I feel pretty good right now. I'm energized and excited, just trying to get better each and every day.
On when he moved to linebacker:
It was in 2007. My freshman year. We were getting low on depth and I just made that move to better the team.
On what the transition was like and how he has improved over the years:
My first year was rough but over the years I've learned that it's the small things that make the big picture come together. I think I just learned the defense and coming in and getting as much work as I can with the coaches to get better.
On things clicking this spring for him:
I think things are just a process, just getting better everyday, and I think everything just came together. Last chance to make a nice adjustment to the team and do something productive for the team, be consistent.
On what he has seen from the freshman linebackers:
I think all the guys, they come together, they are going to learn. They are really hungry and they really wanna get on the field, so I think with these guys coming in, depth is going to be one of our best friends this year.
On whether the problems with covering tight ends has been solved:
I think we've worked on everything we can to get better and I think that problem will be solved, yeah.
On overall career:
It's been a big learning experience. It's humbled me to come in here, really as one of the guys, and then drop off and realize it's not like high school. You gotta get better everyday and you really gotta listen to your coaches. Everything you do, even though it's small, means something big.
On whether he expected it to go different and when he realized his role as a running back wasn't going to work out:
I think after that redshirt freshman year, everything kinda just changed for me. I realized that the running back wasn't going to work and then Coach Shannon came to me with the linebacker proposition and I just jumped a the chance. It's been a real learning experience.
On whether people labeling him a question mark is motivation:
I really don't try to listen to the doubters as much as I can. I try to just block everything out and work better and just get everything from my coaches.
On what were the biggest learning experiences:
I think just coming in and realizing what things you have to do in order to be a linebacker. It's different than being a running back. There are more things you have to watch like tips from offensive linemen, the schemes of the offense, what route combinations are coming together in certain packages on the offense. I think that was something that really helped me out. There is more physicality on the defensive side of the field that I really had to get a grasp of.
On what point he started feeling more comfortable as a linebacker:
I think probably last year. I think the end of the year everything really came together.
On confidence coming over the spring from the linebacker position:
I think my confidence just shot up. Just getting better and getting the opportunity to start, this spring, I'm hoping to really carry over into this season.
On why running back didn't work out:
I really don't know. I think it was just my mindset when I came in. I think I was just kinda looking at things differently and wasn't really focused. I think as time went on I really realized the things that I had to get done in order to just get better and add something to this team. I don't wanna be here just to be here. I want to do something for the team.
On whether he played linebacker in high school at all:
I didn't play linebacker in high school, I played defensive end.
On how comfortable he is making all the calls and checks:
I think since I've learned the playbook, at first I was hesitant because I didn't know if I was going to be wrong or I was going to be right, but then I realized if I make the checks, all guys are going to play the same call. I realized that if I make the checks, somebody is going to know that I am doing something, and then they have to fall in behind me. So if I am on the same page as everybody else, that's good.
On whether he has went to any of the past great UM middle linebackers for advice:
Yeah, Vilma came in this summer and every summer. I think I learned a lot from him technique wise and the leadership role and just working hard and just doing what you have got to do to get better.
On him seeming like a quiet guy and if it is like that on the field:
I think, yeah I am a quiet guy off and on the field so yeah.
On how many snaps he has had at linebacker in the games:
I've probably had like two snaps for the team. They were just scattered over the years. I'd say maybe two years ago. Most of it has been on special teams.
On whether transferring ever crossed his mind:
No. I never wanted to transfer. This school is the school I always wanted to go to. I never would think about leaving.
On how he deals with not playing:
I just gotta brush it off. Tell the guys that I'm working out here and I'm working hard. Even though I'm not playing, things will come together. I think that's a sign of what's going on now.
On if he considers himself the favorite to start at linebacker:
I think it is my job to lose and gotta keep my confidence going and keep getting better everyday. Learning and just really coming in and trying to get better.
On what starting would mean:
It's been a goal of mine for the past two years. To finally get an opportunity to do that would mean everything in the world to me.
On it sounding like a Rudy story:
Haha, it's been a long road.
On what he has compared it to or has he talked to any past players about it:
Na, I haven't really talked to anybody about it.
On what he feels was the lowest point for him:
I think the toughest time for me was, I would say last year. It was the last two or three games, I wasn't really playing that much, even on special teams. I was just like there is something I have to do within myself to just get better and to get on the field and make sure that this doesn't happen again.
On whether he talked to any of the coaches about it:
Yeah, I talked to Coach Barrow. He explained to me that I just gotta get better. I wasn't consistent, I didn't know what I was doing here and there, and that was something he really harped on me, that you just gotta get better, to just get better.
On whether he has graduated:
Yeah, I graduate in December in Psychology.
On growing up in Alaska and what got him to move down here:
I moved down to Tampa my senior year of high school.
On what he knew about UM football growing up in Alaska:
I watched everything for UM football. I had T-shirts, I had the hats, I had memorabilia, I had all of that stuff. I was a really big UM fan. When I first got the letter in the mail I was jumping as high as I could. It was just a long road for me especially in high school. I had to leave my home high school in order to further my chances for college football.
On whether his psychology studies has helped him deal with things:
It has helped mentally a lot. It's given me confidence to just block things out, and which things to listen to and which things not to listen to, and to keep my mind focused on the goals that I have.
On whether he feels pressure from going from low key to a lot of people's attention:
Honestly no. I don't really have any pressure. It was just a matter of time before I got the chance to show the world what I can do and show my teammates what I have in order to help them.
On what changed to cause that:
I guess you could say the light turned on. It was just learning everything and just putting everything together.