Q&a -- J.r. House

March 05, 2007|By Jeff Zrebiec

The Orioles signed House, 27, who was in the Houston Astros organization last season, as a minor league free agent in November. A catcher by trade, House also can play both corner infield and outfield positions and is trying to make the team as a utility man. As a high school quarterback, House threw for 14,457 yards to set a national high school record since broken. He temporarily gave up baseball and went to West Virginia, where he was the third-string quarterback in 2005.

What do you think your chances are of making the team? -- I don't know. I think a lot of it comes down to how well I hit in spring training and just making an impression on the whole staff. It's hard to tell what is going to happen with injuries and how everything plays out. I just want to have a good spring.

What are your impressions of the team? -- I think there is a lot of talent overall on the team. I think it is a team with a lot of veteran players, but also some up-and-coming young players. It's a good nucleus and it's a great clubhouse to be a part of. We have fun every day.

Who is the toughest pitcher you've ever faced? -- I go with [Roger] Clemens. I got to catch him and he's the best. He really is. There are not many like him.

How much hatred exists between the West Virginia and University of Maryland football programs? -- A lot of it is involved with the coaching staffs. We are no-huddle [offense], and they are known for trying to pick up our signs. It's a pretty good rivalry they got going. It was always exciting. I just remember when we went to their place and beat them in '05. [Coach] Rich Rodriguez came in and he just went crazy. We starting going, "This is our house. You must protect your house." It was like [Terps coach Ralph Friedgen's] Under Armour commercial. It was a good time.

How tough was it to give up football? -- Coach Rodriguez asked me to come up and try to win the job. They didn't have a quarterback at the time. My arm didn't get healthy until the sixth game of the season, and by then, Pat White was in control. He was running for 150 yards a game. If there was an opportunity to be the quarterback there, it would have been a very tough decision, but it was under control. Pat White was a great player. He may win the Heisman one day.

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