How are you healing up after Kris Boyd hit you on the head a dozen times during your touchdown celebration?
“I’m doing good. It’s good. It’s good. We saw it on film and were dying laughing. He’s a wild animal that just likes to have fun.”
Did your eyes light up when you saw the ball on the ground?
“I timed it perfectly. My eyes did light up. You can see in the picture that my eyes got real big. I was like ‘Does the end zone glow when I score?’ I wasn’t for sure.
Was that play similar to one you had in the playoffs last year?
“Yes it was. I had two of those plays. I had the punt and then the fumble. I scored 14 points that game.”
Everyone says you are mature beyond your years. Where do you get that from?
“It comes back from where I was born and raised, from my house. My parents told me to always think older than what you are because it will make you better than the end of the day.
Looking at my brothers and what they did, I learned from their mistakes. I brought that into my world and did what they didn’t do. What they did right, I did right.
Were your parents strict with you?
“They weren’t strict with me but they let me make the mistakes that I knew I had to fix in the future. When it came to sports, my dad let me be lazy when there was a big game coming up and then I played bad. It’s a learning lesson, a life lesson. I appreciate what they tried to do.
What is the problem with the run defense right now?
“Just lack of discipline. We should have been slower linebackers. We should have been more patient when it came to the split zone, and when the back came through the hole and tried to bounce out we should have been there.
It’s going to be tough for us until we find a true identity in the front seven. We have to make sure we get a push on the ball and make sure we get a push back.”
What do you think is going on with the defensive line?
“They are the strongest unit on the team. You look at us as linebackers we are still trying to get each other down. They have a lot of strengths. They just don’t even know it. Once they max out on their potential they will be great. Of course the DBs are always going to be DBU.”
Why did you feel like it was your responsibility to take a leadership roll as a freshman?
“I didn’t think it was my responsibility. I wanted to be a part of something that could be great. I knew that Coach Strong was pushing this program toward a higher standard.”
Were you worried about stepping on anyone’s toes, especially the upperclassmen?
“Oh yeah I was definitely worried about that. I ever wanted to look like I was above anything. I respect them and they respect me at the end of the game. I just make sure that I am going out there 100 percent. It’s not about me right now. It’s for them. They’ve had a couple of down seasons. We need to win. We all need to contribute to do that.”
On third down woes:
“That’s not us. I had a couple of critical missed tackles. Some people blew their assignments. Some people blew their coverages. We all have to be on the same page and communicate better.”
On Cal’s offense:
“I’m excited to see the offense. It’s going to be a great quarterback. They are going to throw the ball so we are going to have to play fundamentals the whole game. The defense is going to have to be on their A-Game. As linebackers we have to be there too and the DBs are going to have to play their best game of the year.”
Saturday you said the future has to be now…
“It is coming fast. We know it is. But we have to get it in our heads that it starts today. We can’t wait or it’s too late.”
How fun was it getting to see all of those freshmen play?
“It really made me smile. I saw PJ [Locke] had a big hit. I’m just happy to see them have fun and that’s what it comes down to at the end of the day. They are all so stressed about what not to do, what to do. They don’t get a feel for the game, only on special teams, which isn’t true in-game situations. I was just really happy and vey proud.”
How did y’all react to Breckyn Hager's interception?
“We laughed because he ended up keeping the ball after the game.”
Does your game change with a pocket passer as opposed to a dual threat?
“It has to because now you are looking for someone that is looking deep down field. Than someone that is going to be scrambling, looking for a check down. This guys is going to be looking down the seam. His last thing is going to be a check down, trust me. He wants to throw the ball deep.”
Do you have to encourage DeAndre McNeal to stay patient?
“His time is definitely going to come. He’s being very patient about it. He’s still fighting. At the end of the day he knows he’s going to have to step up one day.”
DeAndre’s being quiet?
“He is quiet and I don’t like that. I think he should speak up more about how he feels. He understands the situation he’s in. He’s still going out there on special teams and playing hard. He’s pancaking people, he’s blocking for people. That’s what we need, we need guys that are going to sacrifice no matter what.”