First, tell us a bit about how what you’re doing in the offseason now in between camps to prepare for camp?
Basically, I’m just training and working out. I just want to be in the beast shape possible for camp.
How did OTA’s and mini-camp go for you? What were you hearing from players and coaches?
Pretty well. The main thing I focused on was learning the playbook. That’s the main thing – that and giving the greatest effort I can.
The coaches just told me the biggest thing I need to work on is my technique. To keep my pad level down.
How do you work on that? Just need reps?
Mainly with reps yeah. I just have to get used to playing end in a 3-4.
Is end where they told you you’d likely be playing. As a big guy, did they talk to you about your role and possible playing nosetackle? And as an end, how hard is it to adjust to the 3-4 for you?
I’m playing at end now. I’d have to make the roster to know what my role would end up being but I’m focusing on end now.
In the 3-4 you just have to be disciplined. I’m used to trying to jump the gap to make a play but you can’t in this defense. You have to be disciplined and do your job.
So as an undrafted free agent, what made you decide on Pittsburgh as the team to sign with? Did your agent play a part?
The main thing was, Pittsburgh is a great organization and I wanted to go somewhere where the organization was established. The agent talked to me to and helped me decide on Pittsburgh as well. That played a part in it.
Does the fact that undrafted free agents really find success in Pittsburgh help your mindset there – did it play a part in the decision?
Yeah. It lets me know they really don’t care how you got there. In the back of your head you think of yourself as an undrafted guy but here they don’t treat you like that. You have a chance.
Part of making and NFL roster is special teams play – and you seem to have a knack for blocking kicks and even getting in passing lanes on defense. How important is that in terms of making the roster and why are you good in doing so?
I think I just know how to judge the ball. I always had a knack for batting down balls but I don’t know how I do it. Special teams are such a big part of making the team so I definitely think than can help me.
Outside of the top three or four linemen, there seems to be an open competition for the remaining spots. How competitive has it been between you guys and how have you gotten along and helped one another as well?
It’s been very competitive. So far we’ve all gotten along and all help each other along the way. It’ll be even more competitive in camp – even more competition then.
Cam Heyward has been helpful to me. Basically, hints on what I can and can’t do on certain plays.
The rookie class all getting along? I hear there’s a group messaging joke going on…
Yeah – we all got pretty close over the Summer. JuJu started the group messaging thing yeah – who looks like who jokes. There have been a lot of funny ones – I’d have to go through them to remember the funniest ones, but there were lots of funny ones.
So in terms of off-the-field adjustments to being a pro – what’s been the biggest for you and have you reached out to former Mississippi State guys for advice?
It hasn’t been a big adjustment yet – I’m not on the roster yet so it’s not a big deal yet. The main thing that we didn’t focus on as much in college is taking care of my body better. Also watching more film and studying more.
I’ve spoken to a few of the Mississippi State guys – Ryan Brown, Josh Boyd… trained with some of them. The main thing they tell me is focus on what I can control and to give it my all every day.
You’ve been to the city a couple of times now – anything you like most – any events or experiences stand out?
I like the city so far. It’s a bigger city – lots of good things. I like the buildings- the architecture.
They take you to Primanti’s yet? Any activities you liked?
Oh yeah – Primanti’s was pretty good. We all went to Children’s Hospital and played with the kids there – I liked doing that. We also did the Urban Impact event – football camps for kids. I like working with kids – it’s pretty fun seeing them with smiles on their faces.
So in the end, the team says we like your work, but say we want you on the practice squad for the season due to the depth they currently have. You’d be ok with that?
I haven’t thought about it – I’m just focusing on what I can do. That’s my focus right now. Surely I wouldn’t say no though. It’d just make me work even harder knowing I was even closer to making the roster.
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