You've probably been asked this question a lot, but how is the feel different this year than maybe last year at this time?
I guess you kind of know what to expect a little bit. Last year, we were working out here every day and you didn't quite know what it was going to be like. We kind of have an idea now. It's not going to be exactly the same, but it's nice knowing what we're working for.
You've probably been asked the Kenny question a lot today. I'm not going to dig too deep into it. But how have you guys approached not having him around?
We just have to take it one day at a time. We can't just stop working. Hopefully he'll be back some time soon.
Does it seem like you guys have missed a beat? I guess that's a tough question considering he's an all-Big Ten performer.
Well, yeah, every day since I've stepped on campus he's been here every day. So, it's a little different for me personally. But Alex is working in his spot right now, and he's doing a great job. It's just hopefully he'll be back sometime soon.
Coach Ferentz said he was confident that he's coming back. He put him on the 105. Are you guys looking at that the same way, that eventually he'll be here?
I don't think he would have put him on there. I mean, that's a valuable space. Hopefully he gets his issues resolved and he can come back to work with us.
Do you feel any different this year than you did last year – physically, mentally or otherwise?
I guess mentally, a little bit. Like I said, I know what I'm working for. I can see that first came, coming out into the stadium. I guess physically, Coach Doyle, every summer, he finds a way to get everyone bigger, faster, and stronger.
Do you guys set goals on yourselves as a D-line?
I don't know if it's a numbers thing, but consistency, definitely. There were a l;ot of missed sacks that we left out on the field last year and same with tackles. You can't really say, "I'm going to miss 10 less sacks." You just have to go out here and work on what you didn't do so great last year. Hopefully when you get out on game day, you won't make those same mistakes. The goal can be as easy as just getting better, you know, all-around better. Hopefully, that's what everybody's trying to do out here.
You read these publications and you see that Kenny is preseason this and Micth is preseason that. You and Matt seem to get left out of that equation a little bit. How do you process that information?
(Matt) told me this question was coming. I like it. Mitch has been over there taking pictures for the last half hour. When one guy gets picked out of a group, he's reflecting the whole group. If people are going to give them the awards, that's fine. They're deserving of them. Sometimes it gives us a little bit more motivation, not necessarily negative towards them, but just you want to work harder. You know, there's no…no one on the D-line…you know, we joke with them about it. I said to (Mitch) ober there, "are you done taking pictures yet?" He chuckled at me. We all joke around about it.
Matt's in a position that Jared Clauss played when he came here. He kind of eats up blockers and frees other guys up to make plays. How important is he to this whole deal?
He goes in there and works his butt off every day. And there are still people that don't know of him. Her wouldn't have it any other way. Like I said, he goes in there and works hard every day. Really the only recognition any of us need are the ones from our coaches and the rest of our teammates.
Has he taken you out to the pumpkin patch yet?
(laughs) Oh, I go up there all of the time. I go up and help them work when they need it. It's fun. I like it. They've got a good family.