Q&A with Tracy Howard

Read on to see what sophomore cornerback Tracy Howard is saying just a few days before the team's season opener against FAU.

Tell me about the excitement going into Friday's game.
Yeah I'm real excited, it reminds me of high school. I'm excited to get out there and show everybody and how much we've been working and that we're ready.

So much has been talked about the defense. That's kind of been the Achilles heel for the team. You guys are going into the season with a little chip on your shoulders to make sure that this defense proves something.
Most definitely we know we have something to prove. We're going to go in there with a chip on our shoulder. We're going to play hard and we're going to play fast and show everybody that we can be one of top defenses in the country. We don't want anyone talking down on Coach D'Onofrio. We have his back this year. We're just going to go out there and prove it to everybody.

FAU has four quarterbacks and no one knows who's going to play. How difficult is to prepare for that? Or does that tell us that since they have four they have none?
It's a little difficult but we have an idea of who the two starts might be. We watch a lot films on those guys so we're going to be ready no matter who is in the game.

There's been a lot of talk about how strong the offense has gotten in the off-season? Does that get to you at all?
We're just worried about ourselves. No pressure. We're a team. There's no beef - we're happy for the offense. We're just going to work together as a team.

What did you see from the defense during camp that has you confident that you will be better this year?
I just see everyone making individual improvements. Everyone is just getting bigger and stronger in the weight room and things like that. People are being more mature with the playbook knowing their plays and not making mental errors. Everyone is just playing hard and fast, that's probably the main point that I like about the defense. Everyone is communicating. Older guys are helping the younger guys and things like that. I feel like we've made major improvements in that area.

How much have you improved since last season?
I've grown a lot mentally and physically. Physically just getting bigger, stronger, and wiser. Listening to the coaches more and accepting the coaching more and just being more poised is the best thing that's helped me out. Coach Golden is always talking about being poised and I think I took that as a major step this year just being more poised and playing relaxed.

Has the game slowed down for you mentally?
Oh most definitely it has just knowing the playbook.

Does it help you that you went through struggles last season?
Definitely if it comes easy I don't think it should be accepted. I like when things come hard. I'm glad I went through that last year. I didn't go anything bad I just started off slow and came strong at the end just going to stay strong from the start this year.

What advice would you give some of the freshmen that are going to see their first action on Friday knowing what you went through last year?
Just do what the coach wants you to do. Don't go out there and try to make plays on your own. Let the game come to you. Just play your role. Be calm and be poised, I know that'll be hard to do as a freshman but week-by-week it'll slow down for you.

Do you know anyone on the FAU team?
Yeah I know some players on their team. I know William Dukes, Trevon Coley I played with him in high school, and Tony Thomas I grew up playing with him. They're not going to be my friends when we play them.

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