"I look at it as an opportunity. I'm not going to play anybody better. This guy is a freak of nature, and for me to get the opportunity to go against him [is good for me.] I may wakeup sore in the morning, but it's an opportunity. I don't feel like I'll play anybody any better."
What can we expect from the offensive line this year?
"I don't want to make any predictions because I may look stupid. But Adam Metts is the leader. He's a senior, and he's an impressive player. He leads by playing well, and if he leads like he's going to—and we follow—we can be something special.
"Jupiter Wilson is also impressive running. He's a good athlete for how much he weighs."
How does blocking for a quarterback like Ronald, who will run around some, change what you do?
"It makes it easier—a lot easier. I'm not saying I should get beat, but it makes my mistakes not look so bad. I feel sorry for the guy sometimes because I'm going against Julius. If I whiff, it makes me look stupid, but he's got somebody breathing down his neck all the time. I feel sorry for the guy, but we're all going to do our best."
What's this line been like as a group?
"Well, I'm going into my third year. All the guys that were here—Allen Mogridge and Ryan Carfly and others—and I'm one of the oldest people here, but we've adapted to that. There's not anyone [for me] to look up to, but I think everything's going to mold together. We get along well—everybody cuts up, and the best part of getting along well is when you can have fun and play jokes on people and not have them take it the wrong way."
Coach Bunting said that you are a different person than when he first met you. What have you been doing?
"I've been consuming food in mass quantities (laughing). It hasn't been working as well as I've wanted, but I've gained a lot of weight since I first got here, and even since last year. I finished the season at 255 (pounds), and I'm going into the season at 280."
In talking about other family members who have played football, you said that they helped prepare you for the "downs" of coming into college as an offensive lineman at 245 pounds. What "downs" have you gone through?
"When I first got to school, I called my Mom the first or second day and said, 'Get the bed ready. I'm coming home.' [In] one-on-one's my freshman year, I played center, and they used to fight over who got to go against me. That was embarrassing. I used to get beat about every play—well, not about every time; I got beat every time. It takes its toll on you."
How has the conditioning helped you this summer with Coach Connors?
"This summer, I was in a group called, "The Weight Gainers." He specified a program for each person. One of the best things that I can say about Connors is that not only does he push people, he knows what he needs to do [for each individual]. He prepared a schedule for those of us who needed to gain weight. We got on it and tried our best to gain weight. It worked well."
The offensive line has been the focal point of criticism in the past. Is there extra incentive for you guys, this year?
"We want everyone to respect us by the end of the season. We're not going out to make a huge statement. Offensive linemen never look for any glory, and we never get any glory. No one is going to get a big head [playing offensive line]. It's pretty impossible."
Individually, is there extra pressure on you, because you are the guy guarding the quarterback's blind spot? If he gets hit, he doesn't see it coming.
"You are right, and I learned the hard way last year. I gave up a sack against NC State that was a back-breaker that led to the defeat of the team. I run that play in the back of my mind, but you kind of have to move on. You remember things like that. It's not extra pressure. It's an opportunity and what you make of it.
"I can't say I do it the best or understand the pressure—I just don't let that stuff get to me. I don't think about it much. I just like to go out and try to hit somebody in the mouth."