When did you find out that you were getting the job and about Jermelle?
We had a team meeting one night. I think it was the same day Coach Ferentz announced it to the media that Jermelle wasn't going to be playing. I kind of knew then that either me or Albert would be starting. My reaction is that it is unfortunate that what happened to Jermelle happened. For me, it's a great opportunity. For Albert, it's a great opportunity. We hope to make the best of it. I wasn't real pumped up. I hope to do the best with the opportunity.
Are you kind of happy on the inside even though it's unfortunate?
I'm happy to get the start. I'm not happy that Jermelle can't play. He's a good friend of mine, a teammate of mine. You can't wish that upon anybody to get a start. I wouldn't want it to happen that way.
Are you going to start?
I guess that I shouldn't say that. I don't know. I think me and Albert, we'll probably get an equal amount of reps. I don't know who is going to get the start. I don't really know if it will matter.
It's got to matter to you, though. This is your shot. With Albert breathing down your neck and Jermelle starting this year, there might not be many opportunities to get a start.
Yeah. You're right. There isn't going to be many opportunities. But, if you ask somebody a year down the road who started, and they're really not going to know whether it was me or Albert.
Yeah. But you're going to know.
I will know. But I just hope to have a good game and things go good for me.
People are expecting a lot from you based on what they've heard of your talents. Can you live up to it?
You get to the point where you're just tired of hearing that. You just want to show people what you can do. This is an opportunity for me to go out there and do it and finally just back it up. That's my whole thing is trying to back up the hype.
Are there any nerves?
Definitely. It started today to tell you the truth. I started to get the feeling. Last year, I knew I wasn't going to play because I got hurt. But when I used to be in high school, you know you've got a game coming up, you start not to eat as much. You start anticipate. I'm just anxious to get out there and play.
How long did last year seem like having to sit and watch?
During the time, it felt like forever. Now, it just seems like things came up pretty quick. As you know, there is no offseason in college football. I was still practicing. The only difference was I wasn't playing on Saturday. Spring ball came up real fast. Summer went by just as quick. So, it doesn't seem as bad now. But while you're going through it, it feels like an eternity.
How much more prepared are you to play now as compared to this time last year?
A lot more when it comes to reps; learning the system. I had a whole spring to learn the packages and everything. I feel real confident about that. Everything is helping me out. As a freshman, you're just going more off of natural ability of getting things done. You're limited to so many things. Now, I feel like I can get into all of the packages and contribute for whatever they need me to.
Are there packages or formations where you're going to be split out?
(Huge smile) We'll see on Saturday. But...yeah, we'll see on Saturday.
The reason that he asks and I was going to ask was that coach said that you impressed on film in high school catching passes out of the backfield?
Yeah. I like to create a mismatch here and there. We'll see what Coach O'Keefe's game plan is. I call him the offensive guru. He knows what he's doing. We'll see. I'm excited to see what's going to happen on Saturday, too, and what coach has planned for this team. I just want to do what I can do to help the team win. If it's running, catching, returning kicks, it doesn't really matter. As long as we win on Saturday, I'm happy.
Jermelle loves returning kicks. Is that something you're excited about?
Yeah. It's another opportunity to make a play. Coach Wilson, we have a good special teams unit. They open up some things. As you saw last year with Ramon Ochoa, he had a great year. You see him do that, you say, "Shoot, I want to get out there and get the job done, too." You help the offense out by giving them good field position. It makes it easier on yourself.
When was the last time that you were really hit?
Probably the other day on goal line at practice. Abdul got in once. And Willcox got in once. That was the first real hits that I got. I got hit during the scrimmages and stuff. But that was first real hit. It felt good though.