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Craig Nall

Interview with Former NFL Quarterback and Louisiana Native Craig Nall

by Lee Brecheen

Craig Nall
Craig Nall – Green Bay (photo property of Jim Biever, Green Bay)

April 4, 2011 – I really enjoyed watching Craig Nall play high school football at Alexandria High School, and also LSU in Baton Rouge, Northwestern State in Natchitoches, and seven years in the NFL, most notably the Green Bay Packers.  Craig is one down to earth, smart, and nice guy.  I really enjoyed asking him questions all the way to back to his high schools days to College, NFL, and currently about McKinney, Texas, where he now lives with his wife and two kids. I hope you enjoy this piece.  Even though he lives in Texas, he’s a Louisiana guy through and through.  He still loves his Northwestern State Demons, and still watches and keep ups up with the LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge.

 

LFM: Craig, how long did you play in the NFL?

Nall: Seven years. I was drafted by Green Bay in the 5th round in 2002, and then later in 2008 I was with the Houston Texans.

 

LFM: What teams did you play for in the NFL?

Nall: The Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Bills, Houston Texans. I had two different stints, Green Bay twice, Buffalo, Houston twice and then NFL Europe.

 

LFM: What did you like most about your NFL days?

Nall: Being in the locker room with the team, and practicing at Lambeau Field in Green Bay was the coolest thing for me.  Also to have the opportunity to play behind Favre and back him up for four and a half years, considering I only started 12 games in college I had a great career.

 

LFM: What are your thoughts on the current NFL Lockout?

Nall: There’s fault on both sides, but at the same time when our union is looking to see the books, and they ask our rookies to take an 18 percent pay cut.  Being a former player I’m for the union and players. I think it’s going to take some time because players were asked to sign off to soon without going through everything with a fine-toothed comb.

 

LFM: What did you not like about being an NFL player?

Nall: Politics is big in the NFL.  I always found myself battling former first picks every year bringing QB’s in Akil Smith and Tim Couch.  The times I did play, I did well but final first round pick I battled Aaron Rodgers (Current Green Bay QB).  It’s a business.

 

LFM: Josh Booty, Rohan Davey, and you all played in the NFL and all played at LSU at one time.  Do you ever think about those days competing at LSU with 2 other NFL QBs?

Nall: I still think about that.  I batted Rohan Davey.  Booty came in and won the job, but was benched at half time at the San Jose State game.  Next game they started Rohan (North Texas), then next week they started Booty for the Auburn game and for the rest of the season.  I wasn’t getting reps in practice anymore.

 

Craig Nall
Craig Nall – Northwestern State VS. Southern (photo property of Northwestern State University)

LFM: You finished at Northwestern State.  What are your best memories from your time there?

Nall: In Spring 2001, I transferred to Northwestern State.  I asked for release after Peach Bowl with Nick Saban at LSU.  Steve Roberts came in Northwestern State when 9/11 hit, which is something that stays with me for the rest of my life.  First game was against Southern in Baton Rouge, and I was eighteen yards from Bobby Hebert’s single yards in a game record.  We beat TCU at TCU in overtime.

 

LFM: How many years did you play at LSU and Northwestern State?

Nall: Four years at LSU and one year at Northwestern.

 

LFM: A lot of diehard Demon fans still think you were one of the best QBs to ever come out of Natchitoches; You and Bobby Hebert.

Nall: Cool statement, if fans think I was one of the best.  There were many before me.  I’m thankful for the Demons giving me the opportunity and it made me who I am today.  I’m listed as one of the top 100 players in the history of the school.

 

Craig Nall
Craig Nall – Green Bay (photo property of Jim Biever, Green Bay)

LFM: What was it like being a teammate of Brett Favre in Green Bay?

Nall: He’s really a simple guy.  He’s always said that he was tougher than a wood pecker’s lips.  I can’t fault him for retiring, un-retiring, and coming back.  I played in five regular season games in seven years, as a backup to Brett Favre.  I made a lifelong friend in Brett.  We golfed, and went hunting.  I visit him in Hattiesburg.  He’s a great friend. He gives advice not just about football.  I hope the public doesn’t forget what he’s done for the game.  There’s no one like him, and he’s one of the toughest football players I’ve ever been around.

 

LFM: What game sticks out to you most at Northwestern State?

Nall: We beat TCU at TCU in overtime.  I still remember losing to McNeese State for conference championship.  Coach Scott Stoker taught me how to throw the football and his dad, Butch Stoker, coached me in high school.  Scott knew my tendencies and strengths.  We lost 14 to 7 in 2001 at McNeese State.

 

LFM: Are you still close with former teammates at Northwestern or LSU?

Nall: Josh Reed, Terrance McGee, Robert Royal, Buffalo. Devon Lockett, recently talked to John Compton backup center at LSU, and Kyle Kipps TE at LSU.

 

LFM: Craig, you were in our magazine when we first got started.  Do you remember those days?

Nall: It’s been a while.  My first real interviews were with you Lee Brecheen, and it prepared me for the road ahead for being interviewed.

 

LFM: What’s your relationship with LSU even though you transferred?

Nall: I still like LSU.  I went to the Alabama game this past year.  I still cheer for them.  I’m proud to be from Louisiana, and at the same time I’m a Northwestern State Alumnus.  Those experiences made me who I am today, leaving LSU and making a name for myself at Northwestern.

 

LFM: When do you come back to Louisiana?

Nall: I’m coming to Louisiana April 27th, 28th, 29th, and 30th for a Camp and Combine at Louisiana College in Pineville for all positions for kids in 9th to 12th grade.  K-5 and 6-8 are just on Friday.  Combine is Saturday morning, like an NFL Combine.  Call 318-730-6958 for more information.  The camp is for our company www.YourFootballNetwork.com, or I can be reached at my training site www.QB1Sports.com.

 

Craig Nall
Craig Nall – Green Bay (photo property of Jim Biever, Green Bay)

LFM: Craig, who all offered you to play QB in college before you signed with LSU?

Nall: Florida Gators offered, but I turned down the offer.  That’s a 13-hour drive compared to the 1-hour drive to LSU.  Hal Mumme from Kentucky and Phillip Fulmer from Tennessee recruited me late, as well as several other schools.

 

LFM: Do you still keep up with your old Alexandria High School?

Nall: Yeah, I went by and saw my old high school coach, Butch Stoker, and Chris Gatlin who is the current head coach.  I always want to go back and help coach and offer my help.  Whenever I’m in town I always go by to show what I’ve learned from the NFL to the high school kids and coaches.

 

LFM: Craig, who had the strongest arms that you ever saw in the NFL and college?

Nall: Brett Favre makes throws that no one can do.  85 yards in his prime, and 75 to 78 yards when I was his teammate.  Aaron Rogers could throw 80 yards effortless. Michael Vick makes it look easy also.

 

LFM: Why are there so many quarterbacks in Texas who are DI?

Nall: It’s the type of programs and systems.  They’re more private lessons early on with Texas kids.  There are a lot of kids and its more competition.  Louisiana has a great reputation over the years and will get there.  There are also just more kids in Texas too.

 

LFM: You’re living in McKinney, Texas now.  Tell everyone what you’re doing these days?

Nall: Your Football Network.  The website is, www.YourFootballNetwork.com.  I’m also doing one on one quarterback lessons. We’ve been around the last two and a half years. The website for that is www.QB1Sports.com.  I live with my wife who is from Texarkana.  Five of my former teammates from Buffalo live close by.  We all seem to have moved close by.  Donald Driver from Green Bay also lives by me.

 

LFM: When did you decide you were going to train QBs after your NFL Career?

Nall: Probably when I had some interest after a Texas A&M camp with my former Green Bay Coach Mike Sherman, and picked up my first client from that.  I’m about to start working with more colleges and NFL players.

 

LFM: What advice would you have for a young QB in high school of college that’s waiting his turn to be the guy which is something you did in college and the NFL, and you were successful in the end.

Nall: Be ready and prepare like you’re getting a shot.  If you don’t, and you’re not ready, it will pass you by.  Take advantage to prepare as if you’re the starter and stay ready.

 

LFM: Why is the McNeese State game such a rival.

Nall: It’s like two different cultures and both teams seem to have the best programs for IAA in Louisiana for bragging rights.  Chief Caddo Trophy game, Stephen F. Austin and Northwestern State games are big games, but to me McNeese game was a bigger game for bragging rights in state.

 

LFM: Do you want to be a college coach of NFL Coach one day?

Nall: Never say never, but I enjoy what I’m doing.  My wife wants a team to root for.  I’ve been away from the lights, so college maybe, but the NFL I don’t think so because I have a family and two little boys who are three and one now who I want to watch grow up and be there for.

 

LFM: Craig, good luck with your quarterback training of all the top young quarterbacks in the United States, I know you’ll do well.

Nall: Thanks Lee Brecheen for all you do for Louisiana high schools.  It was good talking to you, it’s been a while.

About Lee Brecheen

Lee Brecheen, is the owner and publisher of La, Football Magazine and TV show. He is relentless in his pursuit for excellence. He initially broke into the business in 1992 as a football scout. It is his intent to be fair and honest to all high school players and coaches in Louisiana. Lee strives to be the most thorough and accurate researcher and analyst in order to give the best evaluation of all Louisiana high school football talent. He regularly consults with, and is sought by major college football programs throughout the country for information and advice regarding scholarship prospects from among Louisiana’s high school players at all levels of potential.