Justin: It's a real honor. Anyone on the team could have been it this year. There's a lot of young guys on the team stepping up. No one really knew for sure before it was announced who it was going to be, and that's how it should be, I think. The whole team should show leadership. I think that's the good part of it. We've not got too many seniors on the team, and we're going to need the younger guys to step up this year for us.
VM: Were you surprised to be elected?
Justin: Yeah! I was surprised, I'll be honest. Like I said, anyone could have gotten it... I can think of over a dozen guys, easily, who could have gotten it. I was surprised, but I guess at the same time I was not. It's an honor I'm excited about-- helping lead the team. But we've got a lot of leaders on this team.
VM: Talk about the offensive line-- you've lost some key guys since last year. Talk about how the line has progressed this spring.
Justin: Yeah, we lost Jim May and Jamie Byrum, two big long-term starters for us. But on a brighter note, we've had Steven Brent stepping in at center, who really had a superb spring, and Mac Pyle, who got some starting experience last year. Those are two young guys. Then there are Kenan Arkan and Brian Kovolisky, two guys with lots of experience there. So I think we're young up front, in general, but I think it's coming along real well.
VM: How's Jordan Pettit doing with his injury?
Justin: He's still recovering from surgery, but he's right up there with us. He didn't practice today, but it was impressive how much he could do this spring, coming off a broken leg and after putting a metal rod in his leg. That was pretty impressive. But he'll be right up there with the rest of us.
VM: Because [the offensive line] was short on numbers, you had to play a lot of plays today.
Justin: Yeah, it was a little bit more tiring than normal. We all had to sub in a lot, and people had to play positions they're not real familiar with. I had to play some guard, Kenan Arkan had to play some guard. A lot of guys were flopping and switching around on both sides of the line, just giving people rest. Hopefully it will be better in fall camp when we have those five new offensive linemen coming in. But we did a good job with what we had.
VM: Looking ahead to the fall, what are some things that excite you about the possibility of this being a lot better team than last year?
Justin: One of the facts is that we're young. I think we're really excited. In the four years I've been here, this is the closest-knit group I've been with. We're really tight, and I think the coaching staff has a lot to do with that. They've really encouraged that. Now that it's the second year under this staff, and they've got their system working, everyone's more familiar with it. I think things are going to run a lot more smoothly.