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What are your initial thoughts about starting training camp?
"I think everybody's really anxious - I'm anxious myself, I've been dreaming about coming to practice. I don't think I've ever dreamed to come to training camp before. ... I'm just ready to get it started. ... We talked about a lot of things last night at the meetings. We just have to mature as a team and take it upon ourselves - we can't let everything fall on the coaches."
Is there concern about depth on the offensive line?
"We feel like on the offensive line we have eight guys that can come in and play so we don't think it's as big an issue as the media is making it out to be."
How much will you guys miss Calvin Darity and Garrett Reynolds this year?
"I've got to try and be like the older guys when I came in and teach the younger guys like they did. I think everyone who goes through this program learns they have to be a leader."
Who's faster on this team - the defense or the offer?
"The defense is definitely faster. The offense is going to be really good - T.J. Yates is one of the smartest players on this team and it'll be a challenge [in practice] for us in the secondary - but I'm definitely looking forward to the challenge."
On Donovan Tate:
"I actually just got off the phone with him right before camp. I'll probably talk to him later on right before we go to practice. He said he would be down here tomorrow. But every guy has to make his decision, and I wish him the best both ways. But I definitely don't think he'll be coming to school."
Are you prepared to be a leader of the young wide receiver unit?
"Just being around Hakeem and Brandon and Brooks, they mentored me as my career began and they taught me how to be a player ... and how to be a better leader."
What do you think about being ranked No. 20 in the preseason coaches poll?
"That's pretty big, but we haven't even played a game yet, so I'm not too big on preseason polls ... I'm always going to be more hungry than the expectations and that's what's going to keep pushing me to become a better player."
On the freshmen:
"We have one of the top freshman classes coming in. A lot of those guys are very good athletes and I'm just ready to see them go out there and play. They all came in humble, ready to learn and ready to work, so the sky's the limit for somebody that wants to do it."
On Robert Quinn:
"Robert Quinn plays a huge role on this team… That boy is a freak of nature. He keeps the ball contained and brings them to me."
Is it fair to say the defense is ahead of the offense heading into training camp?
"I have no idea. Hopefully we can see today. People say that the offense has young receivers, but we haven't practiced against them… But we always want to be the best defense on the field on that Saturday. That's our goal."
Were you there when Zach Brown ran his 4.28?
"Yes – I was surprised like everybody else was. I knew he was running fast, but I didn't know it was that fast."
How does that speed help at the weakside linebacker position?
"He can make a lot of plays over there. You just have to be in the right place. If he knows his stuff, he can make a lot of plays."
On his move to middle linebacker:
"The MIKE is important in our defense, because you've got to know everything, make sure everybody is in the right spot and make the calls… My freshman year I played a little bit at MIKE, but I was young and I was lost in there. But now I'm comfortable, so I've just got to make the calls and stuff like that, get people lined up."
On the 2009 season:
"I think we are totally capable of winning every game. I don't see any games on our schedule that are not 100 percent winnable, that we shouldn't win. This team can be as great as it wants to be. We can be as good as we're willing to push ourselves."
How do you make the next step following some of the bad losses in 2008?
"What's interesting about four of our five losses last year is that we were ahead in the fourth quarter. I thin there's going to be a big emphasis on finishing the game this year. When you're ahead four out of the five games in the fourth quarter, there's obviously some sort of problem in finishing and I think there's going to great importance put on finishing and making those strides to finish on top."