Q. Was there a moment when you realized maybe you weren't quite ready yet?
A. Just all the technique. That was it and the scheme last year was too overwhelming. So, I didn't really know.
Q. In high school you were just good enough to rely on your talent?
A. Exactly, yeah. About everything's getting better, so.
Q. With Stacy [McGee] going down, you figure to have a bigger role. But how do you see your role this year?
A. I'm not really for sure yet. I'm gonna come in and do what I have to do so far and that's it.
Q. How has having David [King] inside changed things?
A. David, he helps a lot. It's a different aspect because he used to play D-end, so he's playing the position like we should have played it in the beginning, and it was nice to see how it was supposed to be played. Like just faster and stuff, so.
Q. Your teammates have a lot of glowing praise for you, talking about your athleticism, all the things you can do on the field. How do you kind of take that in, how does that change your mindset if it does at all?
A. It really doesn't. That's how I've been my whole life, so I mean, it's natural for me.
Q. Have you had guys talking about you all the things you can do all your life? I mean, has that kind of been a constant thing?
A. Well, I haven't been in a real big circle, so it's just been my friends and that was it. But nobody else really knew, I guess.
Q. Are you looking forward to this opportunity this early in your career? Are you looking forward to this?
A. Yes, I am. I've never had an experience like this. Played in the Under Armour game, but nothing is gonna compare to this first game.
Q. How do you feel about it?
A. Just nervous. That's it.
Q. Nervous on Monday?
A. Just got the stomach going. I was sick this morning thinking about it, but hopefully it'll go away by Friday night.
Q. Have you been able to talk to Jamarkus [McFarland] or any of the older guys to get tips maybe to get through the week?
A. No, they said just get a lot of film and if you know what they're gonna do before they do it, the nerves are gonna go away.
Q. You have some experienced guys you can go up to to talk about anything that have been around here for a long time. Do you take advantage of that?
A. Yeah, they're like brothers. Everybody's here just to help out. It doesn't matter what position. Just everybody's here to help because we all have a common goal.
Q. How much of a learning process was going through last year watching everything and now you're getting that opportunity?
A. It more humbled me more than anything just knowing that you're not the big dog anymore. But it was fun. I liked that, just sitting back and learning.
Q. What has been the ups and downs of playing for Jackie Shipp? You always hear that it's a really difficult process with guys. What's that been like?
A. You just got to be mentally ready for it. There's nothing really else you can say about it. You have your ups and downs. He's gonna tell you when you do good. He's gonna tell you when you do bad. That's it. That's how it goes.
Q. Is it easier for you to handle it after a tough practice than it was a year ago?
A. For sure. I've mentally grown a lot since I've been here.
Q. When you go out to practice every day, how is that different? I mean, give us an example of things you do now that you feel you're better at that than you did and could last year.
A. I don't have an example. It's just a daily grind really with him. Just you never now what's gonna happen.
Q. It never changes with him? It's the same way with him, he's gonna get on you the same way every day?
Q. Has UTEP been a hard team to prepare for?
A. I really haven't yet. We watched a little film last week, but we're really gonna hit it hard this week.
Q. Was there a moment in the spring where you kind of realized, 'Hey, I can do this after some of the struggles last year?'
A. Well in the spring I thought I was going to play a lot more than I did. But that was it.
Q. What's it like playing around David and R.J. [Washington]?
A. It's nice because they know what they're gonna do before they do it. And like if we have a play and if I for some reason forget something, they know exactly what I need to do and they help me out a lot also.
Q. Have they told you how you're kinda gonna go about Saturday?
Q. How much adjusting did you have to go through just in the speed of the game coming from a smaller high school in Kansas?
A. You know, it was a ton, a ton faster. I didn't know [it was going to be that way]. I was like, ‘Wow, these guys are big and they can move.' It's just like everybody's athletic and you gotta have little things be good.