Sept. 8, 2006
Senior corner back Ambrose Wooden enters the 2006 season looking to build on a strong junior campaign that saw him start all 12 games for the Irish at corner back. One of the team’s most improved players in 2005, Wooden finished third in tackles with 61 solos and 13 assists for 74 on the year. He picked off a pair of passes and recovered a fumble while being credited with five pass break ups. Wooden led the Irish with a career-high 12 tackles (10 solo, two assists) in the opening win versus Pittsburgh. He had interceptions versus Washington and Tennessee and had a big fumble recovery in the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State. GameDay’s Brian Lasky gives Irish fans a chance to get to know Ambrose Wooden.
Lasky: What is your major and how did you get interested in that area of study?
Wooden: I am finance major here at Notre Dame. I have always been interested in numbers and the stock market.
Lasky: What has been your hardest class and why?
Wooden: My most difficult classes have been Managing Financial Institutions or Business Forecasting.
Lasky: What is your favorite class and why?
Wooden: My favorite class is U.S. Latino Spirituality. It’s a class where I can broaden my perspective on spirituality, especially from the point of view of another culture.
Lasky: What made you pick Notre Dame over the other schools you were interested in? What were the other schools?
Wooden: As soon as I got to Notre Dame, I figured this was the place for me. I thought the atmosphere was amazing. The other schools I looked at were Stanford, Boston College and Maryland.
Lasky: To date, what has been the highlight of your Notre Dame career?
Wooden: The highlight for me has just been going out everyday and playing. From practice to the games, it’s all been exciting. To be able to experience this atmosphere is just amazing.
Lasky: Who were your sports idols as a kid and why?
Wooden: My sports idols growing up were Deion Sanders, Chris McAlister, Michael Vick, and Adam Wall.
Lasky: As a football player, is there any one player you modeled your game after?
Wooden: The players that I try to be more like are Chris McAlister of the Baltimore Ravens and Deion Sanders even though no one can be like Deion.
Lasky: Who has been your biggest non-sports role model and why?
Wooden: My biggest non-sports role models would be my mom, dad, brother and sister. They have all had different experiences that I have learned from and have helped guide me through my life.
Lasky: What is one thing in your life that you cannot live without?
Wooden: I can not live without my family. They are my backbone. They keep me going. Whenever I have a tough time, I can call them and they make it that much better.
Lasky: Do you have any pre-game rituals?
Wooden: My pre-game ritual is that I have to drink red Gatorade. I am superstitious about that. I also write, “one play at a time,” on my wristband.
Lasky: How do you think you’ve grown as a person since coming to Notre Dame?
Wooden: When I came to Notre Dame, I came in as a young man. I am beginning to develop and understand how there are positives and negatives in life. You are going to experience bad things in life. It just depends on how you respond.
Lasky: How and what do you do to balance your schoolwork and football?
Wooden: I try to stay focused on what needs to be done and stay ahead as much as you can. That can be impossible here, but you just have to do what you can.
Lasky: If you were stranded on an island and could only eat one meal, only listen to one song, and spend you time with only one person; what would you eat, what would you listen to and who would you pick?
Wooden: I would eat my mom’s fried chicken, listen to Earth, Wind, & Fire and bring a family member.
Lasky: What CD do you have in your collection that would surprise people?
Wooden: I have Gavin McGraw, and Aerosmith, among other CDs.
Lasky: What would a movie about your life be titled and who would star as you?
Wooden: A movie about my life would be called, “The Long Run,” since it has been such a long road in my life. Will Smith would probably play me.
Lasky: Who is the best athlete that you have ever competed against?
Wooden: Reggie Bush is the best athlete that I’ve ever played against. He is a great player.
Lasky: If you had the chance to play golf with anyone in history, besides you, who else would be in your foursome and why would you pick those three people?
Wooden: My foursome would include Tiger Woods because he is the best at the game, Martin Luther King since he was a great African-American leader and Michael Vick because of his athletic ability.
Lasky: When your football career is over, what do you see yourself doing?
Wooden: I see myself doing as much as I can for the community. Giving other kids the opportunities that I had to attend a great high school and come to a place like Notre Dame even if it is not Notre Dame. I want to just try to get them a college education.
Lasky: What is your favorite thing about playing for Notre Dame?
Wooden: I like everything about playing football at Notre Dame especially the camaraderie on the team. You cannot simulate a game here. There is nothing you don’t like about game day from the walk to coming out of the tunnel.
Lasky: Describe what it feels like on game day and playing Notre Dame stadium?
Wooden: Game day at Notre Dame Stadium is a feeling that you can’t describe. You get chills down your neck when you come down that tunnel. Once you run out on that field, you have all the screaming fans which is something you can’t match anywhere.