I want to let them know that people are going to be expecting them to produce early, but they can't worry about that. If they try to live up to those standards, they will have a rough season. We were trying to do that last year, and it was frustrating. They have to just come out and play. They can't try to live up to what people write about.
What have you seen from David Noel so far?
He's a fierce competitor. He's aggressive. We call him J.Y.D. because he looks like Junk Yard Dog. He gets after it.
What can he contribute to this team?
Energy, enthusiasm, charisma, strength, defense. Every last one of these guys is going to contribute this year?
How have the relationships with the coaches changed?
It's gradual. It's not a complete change, but it's great. They listen to what we have to say more. We are trying to be on the same page.
Do you think that was lacking last year?
I wouldn't say that. Things were just a little out of sorts. It was a rough season, so things were going to be rough. We are trying to avoid that this year.
Lessons learned from last year -
Last year made us stronger. Without struggles you don't have success. We're all on the same page – and we're going to be good.
You seemed to be a positive force for team morale last year.
My mom, she taught me a glass is not half empty, it's half full – so I just look on the bright side. My mindset is that things are going to get better.
And did you try to help instill this on your teammates?
I tried. And I was successful at times. But at times it was very overwhelming to them.
How would you characterize the personality of this team?
Young and enthusiastic. We just want to go out there and play. If we played Penn State tomorrow, I bet all these guys would be ready, and that's what I like about this team.
Last year you played the point, what position this year -
Play the two and help out with the one.
Think you're going to start?
You're pretty confident of that, huh?