Austen Arnaud Q&A

A year ago at this time, Austen Arnaud was the jewel of what turned out to be Dan McCarney's final recruiting class. Now the local high school star is adjusting to life as a backup to an All-Big 12 quarterback, all the while having to prove himself all over again to a new staff.

Q: First of all, I think probably a lot of people would have assumed that Bret had the starting job, but Coach Chizik has made it perfectly clear no one inherits leadership, so how excited were you when you heard that you would actually have a chance to compete for the starting position?

ARNAUD: I was definitely excited. Bret has been in the Big 12 for three seasons now and he's a great player. I learned a lot from him and behind him. I'm just going to keep pushing him every day and he's going to do the same for me, just keep pushing each other, that's what we're going to do for each other.

Q: When you look at the system, the offensive scheme, Coach McFarland said he's going to open it wide open. How are you feeling about that?

ARNAUD: I feel great about it. I mean, it's up to him; it's not up to us. So whatever he wants, I'm going to be fine with, no matter what it is.

Q: What do you think so far of the offensive line playing before you? That was the big question. How's that looking?

ARNAUD: I think we're fine. Every day, it doesn't matter what position it is, everybody's going to get better and day by day the offensive line will get better . . . quarterbacks, receivers, everybody.

Q: What did you think of Coach Sheppard's workout routine, and how are you feeling after five weeks of his system?

ARNAUD: Coach Sheppard's definitely getting us right, you know that's what he's always talking about, getting right. That's what we're doing, Coach Sheppard's a great strength coach and . . . hope to move forward.

Q: Are you feeling bigger, stronger, faster? Tell us how you're feeling afterwards.

ARNAUD: I'm actually . . . my weight's up, so I'm bigger. We haven't tested on running yet but I feel faster, I feel lighter on my feet, so . . . it's definitely a positive.

Q: Did you get a chance to run any plays today with the ones?

ARNAUD: No, I didn't. I didn't run any plays today with the ones, but you know, I'm going to keep trying, keep pushing to be the number one guy, just push Bret every day.

Q: Have you had the chance to work with number ones over the course of spring practice so far?

ARNAUD: Yeah, I've gotten my chance and, I mean, it works the same with everybody, we've just all gotta keep pushing, go at it every day, getting better.

Q: Austin, last year at this time it seemed like you were content, you were a true freshman and Bret, with all he'd done, you were content to be the backup. It sounds like maybe not so much this year.

ARNAUD: Um . . . backup, starter, whatever it is, I'm going to take it. And Bret, he's been in the Big 12 for three years and he's definitely been around for a while. It's just that we both work with each other, get each other better by correcting each other's mistakes every day.

Q: But as good of friends as you guys are, you would like to be the starter.

ARNAUD: There's always competition.

Q: What about this offense? How much fun is it to play in this offense?

ARNAUD: It's a lot of fun. We do a lot of different stuff. I'm still having trouble learning it a little bit now, but once we get it down, we're going to be tough to stop.

Q: Are people worried with the learning curve right now, I mean is that kind of the main focus of attention, just picking up this new coach and his new systems?

ARNAUD: Exactly, it all comes down to details with the new stuff. I mean, for me, footwork, for the running backs, getting your blocking assignment right; it's just all the pieces of the puzzle going into one, we've just all got to work together.

Q: They've stressed that every position is open, but can you really feel that among the players, that they're feeling like they're either having to fight to maintain their position, or that they've got their best chance yet?

ARNAUD: Exactly, with this staff, I mean, everyone's working, their busting their butt every day, they're just working and working and working, just to be better and to be that starter. I doesn't matter who you are, you've got to work and work and work.

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