On his relationship with Leon McFadden
“I always thought Leon was a great player. He’s one of my closest buddies, I still talk to him often. But it’s a challenge this week. They have a really good defense and it’s going to fun to line up against him again.”
On if he’s talked with Leon recently?
“Oh no. We haven’t spoken. We understand the task that’s in front of us, but we’ll be buddies after the game. But right I’m preparing for them and he’s preparing for us and we’re trying to beat each other.”
On SDSU’s defense
“They like to mix around their fronts. They are pretty set on the back end in the secondary, but they play with a lot of aggression and try to mix you up with different fronts and over looks and under looks and odd looks and stick looks…that’s the main thing.
On if they are like anyone he’s faced before
“No. This is the first time going against a 3-3-5 defense, so it’s going to be fun.”
Does that make protection calls difficult?
“In a way. We just have to stick to our rules. If we stick to our rules we’ll be fine and we’ll be able to protect anything they throw at us.”
On it being game week and taking hits
“Get rid of the ball. You’ve seen me get chewed up pretty bad a couple of practices this fall. I understand I need to stay healthy this season and I’m doing my best, but of course when you get out there and you just want to make plays and run around, so…”
On what to say to the true freshmen when it’s game time
“It’s just like practice. Just go out there and do what you’ve been doing and do what got you here. I keep telling them that if you don’t understand something just come to me. All season it looks like I’ll be holding tutoring sessions all week.”
On if it felt like practice when he started at Oregon
“It definitely felt a little bit faster than in practice. Obviously you can’t simulate game speed, but once they get hit and banged around a couple of times they’ll wake up.”
What are his goals this season?
“Obviously we’re trying to win the Pac-12, that’s our goal. Obviously we have to earn respect and we have to win games.”
What’s different about the defense this year?
“They enjoy playing with each other. I don’t see a lot of bickering amongst each other and it just feels like they are having fun all over again.”
On the speed of the defense
“Oh yeah. They are real fast. Shaq Thompson, Desmond Trufant, the secondary…these guys can run, and I think the speed, our defensive speed is a lot faster than last year.”
On the play of Shaq Thompson
“Man, there’s a lot of things that I haven’t seen with a guy that big that can move the way he does and the ball skills that he presents. He’s definitely a tremendous talent and a great attribute to our defense.”
Did practice feel different today?
“Oh yeah. There was a sense of urgency. Guys were moving and guys were excited. We’re just excited that we don’t have to bang up on each other anymore. We can get ready for an opponent.”
Is there a difference in the defensive attitude
“I see a different type of swagger. They are talking trash to us every day and we’re competing against them every day. Of course we think we’re better than they are and they think they are better than us – but I think that’s great. I think competition brings out the best in us.”
On playing at CenturyLink
“It’s loud just like Husky Stadium, but it’s just another game.”
On being more comfortable with Steve Sarkisian’s play calling
“I feel like Coach Sark can just about throw just about anything at me. I’m prepared, and if I don’t get it the first time I’m going to make sure I get it. I’m going to keep preparing and I’m going to make sure our receivers and our offensive line are up to speed on what we’re doing as well. I think we have a very smart group offensively and we understand the schemes.”
On issues with mechanics with the mock game
“The mock game was all the install that we had in camp, just thrown into one. So now we have game plan stuff, so now we know specific looks and specific plays that we’re going to run for the game, so it’s easier to narrow your focus down to just those plays.”
On how his familiarity with Sark will help in this opener
“I’m not sure. I just know that we have to play better. It’s not so much about opening up the playbook or whatever people want to say – it’s just about executing our game plan. That’s the main thing. If we do our job we have a pretty good chance of winning.”
On the schedule and staying focused
“We’re worried about San Diego State. We’ll take care of week two, week three, week four later on.”