You've been compared to Benardrick McKinney. How does that make you feel?
"It is a great compliment. B-Mac was a great player. To be anything like him would be a good accomplishment. Being compared to him and the things that he did here, that is a big compliment."
How comfortable are you feeling now?
"I am more comfortable than I was a year ago with the system. I just have to make the most of it."
What was it like being on campus as a freshman last year?
"It was crazy. People knew who you were when you didn't think they would know who you are. It was a crazy experience. Now I know what to expect. So, I'm more comfortable."
What is the difference between Manny Diaz and Geoff Collins as a linebacker coach?
"Coach Diaz is probably more calmer in situations than Coach Collins was. But they still have their go-get-it personalities. But I think Coach Diaz has a calmer way of going after it."
What have you learned from Coach Diaz?
"I have learned how to see the game from the offensive side. He has taught me how to read the offense, more than just being a good defensive player."
How did he teach that to you?
"The things that he set up this summer, we went over the little things that we could do ourselves. We watched film."
Is that what he keys on, the film?
"Yeah, he will set up the keys on the film, what things to watch with the receiver, tight ends, running backs. We used that over the summer to learn what the offense was going to do in certain situations."
How big was the summer for you?
"I think it helped a lot, just preparing us for this moment. The more we did in the summer, made the transition in fall camp quicker. I worked hard in the summer, not just waiting for fall camp to hit us in the face but attacking it. It helped a lot. "
Last year you came in recovering from a knee injury. This year, you know you are going to play. What is your mindset like this year?
"I'm staying strong, staying focused. I don't want to lose anything that I have gained so far, so I want to stay on the up and up."
People compare you to Benardrick McKinney. Who do you compare yourself to?
"I always looked up to K.J., K.J. Wright. The things that I heard about him coming out of high school, tall and lanky kid who is now an NFL superstar. Coming out of high school I always looked up to him."
Have you had the chance to visit with him?
"No, I have never met him. I've seen him play on tv and just know who he is. I look up to K.J."
You and your teammates went to a movie together last weekend. What do you get as a team doing something like that? [They went to see the movie Straight Our Of Compton-Gene]
"It is great bonding. We have been listening to N.W.A in practice. Reciting quotes from the movie. It was just a fun thing by all of us getting to see it. All of us had a little bonding thing. It was a fun deal."
Considering how young you are, did you even know who the group N.W.A. was?
"I knew who they were. My dad listened to them all the time, so I grew up listening to them. Even though I wasn't supposed to I listened to them."