How great does it feel to be back?
It is awesome. It's great to be around these guys again. Taking the eight months off then coming back, I was a little rusty out there. I had to dust some cobwebs off but the enthusiasm and energy out here was great.
I got a little emotional. I was telling the guys walking down here that at one point I didn't think I was going to get this chance.
You are noticeably slimmer. Is that something that you wanted to do or did that just naturally happen through the strength and conditioning program? Are you where you want to be?
In terms of my size, I dropped a lot of weight taking the eight months off. Since I've gotten back, I've put on about 25-plus pounds, so I'm in the progress of gaining weight. I'm definitely going to gain more weight throughout camp.
In terms of my conditioning and my strength, although I've dropped weight, in terms of my maxes and my conditioning I'm better than I have ever been. My max has gone up in every area. I'm going to continue to work and grow throughout camp, and we'll see what happens.
Coach [Doeren] has mentioned that it was nice to see the depth NC State is developing on the offensive line. Where do you think the line is at right now?
First, I just want to touch on the incredible job I think the offensive line has done in the offseason. We've worked our butts off. From last year to this year, it is a different vibe from us. We are all focused in and we are all working because we don't want to be in the same position that we were in last year.
The fact that we have guys with experience, and those guys with experience are pushing the ones without experience, it is like we've become more of a family. The chemistry that we are having is great. It is phenomenal. We still have room for improvement and we are going to continue to work to get ready for Georgia Southern in our first game.
Are there any young guys that along the offensive line that have caught your eye?
All the young guys are working hard. One guy that I had an opportunity to work out with this summer, he was in my group when we lifted weights, was Tony Adams. He works his butt off. That's not to say that the other freshman don't also, but Tony Adams is, I think, a standout guy. He tries to separate himself from the negative energy that came go on outside of football and he is just really happy to be here.
What's it like working with Joe Thuney?
Thuney has a lot of background playing football at the school. He has a lot of football chemistry [with teammates]. It's been great. It's just awesome. Now that I'm back, I'm a little rusty while trying to get back into things. He's helping me and coaching me throughout the process too.
Being that he has that experience, it is definitely a great opportunity for the left side of the offensive line to do a great job.
Do you have any individual goals for the season?
I want to stay healthy. That's my main focus. Last year, I felt like I was really selfish. I really want to take this time to lead the offensive line, being that I'm the veteran, and I just want to see us do the best that we can.
[After] sitting on the couch and watching us throughout the pain that we went through last year, second chances don't come too often. I just want to be able to lead this offense to a championship honesty. So that's my goal.