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"If we could've figured out what was happening (offensively) last year, we could've turned it around. I don't think we ever did. I don't think anyone on the offense was very good. Nobody had a big year for us. That was pretty obvious on my part. No position really stood out. This year, I think it will happen. We're a little more experienced at some vital positions. We've been through the ups and downs and we know how to handle just about every situation. Of course we're extremely hungry, coming off a bad year.
"Individually, I didn't play very well in 2004. Again, I don't think we were very good as an offensive team. I think after last season, everybody on offense has to look in the mirror. I think we've done that this offseason.
"I appreciate Coach Bowden taking responsibility for my struggles last season. But I think everybody needs to take responsibility. He does, I do, and everyone on the offense does. It's a team effort. We took it as a learning experience and now we just need to move forward. We need to store it in the back of our brain so it doesn't happen again. You have to move forward, and I think we are.
"We showed some improvement coming out of spring ball. A lot of the procedures and formations that Coach Spence brought in, we already knew. We had to pick up the new terminology quickly, of course. We still have a lot of work to do, that's pretty obvious. We were better offensively this spring than at any time last season."
On playing at a perceived "basketball school:"
"It puts absolutely no pressure on me. North Carolina and Duke have had very successful basketball programs for years. So I can understand why people say that. As far as fan turnout, it's a lot easier to fill a basketball stadium – especially the size of Cameron – than a football stadium. At the conference level, I don't think you can say it's not a football conference with all the teams we have now. When people say that, I don't agree. We would like more fans to come out for football. Who wouldn't?"
Does it bother you when you look around the room and see other players getting more media attention today?
"Not really. I guess it is something that will change with our primary goal of winning games and going to a bowl. But that's our job and one day we'll have more people lined up here for interviews and asking more questions."
What's the most fun thing you did this summer?
"Memorial Day I went to the beach in Tampa, which was fun."
What's one thing you are looking forward to this season?
"Just starting off on the right note, building camaraderie with the team and getting to know each other even better."
If you would change one thing about yourself, what would it be and why?
"My height. I'd like to be a little taller. Instead of 5'7", I'd like to be like 5'9". I guess I do what I do well at this height, but I'd still like to be a little taller.
What goals did you set for yourself this summer?
"This summer, I wanted to relax, to have fun. Most seniors tend to get complacent and content heading into their last year. I wanted to rest and have fun so when the season got here, I wanted to be here and not dragging it out. That was the main thing to relax and get focused so I could put all my energy into this last year and have the right frame of mind."
Who is the most versatile player on the team?
"Me and (Antonio) Cromartie, we can do multiple things. I would probably say me. I could actually play defense, play cornerback, return kicks, tackle, I can catch, so either me or Cromartie."
Which player on the team would be just as good playing offense as defense?
"Antonio Cromartie's name comes up again. He's a great cornerback but I think he would be really good at wide-out, playing wide receiver."
What has been the highlight or greatest moment of your FSU career?
"I've got several of them. Obviously, the NC State game when we won in overtime, that was big. Beating Chuck Amato my freshman year, beating Florida as a freshman and doing pretty well. I would say though, the Clemson game, when I returned that kick. I think that was a big momentum changer in that game. It was a Thursday night game, it was alive and it was the most fun game I've ever had."
What other sport do you wish you excelled at or pursued?
"Baseball. I played baseball in high school and I did really well at it without any coaching. I didn't really start playing it until my junior and senior year. I didn't really know the rules to baseball and I wish I would have played it younger because I did pretty good even without any coaching."
Who is the best player you have played against while at FSU?
"I thought [former NC State QB] Phillip Rivers was awesome. He was extremely competitive. He does anything to win."
On the progress you've seen from UNC's defense:
"It's a lot better. They have a confidence about themselves. I think their confidence level will be much higher this year, like, ‘We are North Carolina and your not going to run over us. We don't care who you are.' They did the same thing with Miami. A lot of people doubted them and they came out and gave 100 percent. The outcome was shocking. They were like, ‘We're North Carolina; we're going to put our foot down and make a change.' You have to give them their respect."
We're you surprised UNC beat Georgia Tech last year?
"Surprised…yeah, in a sense; I'm not going to lie. But at the same time, I wasn't as much surprised as I was disappointed in some of the decisions that we made early in the game. It seems like we gave up at times and missed out on opportunities and they took advantage of it. But there is so many possible outcomes to games and you might want to point the finger, but you never get anything done by pointing the finger."
On UNC red zone stops in the first quarter:
"I felt like if we had punched it in twice, or three times, it would have demoralized them. But the held us to a field goal. And then they thought, ‘If we stop them to a field goal, pretty soon we're going to stop them period."
Do you have anything special for North Carolina when they come down there this year?
"It's definitely a sore spot. That's the ACC. North Carolina was a bowl team last year and everybody wants to act like they were 2-10. They're a good team. They could run the ball and they have good players. We've got to come to play. It's not their fault that we didn't come to play."
Thoughts on freshman tailback Andre Brown:
"Andre Brown... Whew! I have seen him during our seven-on-seven workouts this summer, and just the explosion he has, at 230 pounds. He wants to work and he wants to learn. There is just something about a guy who wants to learn. He has a passion you feed off of. He is not one of these guy who just comes in chilling during seven-on-seven. He wants to know: ‘Jay, what do I do?' You can't help but think ‘This kid is going to be good.'
What do you think about Toney Baker so far?
"Baker is good. He's a good back. He catches it out of the backfield. He has a little move in him. He's a smart player and he wants to learn. He stays out there and he talks to Jay.
"Those two players, Brown and Baker, you'll be talking to them real soon. They are real good players."
What do you want your legacy to be at NC State?
"When you talk about NC State you talk about Torry Holt... you talk about the Koren Robinson's. That guy Tramain Hall, ‘he was a great player.' That's what has to happen.
"I'm working harder than I've ever worked. I want people to remember me as a great player. A great player that gave all he's got... all the time."
Thoughts on West Coast Offense:
"This is the West Coast offense. We've got six great backs. The four of them... the two newcomers. It's going to be a great offense. Everybody can't touch the ball but coach Trestman will make sure everybody gets the ball. This offense will put up points. That's what we plan on doing."
Thoughts on Depth:
"The thing is these guys are hungry. You know that if you go down, somebody is behind you that is going to take your spot. That's the way it has to be. Somebody has to push you.
"I know that if I go down, there's a young guy behind me, Levin Neal. A young guy, a real good athlete. He can probably come in and fill my role. That's going to push me. It's good to be pushed."