Fast forward to 2008 and Barry comes in as a two-time All-MAC selection that is listed on preseason lists for both the Thorpe Award and the Nagurski Award. As a junior, the Rockets are going to rely on Church to even take it a step further this year and lead the Rocket defense back to respectability.
At the recent UT football media day, Rocket Digest reporter Karl Rofkar got the opportunity to speak with Barry for a few minutes.
Barry Church was asked to share his goals for the season, personal and as team, starting with personal goals. Church said his personal goals for this year are to make it to Florida for the Thorpe Award, and to be the best player he can be.
As for the team, "we expect to be one of the best teams in the MAC and compete for the MAC Championship," said Church. I reminded Church of the goal he and fellow safety Tyrrell Herbert had to lead the country in interceptions last season. Herbert went down with an injury in the opener against Purdue and derailed those ideas, but Tyrrell is 100% this year so it coule be a reasonable goal for this year. "We'll see....." Church replied.
Asked about the return of so many injured players, Church said that it is going to be a big help, especially mentioning the importance of getting linebacker Archie Donald back.
Many Rocket fans have been excited about the prospects of the UT secondary, and Barry shared in that excitement. Speaking specifically about the Rockets' first opponet, Arizona, he said "they have a really good offense, we should have a really good defense, so it should be a really good game."
Asked if the secondary could hold their own against that high-powered passing attack, he simply replied that they should. "Everybody's healthy, we got our safeties back, the corners are looking real good, we got a lot of depth in the secondary, so we should be able to hold our own against Arizona."
Barry Church, simply nicknamed "Church" by his teammates, has been a fan favorite since stepping foot at Toledo. The Glass Bowl often has signs raised with statements about Church. One favorite read, "Put on your Sunday best.....It's time for Church!"
Keep checking in with Rocket Digest over the coming days as we continue to bring the best coverage of Rocket athletics with more coverage and features of current Toledo athletes and prospects for potential future recruiting classes.