How has it been, running with the first-team and making an impact?
"I'm only as good as my linemen. They're doing good."
On coming to Pittsburgh from Tulsa:
"I didn't know much about Pittsburgh until they recruited me. When I got here, it just felt right."
Did Todd Graham try to convince you to come to Arizona?
You're firmly entrenched in Pittsburgh:
How did you react after Graham left?
"I was shocked, like everyone because it just happened overnight. You just move on. Stuff happens."
As a person strong in your own faith, is it hard to hear Graham's speech, then see him leave the way he did?
"It wasn't hard. It happens. That was his choice. That was his decision; just move on."
About the scrimmage Saturday:
"I was really proud of the linemen, the quarterback and the wide receivers. They were blocking, always—just running behind them. They made it easier for me."
On Ray Graham coming back and Rushel Shell coming in:
"I'm not really worried about it. I'm looking forward to playing beside everybody—beside all the running backs. We have a nice, strong, little group. I'm looking forward to it."
So, there will be good competition in August?
"Not competition, but teamwork. We're just doing our best to contribute."
Were you surprised you were able to make an impact as a freshman?
"A little bit, but the Lord was on my side. I wasn't afraid."
Was Saturday the best day the offense had?
"I think so. We still have a lot to improve on. We're working towards being the best that we can."
Where is the improvement needed?
"It's just certain things—like picking up blocks, discipline. Just small things."
"When we get moving up front, the reads are so much easier. Having a guy like Isaac Bennett in the backfield—you saw him. He went off."
Playing fullback in the new offense, how are you fitting in?
"It's a whole different dynamic. It's a lot of blocking, obviously. I'm getting involved in the passing game, which is awesome. You have a guy like Bennett who makes it real easy for you. I'm real excited to get Ray Graham back. Even with Corey Davis and Desmond Brown—all of our running backs are really capable of breaking plays at any time. There's a couple times when the line of scrimmage is clogged up, Isaac breaks it for 30 yards. He's a special back."
Are you splitting first-team reps with Derrick Burns?
"We're kind of going back-and-forth. He's a great back too. Both of us have been working really hard. We've been getting in there, watching a lot of film together. He's another guy that is real tough. He can run with the ball—he was a high school running back. He knows what to look for, and everything. I played quarterback in high school which kind of makes it a lot easier for me to read defenses too."
Was Saturday the offense's best day?
"Honestly, I'll have to watch the tape first, but off the top of my head, I think it was the best day. Up front, our offensive line was getting great movement all day. Tino made some great reads. Isaac, he was unbelievable. He was all over the place."
"Even the first drive, we started off, we ran the same play seven times in a row. We just kept going back to it. If it keeps working, you may as well keep doing it. It was really exciting. We played a lot today. I don't know how long we were out there, but we had a lot of possessions. Everything was working. It's real exciting."
Was Saturday the offense's best day?
"Yeah. I'd say the offense is just working each and every day to make sure that we're getting better. It's hard to understand, up front, how to run the ball downhill. It's a different thing, coming in from last year, being a straight, zone scheme and always reaching. Whenever you're able to run the ball downhill effectively, and Isaac was able to do that."
"We're just trying to improve every day. What we'll do is go back and watch the tape. We have other areas where we need to improve. When you go back, look at it and really digest what's going on, just keep it in rhythm."
How well is Isaac Bennett fitting in, in your eyes?
"He's taking advantage of his opportunity. That's the only thing he can do. Coach Chryst keeps on harping to us that you only have so many opportunities. We have 15 opportunities to get better, and that's what we're going to keep doing each day. Isaac is one of those guys that comes to work each day and makes sure that he does his job. The line is doing a good job opening holes for him. Those big boys up front deserve a lot of credit. We're just going to keep on trying to improve."
Is the timing coming along on the offense?
"Yeah, with those guys working up front, you go back and look at the tape. You see the receivers working hard to get downfield. They're getting DBs. They're cutting off the backside to make sure a DB or a safety from the backside can't make the play. Those guys are really working, and they are making sure we get our job done—not try and do more, not try and do less. Just do your job, and that's what we've been trying to do."
Did the passing game improve Saturday?
"Yeah. I feel like guys are open. I feel like guys are open. I have to make sure I put it on them down the field. Overall, we're trying to go in each different look. The one thing the defense is doing is making sure they're keeping us honest; giving us a lot of different looks, a lot of different fronts. They're making sure the guys up front are really working; making sure our receivers are understanding coverage to make sure our receivers are understanding coverage. As a unit, we're just trying to improve on it each day. You try to learn something new. We're going to go back, take a look at this tape from the scrimmage and hopefully just make sure that we're getting better and get better for the next practice."
What did you learn Saturday?
"To not throw it so flat, to put more air on my deep ball. Obviously, I'm overthrowing (the receivers) a little bit when I'm not giving them time to adjust because of the amount of air I have on it. We just have to keep repping, and getting better and better. I did throw a touchdown to Cam. I was able to make that adjustment. That's what you have to do—make sure you can diagnose what's wrong and really try to get better."
"It was good. We executed for the most part. We just have to complete more passes. That's what it comes down to."
Why the timing issues?
"I don't know. Maybe we just have to put in some more work. (Saturday) kind of boggled all of us. We were all frustrated. Timing is a big thing. It's only practice 10 of a new offense. Timing will get better."
On Saturday's running game:
"If I can put my head on a linebacker and Isaac can go 60 on every play, I'm completely fine with that. It is frustrating because I want to catch some balls. I was frustrated the entire time. We just have to complete more passes."
On the receiver rotation:
"For the most part, they're really putting in who they want at certain times. We have groups with certain quarterbacks, and what not. We're so deep right now (at receiver), I feel like everybody can play. It really doesn't matter. Whoever is in there can get it done."
Comfortable with the new offense?
"Yeah, definitely. I'm getting more comfortable. I'm getting more comfortable playing inside. I'm playing fast on film. I look fast. I kind of caught myself off guard. I was moving, kind of impressive. We're all getting comfortable. Street had a good day. He had some good catches. Tinker is getting comfortable. Salath—his first day being live—he did really good. Guys are getting comfortable. By practice 15, we should be rolling. With some summer time and fall camp, we're going to be all right."
Will getting Mike Shanahan help out too?
"That's going to be such a big help. I'm waiting for my big dog out there. Not only is Shanahan one of our better receivers, he also is the smartest guy in our group. Whenever we break the huddle, to see what's going on, I'm looking right for 87, and 87 lets me know what's going on. Once he gets back, he's going to make things way easier. His savvy is the main thing. He kind of makes me a little confident. I miss Shanahan."
On Isaac Bennett:
"He's playing good. I think he's playing real confident. That's the main thing. I feel like there's a couple backs that can come in, and I feel we have a couple backs coming in; a pretty good guy that's coming in. I think we're going to be all right in that area. Once (Ray Graham) gets ready, it's on. It's going to make things easier. It's going to make the middle more open. I'm going to be able to work people one-on-one. It's going to get fun."
On going back to the pro-style:
"We all knew we were throwing the ball 50 times a game last year, but we were only completing 10. Whatever we have to do to win games, that's what we have to do. If it's running the ball 40 times, and I have to keep playing the linebacker, then that's what I'm going to do. I'm just trying to get some wins. I don't want to be 6-7. That's all."
Working with Paul Chryst:
"Coach Chryst is the man. He's so laid back. He's changing the culture around here. He's laid back, but at the same time it's about getting business done and doing your job. That's the main thing; holding each other accountable. That's Coach Chryst's main thing—do what you need to be, be where you need to be. The rest will come."
Was Saturday a good day overall?
"It was a good day. We just have to complete more passes. We're just missing—big time throws, we're just missing. Those have to be catchable. Those posts and those go routes, those have to be catches to win big games."