How has the news that you are a Playboy All-American gone over with friends and family?
(Laughter) I joke around. I've been hearing a lot fo jokes. I told my uncle that it gives him an excuse to buy Playboy now. It's been fun.
What about your mom and your sister; how are they taking it?
They're excited. They joke around, too. They're not too serious.
Have you ever seen a Playboy magazine?
(Laughter) My brother showed me one once in sixth grade. (Laughs) That's about it.
So do you go to the mansion?
I don't think we go to the mansion. I think it's a resort. So, it's fun. But it's not as hyped up as you think.
So, you don't get to go to the Halloween party?
No. We don't get to go to the Halloween party or nothing. (Laughter)
That's probably a good thing?
Yeah. I might not come back. (Laughter)
We're you surprised by making that?
Yeah. I'm surprised. It's a good honor. There are a lot of guys on our team alone that would be able to get that award. So it was nice.
Does it make you think that you've got something to live up to now?
Nah. I put enough pressure on myself as it is. I don't think that this will make a difference.
Have you hurt anybody yet with your tackling?
No. I haven't hurt anyone yet. We've just been getting after it, and everybody has been pretty good at staying away from injuries. I think that one guy has a concussion, but that's about it.
Did you hit him?
You can't hit the quarterbacks, right?
Is that frustrating?
Yeah, it's frustrating. It's frustrating not playing a game on Saturday. We get to scrimmage, but it's not all out. Quarterbacks ain't live. It kind of takes the fun out of it for the defensive ends. (laughter)
So, you'd like to nail Tate a few times?
Oh yeah. Oh Yeah. In a friendly way though. (laughter). He's a good guy, but I'd like to hit him once in a while.
Do you guys have to pull back any to let the offense catch up?
No, we're going out. The offense has some young guys, but they're doing some good things. No. We don't hold back at all. We've got four weeks to push it. We've got another four or five to relax.
How does John Babineaux look?
Oh, he looks good. He's going to be a terror next year. We've got a lot of good guys on defense, especially defensive line like Luebke and Derreck Robinson. We're going to look good up front.
Did he have an ill effects from the injury at all?
Oh no. He's flying around making plays out there. He's going to be huge for us next fall.
Is the defense the strong point of this team this season?
We've got a lot of experience and some good talent. We're definitely going to use our defense as one of our big advantages. But our offense is going to come around. We've got some good guys out there. Tate looks good.
Are there a lot of leadership responsibilities on you?
There are a lot of leaders. I try to lead on the field. I'm not too vocal. I like to set an example just by the way that I play hard. But there are tons of guys on this team that are leaders. The linebackers are awesome leaders. We've got Tate. He's stepping up now. I consider myself a leader, but I'm not big into that role. I like to do what I do on the field and then just leave it at that.
What is your favorite thing to do on the field?
Play ball and hit people. That's about it.
And sack the quarterback?
Oh yeah. That's definitely my favorite, but you've got to play them all.
Coach said that he was worried about some of these younger guys no realizing that this success didn't happen overnight. There's still a lot of hard work involved. What are you guys doing to try to kind of remind the young guys that this isn't easy?
I think they've realized by stepping on the field with some of the veteran guys and the way we work in the weight room; the way that we handle ourselves on the field; in practice. A lot of them are starting to get it once they found out that they're not third string anymore. They've got to step in and fill those roles.
We're going to be great. I mean, we've got the potential to be great as long as we come out and play. Everybody looks good on paper. But when the season starts it's a different story.
Would you put your linebackers up against anybody?
Oh yeah. If not the best.
Do you have a goal for sacks?
Get as many as I can. That's about it.
Before Busch got hurt, how was he coming out of there as a blocking fullback? Was he laying some hits?
Oh Yeah. Busch is a tough kid. He was a linebacker, but I think he found his niche at fullback. Yeah, he can bring the wood. He can hit hard. He can move. He can catch. He's going to be a good fullback.
You've been through the position change. What advice would you give to those guys making a move?
At first, it's hard because you're set on playing one position. But when you change, you've got to go into it withy everything you've got.
Coach Ferentz mentioned that if the defense has a weakness it might be depth on the defensive line. What have you seen from the young guys so far? What do you like out of them?
We've got some real good guys that will fill in. I think he was a little bit worried at first because we lost Neubauer who was a huge player for us last year. But we've got some young guys that are studs.
Can you tell me a little bit about the Mattisons and the Iwebemas?
Mattison is a fast, hard-working kid that likes to play hard. And we've got Willcox. We've got this kid George. We've got some other guys that are stepping up.
Do you guys set any goals to be the best defense?
We're going in trying to be No. 1. Anything less is not what we want.