Maddox, Hampton, AJax and Porter speak

<b><u>Tommy Maddox</u></b> <br><br> <i> What did you do to stay in shape?</i> <br><br> <b>TM: </b>I just ran a lot and then me and five of my friends from home peaked Mt. Princeton in Colorado. I hung out and ran and stuff. But had some fun doing it.

You climbed mountains?

TM: Yeah. We climbed to the top. I think it's 14,200 feet. It was hard but a lot of fun and very rewarding.

Had you done that before?

TM: No. Some of my buddies did it last year about the time we had to come to camp so I couldn't go. I went this year and had a lot of fun.

Do you train for that?

TM: A little bit. It's a lot of the same training you do for camp. We took two days. We hiked halfway up one day and went the rest of the way the next day. It was very challenging, but worth it.

Are there paths?

TM: There's paths up to 13,000 feet and then the last 1,000 or so feet your basically on all fours climbing up. It was very rewarding, probably the most rewarding thing I've ever done.

How long did it take?

TM: Two days. We drove up to 6,000 or 7,000 feet.

When you get to the top how do you celebrate?

TM: By collapsing mostly. The amazing thing is that you get to the top and feel like it's over. But coming down is as challenging as going up.

Any near accidents?

TM: No.

Are you ready to get camp started?

TM: I think everybody's excited about being back at camp. I think everybody is healthy coming back to camp, which is a big thing. I'm excited about getting on the field and getting back to work. I think everybody has been looking forward to this since last year ended. If people don't want to look at us very highly, that's OK. We have a lot of talent and a lot of people that want to win and I think we're going to surprise some people.

Are you glad to see Plax and Hines coming in today?

TM: Oh yeah. I'm excited. I haven't had a chance to see Plax yet, but I'm excited to see him and talk to him and get back to work. There's a lot of things that are always talked about during the offseason and through this time. But once you get back on the field and get back to work, you get ready to win football games.

A big deal was made about a guy holding out and missing all those workouts. Does that have an effect?

TM: The more work you get the better off you'll be. Every chance you get to work together is important. At least Plax and I have thrown together before. We've done a lot of things together. I don't think it will throw us back as far as if it was a new guy coming in or something like that. I feel pretty comfortable with Plax and I feel like I know where he's going to be. It'll probably take a day or so and then it'll come back.

There's also been the issue of when he does play, he's going to be upset if he's not getting the ball, Does any of that spill over onto you?

TM: No, I don't think so. When we're out there on the field, a lot of that goes by the wayside. When you're out there trying to win football games, the more successful the team is, the more successful individuals will be. I think that's the main goal of everybody here and that will be his goal as well.

Casey Hampton

Are you looking forward to the test and camp?

CH: It's going to be fun, but as far as looking forward to the test, no one looks forward to doing conditioning. But it's something you've gotta do.

Last year you had problems and made the Pro Bowl, what's that say?

CH: I haven't made the test since I've been here, so I'm just going to go out there and do what I can do. I'm not a test-type guy, but I can play football and that's what they pay me to do. I'll be all right.

Are you anticipating the start of the season?

CH: I am. I've had a foul taste in my mouth since last season ended. I'm ready to get it on because I know we have a really good football team. If we can stay healthy, we can go a long way.

There are questions about position battles, but the defensive line is largely the same group that was here last year. It seems like one of the more solid units. Is that the way you see it?

CH: I definitely see it like that. We've got three veteran starters and we brought in a veteran guy. I think Keisel is going to help us out a lot. He was hurt last year, but I think he's a really good player who's really going to help us out a lot. I think that's one of the strongest positions on the team.

What do you do for an encore after a Pro Bowl season?

CH: Try to get back. I'll just go out there and do what I do and those things will come. The main thing is to win football games.

Was it fulfilling for a nose tackle to be selected for a Pro Bowl?

CH: It feels good because I play a position where I'm not in the limelight and I don't get to make a lot of big plays. So to get recognized is big.

Will you guys miss Rodney Bailey's versatility?

CH: I can't even explain how much we're going to miss Rodney. He's a helluva a player. I hate to see him go, but that's the business. I almost don't even want to talk about that. It's really going to be a tough loss for us.

Have you talked to him?

CH: I talk to Rodney all the time, but he has to do what's best for Rodney.

Maybe they're saving some of the money they would have given to him to give to you next year.

CH: I don't think so. They did what they had to do and he did what he had to do.

Can you guys get another career year out of Kimo?

CH: Kimo plays big every year. I know he had a lot of sacks last season, but he plays hard every play and he makes a lot of play. But the defensive linemen don't get a lot of credit for what we do. But without Kimo and Aaron, I probably wouldn't have made the Pro Bowl. He and Aaron do a great job for us.

Are you comfortable being a two-down player or are you still pushing to be a three-down guy?

CH: I'm not really satisfied. I want to get out there and pass rush. I think this year with LeBeau, we're going to play a whole lot more nickel and I'm on the first team nickel, so I think I'll be out there a little more on third down this year.

Have you set a goal for sacks?

CH: Nah, I'm not a sack guy. I just go out there and do what I can do.

Alonzo Jackson

Is there a different approach for you at this camp?

AJ: It kind of does a little bit. I've approached the camp knowing that I'm going to have a chance to compete for a starting job with Clark. And when he gets back, there's going to be a competition. Having the opportunity to go out and start is something I really want to do.

Do you feel some pressure?

AJ: I'm just really looking forward to it.

Last year I'm sure didn't work out the way you wanted it to. Where are you now compared to then?

AJ: I'm light years ahead of where I was last year. I understand the defense a whole lot better and moving in space and making formation recognition. I'm still learning, but I feel a whole lot better about it than I did last year.

Do you feel like you have something to prove?

AJ: I know I have something to prove and I'm ready and willing to go out and do it.

Many have said you're a situational player. Do you see yourself that way?

AJ: The people who said I'm a situational player are wrong and I'm going to go out and prove that to my coaches and teammates.

Do you know who those people are?

AJ: I don't know who they are, but I want them to step forward and talk about it.

So you are more than a pass-rush specialist?

AJ: Yes I am. I'm an every down player and I'm going to use this opportunity to go out and prove it.

How much bigger and stronger are you?

AJ: I'm a little bit bigger, a little bit stronger, but I understand the defense a whole lot better. When you're able to go out and make plays without thinking, that's a big thing. And I think I can do that now.

Joey Porter

You guys aren't allowed to ride the motorcycles any more?

JP: No more motorcycles and no more scooters. We ride around on golf carts anyway, so I don't see how this can be outlawed. This is my training camp car.

Will it start a trend?

JP: I hope too many don't come out because then they'll take them from us. I don't see how anyone can get hurt on that. Coaches drive them all day.

You got any bullet holes or anything we should know about?

JP: In the golf cart? You can't be talking about me. You have to ask some better questions than that.

Is there a Colorado State jinx? First you last year, now Clark breaks his hand.

JP: If would happen to Clark, it would happen in the weight room since he's in there so much. I'm glad it happened there and nowhere else. It's just one of those situations that happened and we don't have an answer for it.

Is this a good chance to Alonzo?

JP: It's a good chance for anybody. This is training camp. This is where I won my job. Anything can happen. But I don't count Clark out. He just hurt his fingers. He'll be back.

Are you guys coming to camp with a chip on your shoulder?

JP: You always have to come to camp with a chip on your shoulder if you didn't win last year. I mean, 6-10 doesn't make you better. We've got a lot of things to prove out there. As long as all the guys are here on time and ready to work, I expect big things out of us.

How did 6-10 sit with you?

JP: A lot of things didn't sit well with me during the offseason. Last year is last year and I'm ready to put that behind me and get out here and get a chance to work on those things that hurt us last year and get this thing going.

How will coach LeBeau affect this defense?

JP: I like him. He's an aggressive coach. I like everything about him. Change is good every now and then. Changing the defensive coordinator gives us a new attitude and a new way to look at things. As long as the guys are ready to go out there and execute the defense and do what he asks us, I don't think we should have any problems.

Is he going to take the shackels off more than the other guy?

JP: We'll see. I'm looking forward to going out in the preseason games and seeing what we can do against some other teams.

How representative was your season last year of what you can do?

JP: It was a bad year, everything that happened, from the incident to our whole team's performance. That's the whole thing about starting over. It doesn't matter who won last year. We're all starting from ground zero. We all have the same record.

Will you get double digit sacks this year?

JP: That's always a goal. You never know what happens.

With Jason gone, are you the unquestioned leader of this defense?

JP: Yeah. I'm going to go out there and lead by example. Ever since I've been here I've tried to do that, but even more so with Jason gone, I'm the oldest linebacker who's been with this team. Farrior is older than me, but I've been here longer. I have no choice but to be the leader. Those guys look at me to go out there and get it done. I want to lead by example so I can say to my teammates to give me the same energy that I give you.

You've always been a vocal guy in the locker room, anyway right?

JP: Yeah, so it's not like I haven't been saying stuff in the locker room. It's just with Jason gone, they will really look for me to do most of the talking, most of the leading and I'm going to try to lead by example and go out and perform at a high level and let them know that last year was a fluke.

The defense has more speed than last year?

JP: The defense has a lot more speed than last year with young guys like Hope and Troy finally knowing what he's doing. You can see it with his play in practice. It's like night and day. These young guys are running with a purpose and that means a lot to this defense.


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