How much does the blitzing help you guys up front?
It helps us a great deal. It takes a lot of pressure away from the defensive linemen, for the offensive linemen to pick up the linebackers. Even our free safeties are blitzing. That allows us to be free at many times and one-on-one blocks.
Does that leave you vulnerable at times?
It can, but we put that a side and sometimes you have to go forward. It's all about taking risks.
Talk about the maturity of the front line and how much has that helped you guys?
We don't have any seniors on the front line, and I consider myself as being an upperclassman.
We've become a defensive front that could be compared to the best in the nation. That takes a lot of hard work and dedication.
Were you overjoyed when you heard that you would have the opportunity of being moved to defensive end?
The way I see it, you can move me anywhere as long as I'm able to play and capable of helping the team out.
When I was told it wasn't that big of a surprise. I'd been told I come off the ball real well and now that it's my permanent position, I love it. I just have to make the best of it.
Manny, just how fast are you? In the 40?
Oh, man. Last time I ran the 40 was my freshman year. I'm now 35 pounds heavier. Do I think I lost speed? I don't know, you'd have to ask some of these guys.
My time was a 4.36.
Talk about Coach Herring. Is he always breathing fire around here and in the meetings?
No, most of the times when he's intense is at practice. That's what we need. We need an intense coach and that's what he's bringing to us. Whatever we do is great, but you can always do better. To know that you have a guy that supports you that way, only great things can come out of him.
You're still a little small for the prototype defensive end. Do you feel at times that you give up too much size?
A little small? Nah, we've got to take that little bit out... I'm 'slightly' small. Nah, I am small compared to most defensive ends.
Whenever I do get locked on to an offensive tackle, I do kind of sense that I'm getting pushed out of the way because of my size. But, I can't let that stop me. I don't stop doing what I have to do, and I think my size helps me coming off the end.
Has anybody tried to pound you yet? Just run right at you?
Not that I know of. I've heard talk that teams may try to do that, but it's hard to pound somebody that doesn't want to get touched at all.
Running Back T.A. McLendon
Do you see things in practice from Jay and Marcus that makes you believe they will be a good college quarterback in the future?
Oh yea. Jay, I consider him more of a pocket passer. If you give him the protection he needs he'll find the right guy. Marcus is more of a pocket passer too. If you give him the time he'll find the guy, but I feel if it's not there he's going to scramble. He's a good scrambler, you seen it last Saturday.
You talked last week about how tired you are about people talking about your health. How much of a motivation is that for you?
I think at that point you run with a purpose. You get so tired of hearing it so much. Just leave it alone, and let's not talk about it anymore. I've had injuries in the past and it's the present right now. If I get hurt later that's when you talk about it. Let's not talk about it now. I feel okay.
I don't use it as motivation. I go out there to play. Ya'll talk about it a lot, and you write about it a lot. I don't use it as motivation. I'm going to do what I can to help my team. My motivation is to win.
Do you feel tougher to bring down than you've ever been??
I don't know. I still run with the same style, and I don't want to be taken down... ever. If I feel like I can stay on my feet, then I'm going to stay on my feet.
So we can see you returning kick offs in the near future?
I was hoping to do that on Saturday, but he kicked them too deep. Coach put me back there for a reason, and I'm looking forward to doing it. It's fun.
Do you think teams are going to load the box to stop T.A.?
No, if they put eight in the box they are asking us to pass. The play action's going to be real big. You have eight in the box with three deep and the safeties up. We're going to have one-on-one coverage and with the kind of receivers we have they can go out there and get it.
I'm not worried about that, just because they had two bad games. They can't play bad all the time. They are going to get better. They only have room to get better.
So, I'm not worried about the passing, and I know the coaches aren't either. We're going to throw the ball eventually. You can put eight in the box if you want to... you're going to get burned sooner or later.
How fast is Manny Lawson?
I don't want to race him. I knew he was fast, but I didn't know he was that fast. His legs are just so long. It's crazy.
Do you like running over or running past defenders better?
I'd say I like to run over the defense because you wear them down. Once you hit a corner or safety so many times they are not going to want to hit you anymore. You see it in the NFL or wherever. You hit them so many times, and they don't want to hit you anymore.