Are you healthy?
Yes. I'm 100% and I feel good.
What's it feel like? Your 3rd year in the program?
Feels good. Feels real good because I pretty much know what I'm doing now. I know where to go, what the plays are ... I pretty much know everything that I am supposed to do these days and it makes me more comfortable if you know what I mean.
Which 'backer position are you playing?
I'm the 'Will' linebacker which is the outside linebacker.
Explain that a little.
I'll always line up to the boundary - to the short side of the field. 'Will' stands for 'weak side linebacker.'
Coach Lou says when you hit someone it sounds like an explosion.
::::::: smiles ::::::: I just like the contact. I like to go out there and give it my all. Go hard every play. That's what football is all about and it feels good doing it this year. It feels good to hit somebody. Football is about hitting people and I like hitting people with the football.
Talk about the defense this year.
I gotta a lot of confidence in our defense right now. I mean everybody knows their assignments - we're still learning new things every day and it's getting a little more complicated but everyone is really working hard and it is coming together you know what I mean? It's like we're learning a lot and learning a lot of new things but the progression is there. It's a natural progression where what we learn on one day merges into what we learn the next day and the next day and you're always learning these whole new packages without ever realizing how much you've learned along the way.
Who are the other 'backers lining up beside you and who are the ones behind you?
Marcus Lawrence is at the middle or 'Mike' linebacker. Rod Wilson is over at the Apache backer. Lance Laury is backing me up and Orus Lambert is backing up Marcus. We got the twins going in there behind Rod and sometimes Lance is over there too but we're looking pretty good at linebacker right now. I like this group.
Give us your height, weight and forty time.
6-2 233 ... I haven't run the forty lately. ::::::: laughs :::::::::: but I feel fast if that counts. I feel like I'm running a 4.4 or a 4.5 when I'm out there.
You seem to like Coach Minter when we've heard you talk about him recently?
Yeah I like him a lot. He knows what he's doing. He knows what to expect out of us. He shows us a lot of respect and we show him a lot of respect. It's a real good player-coach relationship we've got going and it shows on the practice field because he makes our minds like sponges you know.
Has he made the defense easier to understand?
Actually it's harder, because it's a lot to learn but like I said, the way he teaches it we're adjusting to it pretty good. It's fun to learn from him the way he teaches it. He really knows his stuff. You don't have to think as much in Coach Minter's defense. You learn it in your heart and then you follow your instincts and run to the ball. The best way I can say it is that Coach Minter's defense becomes a habit to you where you do the right things naturally by habit. It's complicated you know, but before you know it you're doing exactly what he wants you to do by habit and you look back to see if you're doing it right and you know you are because he is smiling.
Moe Thompson said something the other day about everyone running to the ball on every play.
Yeah, that's something we didn't have last year where everybody is running to the ball but we noticed that the other day - we're doing that a lot this year just by habit but also because we're having fun playing the game again.
... and something about the team being like a family this year more than in the past?
I feel it a lot. I mean that's a good point because we were talking about that the other day. You see when some of us got here we knew we were better players, or maybe I shouldn't say 'better' because that might be mistaken for better 'people', but we were more talented players than what was here. You know what I mean? We were bigger and faster and we had more talent than some of the ones that were here. But we were not accepted in right away because back then you only got respect if you were a junior or a senior. Didn't matter if we were beating them out for playing time. And when we did beat them out for playing time they may have resented it a little bit and that led to some hard feelings sometimes. But now we're the leaders and we remember how we felt about that. So it feels good. What we're telling the young guys is that it doesn't matter how old you are or what class you're in, what matters is how you put out and how hard you work. What matters is how good you are, you know what I mean? And it feels good because I am one of the leaders and when the young guys come to me I want to help them because by helping them it makes my team better.
It makes everyone closer?
The whole defense is very close right now, much more than it was last year. I really feel like this team is just much closer I really do. We're a brotherhood.
People are talking about what a tough opener you guys drew on the road against ....
::::::: cuts the questions short with a snarl ::::::: I feel very confident about our first game. Yeah, I mean I am hearing all the talk from up there and all that. I mean all this talk ... it don't bother me at all. Bring it on. I can't wait. We're working hard and we're doing what we are supposed to be doing. In two weeks all the talk stops - there ain't gonna be no more talk then. I say let's take the field and get it on.
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