How did the first practice go?
As a team, we came out here for the first time and it went pretty good for a first day. A lot of teaching today, a lot of fundamental stuff. This is my first time hitting something in ten months. That felt pretty good. A little sore today, but I still have three weeks to get everything right. It felt good to come out here and hit a bag, and hit someone for the first time.
On the depth, specifically after losing Juantez Hollins
Theres a lot of youngs kids, right now, that are running second team that are going to need to step up. Obviously, not having Juantez here hurts a little bit. The guys up front now, are the guys who have to get it done.
What's it like having a new coaching staff?
Everything is going great so far. Coach Chryst comes out here, and he works us. We have a good summer program; worked hard, and everybody is buying in to what Coach is saying. Just coming out here and working hard is what he wants us to do. That's what we have to do all camp.
How do you like Cory King at left tackle?
Cory is a guy who works hard. I believe in Cory. He works hard every day. We work out together. I can trust Cory. He can get the job done. When he first came into Pitt, he played tackle. He knows a little bit of it.
Do you like the switch back to the pro style?
Yeah, obviously. The whole tempo and different system, we're back to how it used to be under Coach Wannstedt. We're back to pro-style football. We get to hit somebody in the mouth.
Can you put a label on how excited you are to just be back on the field?
No. This is great. I was putting Facebook statuses up about it, and everything. I look at it differently, though. I'm grateful to be here right now. Things, I believe, happen for a reason. It feels good. Seeing the younger guys, you definitely view stuff differently and appreciate more now, which is exciting.
Any trouble with the knee?
It did. I'm a little sore, but that's normal. We did a lot of individual work today, like hitting bags; coming off the ball. That was the first time I had actually gotten a chance to hit bags. I did a little bit in summer, but that's the first time speed was going on in pass setting. It felt good, and it's the first day. I still have a month.
Still, is it tough as a lineman having to hold back, still not in full contact?
These practices are the absolute worst. You can't get your fits as an offensive and defensive lineman; no shoulder pads and 7-on-7. That's the hardest part. Even though you want to come out here and hit somebody, you don't want to hurt yourself I would say. But, the tempo is just all off beat when you don't have pads on.
As a senior, what do you hope to leave behind for this group in your last go-round?
Everybody needs to be working hard, and your chance will always come. I didn't start until my fourth year here. It's big for these younger kids to just keep plugging away, earn your degree, do everyone right and be coach able.