What is it like for you to prepare for a game being a starter?
"A lot different. I was just a special team guy, but now I have a more important role - now I'm a starting linebacker."
On covering the TE last year. Is that your responsibility?
"I didn't play a lot there last year. They are big and physical. We still have to keep our focus on Jeremy Macklin and chase Daniel."
You were added to the watch list. Were you surprised?
"I was surprised because I've never really started; I played a lot. I was really honored."
What's the mood of the defense? You have a big challenge this weekend.
"We made a lot of mistakes and we've tried to correct them. We've just been preparing them and trying to play mistake free. We made a lot of mistakes last year. I can use my athletic ability."
Thoughts on playing special teams?
"I'm going to stay on special teams; I'm on them all but the FG unit this year, along with LB duties."
Chicago football players not wanting to play at Illinois - why the change?
"Coach Zook. Most of the Chicago kids were going to ND and Northwestern. Coach Zook is now showing them they can rely on Illinois being their home school and they can play here."
During the off-season did you watch a lot of film?
"After the spring game I watched a lot of film and also during the summer. I was making a lot of mistakes and I wanted to improve on those. I've made improvements. I was doing what was asked of me, but making improvements is always important."
How do you defend Chase Daniel?
"Keep him under pressure; make sure our d-line does that, too. He's a good QB, and we need to give him different looks."
Thank you Martez