Ryan Houston Q&A

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- After sitting out the entire 2010 season, Ryan Houston is ready to assume the starting job this fall. The senior tailback spoke to reporters for a few minutes on Wednesday.

What was it like to sit out last season and how are you approaching things now?
"It was real hard sitting out watching the team, especially with all the things going on last year, but everything happens for a reason. And I feel like that just made me hungrier for this year, and everybody expect us to be as good or not play as well as last year or just because we don't got enough people coming back or just like that. It just hurts me as a football player trying to just go in to UNC. I just can't wait to play again. Sitting out, I've been really out for like two years. I didn't get to participate in the spring last year. My last game was the '09 bowl game, and that's a way long time ago, so it's just to get back on the field with my teammates is a great thing."

Is your weight and conditioning at where it needs to be right now?
"I've been working hard. It's not like I was just not doing anything. I was always working hard, preparing for this day, so I always can get better, but right now I feel like I'm fine right now. But I'm always going to be trying to get into better shape, trying to get bigger, faster and stronger for the upcoming season."

Do you think it may be some kind of a blessing in disguise because of how thin the running back position group is this year that the opportunity is there for you by missing last year?
"It's kind of a blessing in disguise, because if I was to play last year, everybody would have been gone, and we would have had a fresh start at running back. We have Bryn Renner coming in as a quarterback and he's going to need some help, kind of an older guy to mix things around. We've got a great O-line this year, and I feel like that everything is just coming together. All of the pieces to the puzzle are there."

It's been a log jam at running back the whole time you've been here, but now it's just you. What's your take on the position as a whole?
"I'd say we got a lot of good running backs. You know Gio [Bernard] is coming back, slowly but surely. Hunter [Furr] did some great things last year, and I feel like we've still got kind of a running back by committee thing. I'll bring something different to the table, and I feel like that we'll be more experienced. Hunter is way more experienced football-wise than he was when he first got here. He's still learning some things. Gio is learning some things, and Travis Riley coming in here will learn some things. We've got a good backfield."

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