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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Getting to Know Keith Tandy sat down for a Q&A with the safety.

Check out some of the best photos of Bucs safety Keith Tandy during the 2014 season.

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The low-down: Keith Tandy is a safety entering his third year with the Buccaneers. He was selected by the team in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft out of West Virginia and has picked off four passes in the past two seasons.

Q: What was your childhood like growing up in Kentucky?
A: "I grew up in a small town. There wasn't a whole lot to do so, for the most part, what I did as a kid was play sports. I played football, baseball, basketball and soccer growing up. I played football, baseball and basketball throughout high school. I come from a big family. I have three brothers and sisters but my mom is one of 10 kids so we were always real close and always having family gatherings.

Q: What did your parents do for a living?
A: "My dad was a police officer and my mom is a secretary at the Board of Education."

Q: How and when did you get involved in playing football?
A: "I pretty much played football, every sport, as soon as I was old enough to play. Back home you could start playing in the third grade so when that time came I went and played. Pretty much all of my friends were playing so we had a good time. I never really had a favorite sport, I kind of just played whatever sport was in season. In middle school I was actually on two football teams and a soccer team at the same time. We always had middle school football practice right after school so I would go to that. Then my little league football coach was my uncle so he knew my schedule and he scheduled that practice later and we only practiced two times a week. Soccer we played on the weekends so I practiced one-on-one with the coach because I was a goalie."


Q: What positions did you play when you first started playing football?**
A: "On offense I played running back and on defense I played D-Line. I played pretty much all four positions on the D-Line."

Q: You were a great quarterback in high school. Can you talk about your high school career?
A: "I played quarterback and we had a pretty wide-open passing attack. I broke all the records for passing yards, touchdowns, single-season, single-game, career, all that. I think I ended up throwing for like 90-something touchdowns in three years and like 9,000 yards. It got to the point where I called my own plays my senior year and we ran a no-huddle so my coach had a lot of faith in me. I would come in before school and he would meet with me and go over the game plan and watch film."

Q: You never played quarterback in college. Were schools recruiting you to play quarterback?
A: "My high school coach sent my highlight tape to every school that had a mobile quarterback recently like Florida State and West Virginia. As soon as West Virginia saw my highlight tape they offered me a scholarship. When I took my visit, I fell in love with it the first time I went."

Q: Did they want you to play quarterback?
A: "Well, they asked me where I wanted to play and I told them however I could get on the field the fastest. I knew they had Pat White and he was going to be there for two more years. The game I went to when I visited was against Rutgers and they had Jarrett Brown who was playing because Pat was hurt and he was a year younger so I knew I wouldn't have a chance at all to play until three or four years down the road so I decided to play defense."


Q: You weren't set on playing quarterback? You didn't think of going somewhere else where you could play that position?**
A: "No, that was never my thought at all. My high school coach, that's what he wanted for me because he was a quarterback and he coached Tim Couch so he wanted me to play quarterback but honestly, I could care less where I played."

Q: What was the transition like from quarterback to defensive back?
A: "It was tough. When I first got there it was kind of overwhelming because I never backpedaled. I would play defense every now and then but I wouldn't practice there so I never backpedaled or anything. As far as being a former quarterback, it definitely helped me out. It taught me what the quarterback was looking at. I knew sometimes I was worried about how their body language would tell you about what's about to happen more so than where they line up at. Small things like that always help me out."

Q: You had a really good career at West Virginia. When do you think you hit your stride?
A: "It happened down here against South Florida. It was a Thursday or Friday night game so everybody was watching and I gave up two or three touchdowns in that game. My coach was like, 'We're not giving up on you.' It was my redshirt sophomore year. He was like, 'We're not giving up on you. You're our guy. Keep fighting through it.' Really after that I felt like my career started taking off. After that happened to me it was like, 'What else could happen to me? I've been beat on national television so nothing worse can happen.' Then the interceptions started coming and the big plays started coming. We had one of the best defenses in the nation my junior year. We still have a lot of guys in the NFL now."


Q: What were your expectations going into the draft? Did you have a feeling as to where you were going to be picked?**
A: "I didn't have any idea. You always see stuff on TV or whatever but I didn't know if teams wanted me to play corner or they wanted me to play safety because I did a little bit of both in college. I was focused on my training and trying to get as much out of that and trying to get as fast and strong as I could."

Q: To jump around a little bit, how are you going to look back at last year?
A: "The first thing is that it definitely was a good learning experience. I think we kind of came into the season and we heard that Lovie Smith's scheme was real simple but I felt that, as a unit, we didn't attack it the way we should… just the little details. I feel like that's what hurt us. You kind of feel like, 'I know how to play Cover 2, I know how to play man-to-man,' and you still try to learn details, but not the way you should. You saw not just me but the whole team progress. You couldn't see from the outside because we were still losing but one of the big things that we saw was that we were taking those small steps and getting better every game and every practice."

Q: What are you specifically working on this offseason?
A: "It's not really one area, it's a couple things. One of my main things is I have to get back to playing low. You start worrying about other stuff and you forget about playing low and how much of a difference that makes getting in and out of your breaks. I want to continue working on my body because now that I'm not playing corner I'm dealing with O-Linemen more and on special teams I have to get off blocks so I want to get more efficient. Another main thing is working on my pass-rushing skills. It's something I never did before."


Q: A couple off-the-field questions. What's your proudest non-football achievement?**
A: "It would definitely be graduating from college. I was a biology major and I took a forensic science class. It was my last class and we were working on a new technique to determine how long somebody's been dead. I had to give a 30, 45-minute presentation at the end of the school year. I killed that presentation. It was like the best moment of my life."

Q: If you weren't playing football, what do you think you would be doing? Something like that?
A: "I always wanted to work in forensic science and work on crime scenes and figure out how crimes were committed. The more and more I play football the more I realize I just want to coach and teach kids."

Q: What's your favorite TV show?
A: "My girlfriend's got me stuck on Scandal right now. I've been watching a lot of different TV shows like Scandal and Homeland.

Q: What's your favorite movie?
A: "Life"

Q: What kind of music do you listen to?
A: "I've got a little bit of everything. It kind of depends. I always hung out with everybody growing up and in college. I'd hang out with our O-Linemen from West Virginia and at the same party you'll see receivers from Florida. I pretty much listen to everything from Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney to Biggie, Lil Wayne and Boosie."

Q: If you could have dinner with three people, living or passes away, who would it be?
A: "My father, Martin Luther King Jr. and President Obama."

Q: Who is an athlete you looked up to as a kid?
A: "I always had one in every sport. In basketball I always liked watching Paul Pierce. In football it was Michael Vick – I played quarterback and wore No. 7. In baseball it was Ken Griffey Jr."

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