Marvin Austin Q&A

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Freshman tackle Marvin Austin entered fall training camp at North Carolina as the top incoming defensive tackle in the nation. He spoke with the media for the first time following Saturday's scrimmage.

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On getting used to collegiate practice:
It's been exciting at practice. Just working out with the guys, getting acclimated to the team, and learning the playbook and stuff like that. Practice has been so upbeat that you think about being tired, but the way Coach Davis and the other coaches get you fired up before practice and during practice – the conditioning is hard, but you can deal with it.

On how he's done so far:
I think I ‘ve done okay. Coming in as a freshman and playing the position that I play – I have a lot to learn. Learning the playbook, learning how to defeat certain blocks. You see so many different blocks as a three-technique. It's hard, but I'm working at it.

On Kentwan Balmer helping him out:
He's helped me tremendously, just from a big brother standpoint. He's been in college for a couple of years, playing the position and seeing certain blocks – he's just like a big brother to me. That's why I call him ‘Big Bro.' That's basically what he's been to me. And I look up to him, to tell you the truth. I haven't had [anybody] to look up to playing football all my years, and now I've got somebody I can go to and ask questions, so he's been great.

On if he's had to rely on his athletic ability so far in camp:
That's a tough question. I was trying to rely on my athletic ability, just beating some blocks, but that's not what you're supposed to do. Coming off the ball – it's just hard for me because I'm used to being a pass rusher on every play basically. Now you've got to stop the run, and the game is much quicker. The quickness of the linemen was getting to me – they're just so quick. You've got to take two steps and get your hands inside, and stuff like that, so it's straight.

If the players enjoy the ‘Meet the Heels' event:
Yeah, it's fun to meet the fans. Tar Heels want to get this thing [going] with Coach Davis – it's a new era. We want to meet the fans and the people who support us, because we're nothing without our fans.

On defensive line coach John Blake:
That's my boy. Coach Blake – he's the reason that I'm here. He came up to D.C. talking about family, talking to me and he was just like a father figure to me. I knew that he teaches technique better than any coach in the country, and that's what I need to work on – my technique. Coming to Carolina is not far from D.C., and he came up there and it was like love at first sight… I see a lot of me in him. I hope to grow up and be like him someday.

On handling the expectations that accompany his recruiting class:
There's no expectations. They just want us to go out and work hard, and play as hard as we can. Do what we can do for our team. There probably are expectations from some of the fans, but we're just going to go do the best we can, and get better every day and get better every single football game. Be the best Carolina that we can be.

His personal goals:
Just to play hard every play. Be the best teammate that I can be, and that's by going to weight room, being on time to all of the meetings and stuff like that. Just the little things – Coach Davis always talks about the little things [are] what gets you ahead. That's what I'm trying to do. Just do the little things and let the chips fall where they may.

On this team's potential:
I think we have great athletes. I think we have athletes all over the field… We've got a whole lot of young defensive linemen, and we've done pretty good. We have good athletes – I don't understand why people don't think that Carolina has great athletes, or why people don't think that Carolina can have a good football team. With the coaching staff that we have – I think they'll put guys in great position to make plays and it's going to be a real, real fun season this year.

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