On what the offense did this summer to
balance passing and running
"We spent a lot more time in the film room studying how plays work as a whole. Last year, being the first year in the offense, guys spent a lot more time focusing on their role and how they fit into the offense as opposed to the bigger picture. I think guys are figuring out how it fits in the bigger picture now. Taylor (Martinez) is doing a better job of sticking to his reads. It's going to be a lot more fluid, a lot higher tempo, a lot faster pace. It's going to look a lot more like we want it to look."
On if he's excited to get more
opportunities this year because he is a senior
"Yeah, I think Kyler (Reed) and I are excited at how many opportunities there are for tight ends to get more balls. As long as we're getting first downs and touchdowns, we're just as happy. I'm blessed to play next to a guy like Kyler. He's one of my best friends and he's a great player. It's something we've been building up to for four years going into this final year. It's going to be a lot of fun and hopefully we'll go out with a bang."
On how he and his brother Jake will
initiate Sam this week
"We've been thinking of some things we can do to break him in to the mix. I'm going to get a little more of an opportunity to break him in the hard way and knock heads with him. It's going to be a lot of fun being able to play with my brothers and have my dad coach. It's my last year and it's going to be something you only come across once in life. My whole family is really looking forward to it."
On what it's like just to be back at
"The transformation that we've had as a team these last seven months, the amount that we've grown, not only football wise, but getting these guys together for a greater purpose, there's no individual minds thinking about themselves. We're focused on one thing and that's getting that ring. The things that we've gone through, the things Coach (James) Dobson and the training staff have done to prepare us for the best and the worst; it's really been a great winter and summer offseason. Since spring ball, it's been a really good job by everybody. There's been a lot of good attitudes and a lot of good things done by guys.
On what they've done to bring the team
"Some of the things we've been doing the last couple years, getting people together more often off the field, barbecues and days at the lake, stuff like that. Then we have veterans taking the younger guys into the meeting rooms and teaching them more stuff than we've ever taught. We're getting these guys into the film room more often. We've realized that every single person on this team is going to be important to the success of this team. We've had guys doing extra stuff every day on both offense and defense. Guys are catching balls; guys are doing drill work, footwork, all the little things. It might be five or 10 minutes every day, but you add that up over two 10-week offseason sessions and it can really accumulate into something special."
On what kind of advantage it is to have
such a large group of fifth-year seniors
"It definitely helps the leadership side of things. We have plenty of guys who have been there through thick and thin, we have guys who've played and done some really good things here. We take pride in being Coach Bo's first class. We've seen what this program is about over the last four years, so it's in our bloodstream. Not to say it wasn't like that in the past, but we've been here longer than anybody. To finally get that chance to go out there and show it to these younger guys and hopefully show it on the field is going to be a great opportunity for us."
On if there's been one or two guys that
have really impressed him this offseason
"It's been really amazing. The entire team has worked really hard. There's always those days where you come in and don't feel like doing much, but I think this team has done a really good job of seeing someone that may be falling behind a little bit and getting in their heads, saying 'let's go,' they're picking it up for each other. They're really realizing they are playing for each other and that's more important than playing for yourself. I would say that's the biggest area we've grown. I've seen attitude changes since that military circuit we went through. Sometimes I lose my temper, you've seen that. Being able to harness that and have your teammates there for you has really helped this team grow and mature exponential amounts."
On if there are any new guys who have
turned heads this offseason
"Guys like Ameer (Abdullah), Kenny Bell and Quincy (Enunwa) are working their hardest. The offensive line, from old guys to young guys, are doing everything they can because they want to restore that idea of the pipeline that we saw in the 90s, imposing your will on somebody. It's been a really fun thing to see, not just little clicks, but the team as a whole, and the offense coming together has been pretty cool."
On if he's seen anything different in
"With it being his second year in the offense, he just looks more comfortable and more confident. It's a fun thing to see. Going through seven-on-seven all summer, he's seeing his reads, sticking to his reads and getting the ball where it needs to go whether it's deep down field or in the backfield. He's doing a great job getting the ball to the guy who's open and the guy who's going to gain yards for us. I'm proud to say Taylor has come a long way as far as being more comfortable and more confident."