"Camp Higher Ground is Cincinnati's secret weapon," stressed Stepp. "This is the whole reason we've been so successful over the years and I love it. It can be a pain sometimes, but no pain, no gain. You've got to sacrifice to win and this is how we do it."
Like several of his teammates, Stepp is just starting to think about his career coming to an end.
"It's hard to believe I'm one of the old men in the locker room," said Stepp. "It's gone by fast and you hear about from the time you step on campus.
"I remember just like it was yesterday and I heard how fast it would all go when I was a freshman. I lived with a lot of upperclassmen over the years. Guys like Derek Wolfe, Evan Davis and Jason Kelce and its nuts as they are off somewhere else now and I'm the senior. It's going by fast, but it's been an awesome ride and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world."
No stranger to coaching changes, Stepp feels the Bearcats future is in great hands.
"With all due respect to all the former coaches, this is my personal favorite staff," he said. "As a fifth-year, I'm excited that I'm going to be leaving and Coach (Tommy) Tuberville, Coach (Joe) Walker and everyone on this staff is going to be here.
"I'm excited for all the guys as I feel they are going to have an awesome opportunity in the years to come and I'm proud to know I was part of the foundation."
One aspect of the Bearcats new coaching staff has caught Stepp's attention since their arrival on campus.
"I think people are a lot more comfortable now just being who they are," said Stepp. "It's starting to show up in their play and I think this is the best move that happened at UC ever. Our practices make complete sense. Everything we do makes complete sense. There is a culture of respect around here and not so much a fear of being called out or getting in trouble."
This season Stepp has some simple goals he's focused on and hopes to continue the standard set in place by those before him.
"I want to win, I want to win every game," he said. "We have to be Purdue and that is goal number one. My personal goals are not so personal. I want us to be the best defensive line in the conference. I know I need to dictate and hold others on the defensive line accountable by continuing the d-line standard we've always held for ourselves.
"No matter who has been the coach here, the players have taken control of the position. We have an excellent coach in Coach (Fred) Tate, but we call each other out and don't let one another slack off.
"The mentality in the room has always been the coach is going to tell you when you are wrong. But honestly, you should know the position so well that you know the play, down and distance and when watching film know what is coming up."