How are the pumpkins coming along?
Great. I planted them all. I'm glad I don't have to pick them, that's for sure. It's about 15 acres.
What the feel for you and maybe you guys as a unit as compared to a year ago?
More comfortable. That's first off. And maybe stepping into a leader position. It feels good to be a guy to look up to and hopefully come through for the guys.
What did you guys take out of last year? You got bumped around pretty good early, but came on later.
Just knowing that it's a long haul; that you've just got to keep going strong the whole way and things will come around in the end.
What can people expect from you guys this year?
Hopefully a more solid unit; not have so many ups and down; get more pressure on the QB. That's one of our main goals because we didn't really do that last year.
What's the competition like with some of the younger guys like Jackson and Collins, etc.?
That's the fun of it. Everyday we come out here and we're competing against each other. Ettore is back. He's going to really help out if he stays healthy. He's a big dude. Bain is kind of jumping around to different positions. So, he's kind of pushing everybody.
I know this is something that you're going to say doesn't bother you, but I'll ask it anyway. You see guys like Kenny and Mitch getting a lot of publicity. Is it OK with you to be the guy that takes on blockers and does his job somewhat unnoticed?
Oh yeah. Look at us now. We're all getting attention. It's not an attention thing. I'm fine with it. It really doesn't bother me much.
Maybe if you grow your hair like Mitch you'll get more ink.
Yeah, maybe with a mustache and facial hair I'll get more attention. (Laughs) But that's not me.
What do you expect out of yourself this year? What did you look at in the offseason and say, "Hey, I'd like to pick this up a notch?"
Juts being more productive. I was doing most of my technique stuff right, I just want to get after it more and get more stats. It's not that I'm a stat guy. I just want to make myself more productive and help the team out.
How much weight have you added since last year?
I'd say 5-8 pounds. I'm about 275 now. (Doyle) said about five pounds every year is what he wants.
That's not really big for a tackle, 275.
Yeah, I know. But look at Babineaux and Luebke, they both weighed about 82 to 85 by their senior season. That's probably what Mitch and I are shooting for.
What enables you guys to get the job done as well as other guys like at Michigan when you look at a Gabe Watson?
Well, just the way that our defense is set up and it being a physical style of play. This year, we're putting a few more stunts in and stuff like that.
You guys were the young guys last year or at least the inexperienced guys. The same thing is happening right behind you this year at linebacker. How do you view the progress there and what do you expect from those guys?
They're all great athletes. There are still four or five of them still competing for the job. It's fun to watch. They're all picking stuff up really fast. But just like us last year, it's probably going to take them three or four games, but it's our job as a D-line to step it up and help them out.