Being an everyday player:
"A lot of fun. I was thinking about that the other day. Very few times I wasn't out there; last year I was only in 3rd and short situations. I'm looking forward to the challenge this week and being on the field a lot more."
"I've lost 17 or 18 pounds. I feel like I can be an every down player now; last year I couldn't do that. Last year it was important to gain weight. This year with it being off will help my game for sure."
Plays averaged last year vs. this year:
"I averaged 44 plays plus special teams. This year I'll be in 85-90 plays a game. This first game will be task; there's no way I can look past that. I love special teams - I don't think there's a better place than kickoffs. I think you can make or break a game on special teams. Missouri will be able to spread it out; it's going to be a tough task."
Being a leader:
"It's one of those things you take on as a senior. There were times last year J. Leman would say something; as a senior I have to be a leader on the field. Today I had one class so today I was walking about the quad making sure all the guys were going to class. It's a fine line; you can also tear your team down, but this is making me be a better player. We worked hard in the summer. It goes by fast."
Both teams being ranked:
"It's a great atmosphere. It's hard to understand unless your there. It's not a make-or-break game, but it's hyped up. Sold out - what else could you want? It's a big game - a game the U of I worked hard to get itself to. We went to the Rose Bowl last year and you're only as good as your last game and Coach Zook reminds us of that. Thinking about it kept me up until 3:00 a.m."
Playing this game first:
"You don't want to play teams you overlook. We pride ourselves in playing everyone the same, but sometimes that doesn't happen. We have a fairly healthy team. We're playing one of the best offenses in the nation, so I wouldn't mind taking them on first. I think they get better as the year goes on; I want them out of the gate. That's why I came to Illinois - we all believe in Coach Zook. I know Juice and everyone is excited."
Juice being hurt last year in the game:
"I think he took that loss to heart. He gives us the best chance to win; that's why he's the starting QB. He's made huge strides. He's good friends with Jeremy Macklin. It's a big game. He's a gamer; you could see that last year with the OSU game."
On Martez starting:
"He's gotten huge. He makes plays. I'm not worried about him. Sometimes I help him but now he's got it. He's the type of guy that's taken over the coach's role. He's only a sophomore, but he's teaching the game and it's making him better. I think the game is slowing down a bit for him."
Good luck on Saturday OK, thanks guys.