"At times I felt that way. At other times, I didn't. There's something weird about going against your own team in practice. It's so much harder than in the games. With Alonzo and all of them, they're hard for me to block in practice. That's why I didn't understand how we had problems some times getting pressure on the quarterback because when I was going against them, they were pretty tough. I think a lot of it had to do with inexperience. 'Zo was always behind guys like David Warren and Jamal Reynolds, so he had good guys to learn from. That's why I think he's the better of the defense ends right now. Charles Howard is coming along real well right now and Eric Powell, I think, is going to be very good. It'll just take some reps."
With Florida State's history in these preseason games, do you like these games and how do they help the team?
"Personally, I don't like them because you have to start earlier and you get an extra couple of weeks of pounding on you that all the other teams don't get. They're good, to get a head start. We get an extra week of wearing on your body, but you also get extra preparation and that helps you get ready for the rest of the season. I just like, after last year, being able to play before everyone else. Now everybody else can watch us and we can make a statement about how we're going to be this year."
How important is making that statement?
"We've got to slam our foot in the door this game and let everyone know we're back. We need to come out and dominate for four quarters just like Florida State used to in the past, just to get some of our respect back. Then maybe every team we play will start to fear us like they did in the past. I figure if things go like we want to after the Miami game, I figure everyone will start to have respect for us again."
It had to be hard to watch the struggles the defense went through last year. Do you sense already that it might be different with those guys?
"They had some hard times during the season last year with some bad games. But I think they way they ended with Virginia Tech -- I mean they played excellent against Virginia Tech and just totally shut down their running game and were pretty good against the pass, too -- that was a good game for them to get good motivation for the summer. I'm not worried about our defense at all this year. They've got guys with the heart and smarts to do it."
Have you guys gotten to know Chris Rix better this year?
"It helped to hang out with him. We did that a lot. One thing I've noticed about the guys from California is they are all a little different from everybody else. Man, it took us the whole year to figure out his humor. After hanging out with him, he's hilarious. You've just got to get to know his personality. Last year, I think we kind of mistook him for being too cocky and falf the time, he was just joking around about stuff. But we've gotten to know him a lot better this year by hanging out with him. He took us to King Buffet the other day -- we destroyed that place."
Quarterback is obviously such a huge piece of this offense.
"All we can do as an offensive line is assure him that no one is going to touch him. Let him know we've got his back and whatever decisions he makes throwing the ball, good or bad, we're still going to be there to fight for him the whole game. We're going to fight for him. Every quarterback has bad games, we know he's going to have bad games, but we've got to let him know we're going to be there to support him."
What do you think of the team's poster (featuring offensive line)?
"They aren't going to sell many tickets with that."