Victor, how would you assess the first week of practice?"I think it has gone pretty good and a lot of guys are getting in shape and working on fundamentals and building up toward Georgia Tech through training camp, and I think we have progressed through that goal."
Coach Oliver said "to turn them loose" is sort of a motto for you guys. Have you seen that in practice?"I think so. Guys have been turning it a little more loose in practice and being more aggressive and working on things that can make us better as a team. That includes pass rushing, and I think you need to be let loose to be a good pass rusher."
How would you assess the competition going on, on the other side of you?"I think it is going pretty good and I think it is a healthy competition all around. Guys are pushing other guys to get better and it is only going to make us get better as a defense."
You have played with all of those guys on the opposite side. Is there a guy who you think really compliments your game?"I think they all have their individual strengths and I think all of them work well together with the D-Line. It doesn't matter which one is in there I just know whether it be (Ronald) Talley, (Chris) Frome, or JB (Justin Brown), any of those guys can be in the mix and I have complete faith and confidence in any of those guys. Even the freshmen because they have been busting their butts too, so any of those guys they put in there I have confidence they can do the job."
Are there a lot of tweaks to the defensive line and defensive ends this year?"There is a lot of stuff going in all around. Little tweaks here and there and it is not just one position as we are trying play toward the individual strength of everybody on defense, not just the D-Line."
Do you trash talk when you are out there and try to intimidate the other guys?"I'm not really much of a talker when I'm on the field. I'm pretty quiet and play my game instead of playing other people's game. If they're talking trash, let them talk trash as I'm really not a trash talker."
Do you feel you are going to have a break-out year and if so why?"I think so. I have been working on a lot of mistakes that I made last year. I have watched a lot of film and have seen how close I came to making a bunch of plays that I didn't make. It's kind of little things. Like working on little things that will help you out and make you a better player that can translate into making plays on the field. Just a bunch of little mistakes that you can easily correct that will make that much of a difference."
Last year your leg was holding you back a little. How are you now?"Now all systems are go and I'm feeling real good and feeling the best I have in awhile. A week into camp the body is a little tired, but as for being healthy, all systems are go."
There has been a lot of praise of Sam Young to this point. When you were coming in much of the same was said and thought of you. How did you handle that and what is your impression of Sam going against him a little bit?"Looking back it was tough coming in and being able to compete with guys that are bigger, stronger, and faster but when you look at a guy like Sam Young, physically he doesn't look any different then a fifth year senior. Physically he is further developed than I was so he is kind of better equipped to deal with all of this than I was and mentally he is just the same. He doesn't really act like a freshman, so that is what helps him in that respect and the sky is the limit for him as long as he keeps working hard."
Were you surprised how developed he is for as old as he is?"Definitely, it is surprising. I remember when I was a freshman, people called me a man-child. Now I know what they were talking about when I see that size and kind of talent in such a young kid. So I now understand why people call young freshmen who come in with that talent, a man-child."
How much did Justin Tuck help you when he was here and do you still talk to him?"He helped me immensely by just learning how to play the game through different techniques and little tips here and there. He mainly was a big brother to me and showed me how things are done and what is expected of you to play the defensive line at Notre Dame. Coaches can always tell you what to expect but sometimes the best teacher is a player who has actually been there and gone through it all. And yes, I still talk to him."
How do you help the young guys?"Funny that you ask that because yesterday we were in this same room, and I was helping young guys with their plays and stuff. Sometimes with the coaches explaining it, it's kind of tough sucking it all in. But coming from a player and knowing what to expect before the ball is snapped and where you are supposed to be and how you are supposed to play different things, sometimes it's better to hear this from players because we are the ones that are actually on the field and actually dealing with those kind of things."
Are they pretty receptive to your suggestions and tips?"Oh definitely, the freshmen are very receptive. They are like sponges soaking up all the knowledge they can. I know it's a lot coming at them in a short time but they have been doing very well with it so far."