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Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Exit Interview: DB Al Backey

By Michael Rothstein

‘Exit Interview’ is a concept started at WolverineNation last year where we chat with players leaving Michigan about their experiences with the Wolverines and in some cases, what’s next.

Cornerback Al Backey played in 12 games in his career, registering one tackle.

WolverineNation caught up with Backey last month.

Q: What was your four years like here? Did people know you were on the team? Did you keep it quiet?

Backey: It was kind of quiet. I feel like a lot of people didn’t believe me until I actually started playing and I actually had pictures of me playing. It was rough, but I’m proud to come out of there with good intentions. Of course, there was a little difficulty adjusting to a new coach at first. Getting there, it was hard enough impressed these coaches I was recruited by and then to move into another phase, just had to work harder. Just adjusting to the change with the new coaches was a challenge but I managed to get through it.

Q: How do you judge your career? Did you think you would play more?

Backey: A little bit of mixed feelings. When I first got there, I figured I wasn’t going to play for a little while. It was a big name, Michigan, and I don’t think I’m really capable. That’s what I’m thinking inside. Then I actually started playing and I started to get a little swag and started working harder because I felt I was going to play even more. Then a knee injury happened and things went on from there. Just stuck it out. Stuck it out as much as I can.

Q: Was that difficult after the knee injury?

Backey: Yeah. I did miss camp, which was an opportunity to show what I could do on the field. I wasted a year but felt I learned a lot off the field just watching. Took those skills to the time I was actually going to play. Went along still learning and training and getting better and doing what I can. My senior year, I was just doing whatever I had to do because I knew I still had that senior leadership coach Hoke was stressing for the longest. It wasn’t about me and my personal grief about changes and how things were going for my career. I was looking forward and doing what I was doing for my team as a senior leader.

Q: What’s next for you?

Backey: I’ve been here for the longest. I’m going to finish school before I do anything. There was some talk about playing Canadian ball and I was even thinking about switching sports because I’ve been playing basketball a lot and trying to pursue that or going overseas to any type of league. Regardless of anything, I’m going to finish school first so I have my degree and I have that to fall back on.

Q: Did you ever think about walking on here for basketball?

Backey: I have. I really have. One of my good friends I used to play basketball with in the offseason, he walked on and played for a little bit. If that was a possibility, yeah, I do have a year of eligibility left if I do want to go back to school and play sports and even hoop. I thought about it many times but the best route I was going to Michigan for was football, so I finished out my Michigan career playing football.

Q: Did you think about coming back for football next year?

Backey: The way my career was going, I’m not saying I wasn’t working hard enough or I wasn’t giving up or anything. This just felt like the right time. Plus, I was graduating anyway. That was the main thing. It wasn’t even about the sports. I’m graduating and have been going to school all year for the last four years. I figured I might as well concentrate on my studies and my future.

Q: What is that future?

Backey: I’m studying sociology and if I can pull of some social work, I’m actually thinking about trying to find something where I can work with kids or coaching or social working or something like that. I’m still looking around.