"Was it hard to get him up? Yeah!" Wright admits. "There were some times when I had to call his phone three times to get him up."
But it is indicative of the heightened sense of camaraderie (and unfinished business) that seems to genuinely exist on this team. In years past, it was more likely that players conditioned themselves either as individuals or just with their respective units. This time, it was a team effort.
"We all had a good turn-out this summer with the running and the lifting," Wright said. "We all got after it. We pretty much ran together. We pushed each other the whole summer. Last year as a freshman, I worked out by myself. This year we worked out together and did a lot of speed work and endurance."
The 6-5 Wright was not one who needed to bulk up but rather report in top playing shape. Listed at 315-pounds, Wright now tips the scales at a svelte 307 following his off-season regimen. The result:
"Im a little faster this year," he said.
While there isnt a preponderance of proven depth along the defensive front, the combination of Wright and senior Marcus Tubbs gives Texas its best one-two punch at the DT spot since the days of Casey Hampton and Shaun Rogers. Wright, who started nine games as a true freshman, often sought Tubbs' counsel. These days, the youngster who registered 13 TFLs (second-best on team) has a firm enough grasp on things (including ball carriers) that his sessions with Tubbs are fewer and far between.
"I still go to him for some of the things I do wrong," Wright said. "When Im not doing something right, I go to him to see how he does it. Ill try it out and see how it works."
It begs the question: just how much "wrong" can Wright do? After all, he was also a first-team Freshman All-American (The Sporting News, Football Writers Association of America) during his inaugural campaign.
"Just little things, like my steps," Wright said. "Just coming off of the ball, using my hands more."
Wright also wants to hone his skills at "reading on the move" and to "get more physical." He said this would break his habit of "playing with finesse."
Last season, Wright finessed his way to 15 QB pressures and 4.5 sacks. His breakout game was in Texas 17-14 win at Kansas State, where he tallied nine tackles (including one sack and four TFL) and forced a fumble. Two weeks later, he registered a career-high 11 tackles in Texas win at Nebraska.
With the notoriety comes heightened expectations and rancorous opponents.
"People are going to be looking out for me now," Wright acknowledges. "Im not an unknown freshman any more. So I have to step it up so Ill be ready for this year."