Q: The 2006 defense was among the best in the nation. One of the key components was the defensive line. The unit suffered the loss of a couple of seniors, who have you seen stepping it up?
The guy who I like is Pete Tverdov. He showed a lot of potential and is really getting after it and getting the job done. He is going to fill in for Ramel Meekins and try to do a great job. On the outside, we have Jamaal Westerman, Gary Watts and a couple other guys like Lewis. They are doing a great job getting down our playbooks and schemes.
Q: The team has lost a number of leaders. Obviously, you are among the returning leaders. Are there any standout leaders on the team?
The biggest one is Mike Teel. He is doing an incredible job leading our team and being the vocal leader on and off the field. He is doing everything he can do to be a better player. He is always watching film, even on the off-days. He just continues to talk and motivate his teammates. He has shown a lot of improvement, and as a leader, he has caught my eye.
Q: The 5th year seniors joined the team when it was not popular to be a Scarlet Knight. How much credibility do they get for joining the program during the tough times?
Pedro Sosa, Zuttah, Mike Fladell, and I deserve a lot of credit. The freshmen and sophomores have won about 18 games in the last two seasons. As far as our wisdom, our knowledge about how things work when you lose, how it feels when you lose games, and you are supposed to win, we have all of it with us (5th year seniors). We filter that out through our young guys, and let them know it's not easy to win ball games. We've been there before and it's something we need to do for us to continue to have success.
Q: How excited are you about coming back in the summer?
I am very excited. I have a lot of personal goals of mine I want to accomplish. That first day of camp, I can't wait to get into pads and get out there.
Q: As an all-American, what do you think about everything you do being watched now and always needing to be on your best behavior?
I am well aware of it and I try to walk in as much of a straight line as possible. I have never been associated with trouble, so I don't have a problem with that. It makes my job much easier if I don't have a lot of other things to worry about.