
Alex Khvatov: What is your favorite NFL team?
Mark Brazinski: I like the Steelers. They had a great power running game. Their fan base is always 100 percent behind them.
Alex Khvatov: Who is your favorite NFL player?
Mark Brazinski: My favorite player was Kevin Mawae. He played with the Jets and the Titans. He was incredibly smart and played with great leverage. He went to many Pro Bowls. He was pretty humble and he got it done.
Alex Khvatov: What separates you from all of the other players at your position?
Mark Brazinski: When I get into camp, and you hand me a playbook, I will know every single play within an hour. My learning curve is very short. Many players take a long time to grasp the playbook. I can see how it pieces together. I can play both guard spots and center. I will go and get it done. I will produce results.
Alex Khvatov: Who was the toughest defensive lineman that you have faced during your career?
Mark Brazinski: Star Lotulelei from Utah. It was the year before he went in the draft. He had a great motor and played with good leverage. I have a lot of respect for him. He is a great leader. He was a worthy adversary.
Alex Khvatov: Which underclassman on your team should we keep an eye on next season?
Mark Brazinski: QB Jared Goff is very good. He is a solid QB. He has a great arm. He moves pretty well, has a good grasp of the offense and he will grow. We run a version of Texas Tech’s crazy offense. He will have great numbers.
Alex Khvatov: What is the most important trait that an offensive lineman should have?
Mark Brazinski: Offensive linemen need to be tough mentally, physically and emotionally. It is fourth and one, and the team needs to get that one-yard. You should never back down. It is an emotional game. People can’t get underneath your skin. You need to focus for about 100 plays.
Alex Khvatov: What will you miss the most about the University of California?
Mark Brazinski: The people. I was surrounded by the greatest teammates in the world. We came together as one. You go out and compete every day. You work and get after it. Nothing beats a college football experience. It didn’t happen in high school and it is different in the NFL.
Alex Khvatov: What are your hobbies?
Mark Brazinski: I like bowling, slow cooking and comics. I like watching movies and reading classical books on Kindle. The stories in comic books are really good. Certain comic books have stayed around for a while. They are classics for a reason. I also won a bowling tournament. A former NFL player held it. My score was 207. My father’s best score was 212. I couldn’t believe that I didn’t break his record. When you are in the zone, you are competing against yourself.
Alex Khvatov: Who is your favorite comic book character?
Mark Brazinski: Captain America. I can’t wait for Winter Soldier to come out in a few days.
Alex Khvatov: What do you plan to do with your life after your football career is over?
Mark Brazinski: I have a few options. I have a side project. It is a master’s thesis. It is a version of Moneyball for football. An NFL player has an average career of 2.5 years. If I get the chance in the NFL, I would stash some money. I would open chain restaurants and venture in a capital firm.
Alex Khvatov: What does it like to be a small fish in a large pond?
Mark Brazinski: My parents have taught me humility. They told me to always stay grounded. I got the hype coming out of high school, but I never let it get to my head. I am a small fish in a big blue sea. It is different. I was getting 3 to 10 letters a day from schools when I was coming out of high school. But I am relentless in my pursuit.
Alex Khvatov: What has been the coolest part of this whole draft process?
Mark Brazinski: The coolest thing to do is the metrics part. I have been able to see how I have improved on a week-by-week basis. I use physics and math to calculate it all. I am seeing how I am moving faster. I am finding how it all works. The traveling and doing these workouts have been cool as well.
Mark Brazinski: Tough, smart, producer, leader and hard worker.
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