December 28, 2015
Q. Last year's bowl game, were you at the game, at home? Where were you?
BAKER MAYFIELD: I was at the game. I traveled to the game, to Orlando. Obviously we all know the outcome of that one.
Q. What was the emotion like for you during that time?
BAKER MAYFIELD: It's tough, just because it's the last game of the year and it was already a very disappointing season, so that left kind of a bitter taste in our mouth. It embarrassed us, there's no doubt about it. Can't sugar coat that. It was very disappointing to be on the sidelines for a game like that, knowing you can't help.
Q. When you look at (inaudible) anything stand out?
BAKER MAYFIELD: They try a lot of stuff. Coach Venables, I think he trusts his players, so just seeing that defense, we're kind of similar to them in the sense that they try different types of stuff and they'll blitz you a lot and give you different types of looks and they'll have different stuff for you each game plan. It'll be new wrinkles that they'll have in, but ultimately they just go out there and try to do their thing.
Q. You've been compared to Johnny Manziel. What do you think about that?
BAKER MAYFIELD: On the field I can see some similarities, scrambling around and making plays, but other than that it's a little overboard.
Q. The offense really improved the second half of the season, in particular Joe. Was there a turning point when you really saw Joe really just kind of take off?
BAKER MAYFIELD: No, Joe has been the type of player he is ever since he got here. I said it a couple times, he's one of the most naturally talented athletes I've ever seen. He's just very gifted, and we finally found a way to utilize him and Samaje both in our offense because they're different types of backs, but the fact that we can have them both in there, that's pretty special.
Q. How much does that run game make your job easier at quarterback throwing the ball?
BAKER MAYFIELD: It makes my job easier. Right now we're very balanced, which is good for me. That opens up the play action. They have to load up guys in the box to stop our run game, so we're giving defenses fits numbers wise, what they want to game plan, and so they make my job easy.
Q. Why are you so difficult to get down?
BAKER MAYFIELD: I honestly couldn't tell you. I'm not physically impressive. I don't know what it is, but I have a knack for staying up and making plays. My guys do a good job of staying alive and playing off my scrambling and getting open for me.
Q. What this game could come down to is which defense can get the other quarterback down the best because Watson is really mobile and makes plays as well.
BAKER MAYFIELD: I think it's about eliminating the big plays. Both offenses are very explosive and ultimately keeping the ball in your hands. Our defense has done a great job of getting the ball back for us, so that'll be a big part of it. But it's about eliminating the big plays, and that does come with keeping the quarterback down and contained instead of making those explosive plays.
Q. How does Lake Travis produce so many good quarterbacks?
BAKER MAYFIELD: Good coaching. I say it all the time, Texas high school football, people don't realize outside of it that it's no joke. It's a big deal. And then when you get coaches like I had at Lake Travis and then you play other good programs with similar coaches, it develops you very quickly and it gets you going.
Q. Did you guys push each other a lot within the ranks of your own team?
BAKER MAYFIELD: Oh, yeah. It's kind of similar to how we've been practicing this year, going good on good during practice a couple days a week and challenging each other, trying to get better, and I mean, like I said, they develop you at an early age and they give you a mindset on how to practice and what's to be expected.
Q. So somebody like Chad Morris goes from being a top coach at Texas to a defensive coordinator, that's not much of a shock to you?
BAKER MAYFIELD: That's not a surprise at all. He was at Lake Travis for two years and went 32 0. You look at the athletes that come out of Lake Travis, and you have some college players, but ultimately you can look at a school like a Desoto or Longview or Dallas Skyline you'll find about 10, 15 or more D I athletes on those teams, but like I said, it's about the coaching. Those guys know what they're doing down there.
Q. What's changed since the Texas game?
BAKER MAYFIELD: Our mindset. That game, we look back at it, and the tempo we played was not how we wanted to do it, and that's not how we should play. We need to play at a fast pace and set the tone during the game and it's that mindset that we should never be stopped, and those rivalry games, they came out and they hit us in the mouth, and we tried to come back late in the game, but it was too late.
Q. Did you y'all run more after that game do you feel like?
BAKER MAYFIELD: Just did a better job of implementing both of our guys instead of having one in at a time. We can do a lot of things just with they're versatile, and Joe can do a lot of things without the receiver, too, so we've done a great job of using them both at the same time.
Q. Brent said that what happened in the bowl game (inaudible)?
BAKER MAYFIELD: Oh, we're a completely different team. Obviously they are, too. They have a different quarterback and they kind of reloaded their defensive line, so I mean, it is a completely different ballgame, but we're different in the sense that we still lost that day. That's motivation for us. We still listen to the commentating of the broadcast and how disrespectful it was. We listen to that as motivation, not as learning from the game tape, because we're a completely different team.
Q. It was a different time, but can you go back and sort of share your perspective as you were sitting and standing and walking and trying to motivate but still pretty helpless?
BAKER MAYFIELD: I tried to keep the energy up on the sidelines and that was kind of my whole role last year was trying to keep people positive and going. It was difficult because they jumped on us early and they kind of put the dagger in us after we had the penalty, and we should have had an interception for a touchdown and they wound up going down on that drive and scoring. It kind of took the air out of us, and you could feel it on the sideline. The energy and the attitude was not there.
Q. How much personal motivation was it for you because you're in a different position now, you're on the field, you have control?
BAKER MAYFIELD: Oh, it's huge for me. I'm in a spot where now I can actually help my team out on the field and not just from the sideline. It's huge for me knowing that I'll be able to put us in a different spot, and hopefully it'll turn out a little bit better.
Q. How would you describe Samaje?
BAKER MAYFIELD: Oh, with he call him Granddaddy, Papa. He's not a guy he's not a man of many words. He hates these media days. Any chance you get to go up and ask him a question, please do it. He's a very humble guy, but his work ethic is something you watch him and you love it just because he doesn't have to say anything, he just goes by example, goes about his business and gets the job done.
Q. Did you get in any good hunting over Christmas break?
SAMAJE PERINE: No, I didn't really get a chance to.
Q. Too much family stuff?
SAMAJE PERINE: Yeah. Went back home, didn't get really any alone time, so whatever.
Q. Alone time is important to you?
SAMAJE PERINE: Sometimes, yeah, but they hadn't seen me in a long time, so I understand.
Q. How do you feel physically?
SAMAJE PERINE: I feel great. Got some time off, had a couple of good days of practice, and got a little bit of a sweat going. Just able to get my legs back underneath me, and ready to go.
Q. Were you ever 100 percent after that OSU injury last year?
SAMAJE PERINE: This season I was.
Q. But going into the bowl game were you really 100 percent last year?
SAMAJE PERINE: No, not really.
Q. Just a high ankle sprain just lingered and lingered?
SAMAJE PERINE: Yeah.
Q. Is that one of those things that you deal with a lot? I know in high school you carried the ball, too. Are those just things that happen?
SAMAJE PERINE: Yeah, when you get the ball that many times, you know it's bound to happen, it's just a matter of time. You just have to be prepared for it and know how to play through it, or when it hurts too bad, know when to tell the coach that you've had enough and that you have to sit out a couple games.
Q. Is that tough to do, though? I know you don't mind the contact, you don't mind those things. Is it tough for you to make that call, to say, hey, look, I've got to come out of the game?
SAMAJE PERINE: It's always tough. You hate to see your teammates out there giving it their all and you're just sitting on the sideline. That's always tough. But there comes a time where you just have to know when your body can't take any more and to have to take a break. I mean, it sucks, but it has to be done.
Q. How much pain were you in in the second half of that TCU game this year?
SAMAJE PERINE: Oh, man. Yeah, it hurt a little bit.
Q. A little bit?
SAMAJE PERINE: Yeah. It's just one of those things that I knew right away as soon as I went down that it was going to hurt for a while. But I couldn't let that affect my game. I just had to get back out there and do whatever I could.
Q. When you look back on the season, it kind of looks like they did everything they could to save you for this stretch starting with Baylor. Say in the K State game you only had 13 carries. They got you out of there pretty quick. Did they talk to you about that?
SAMAJE PERINE: I mean, they did a little bit, but once you're winning a game like that, you don't want to keep your starters in and have something happen to them where it's a couple weeks out or a season ending injury. They told me that once we were up big, there's no reason for me to stay in the game, let everybody else get carries, and I was all for it. First of all, I'm not going to argue with my coaches. Whatever they tell me to do, I'm going to do it, and second of all, I want to see all of us be good. I want to see the opportunity for my teammates to get out there and make something happen. I'm all for it, and they did.
Q. How nice has it been having Joe this year just to take some pressure off?
SAMAJE PERINE: It's been really nice. I've said it all throughout the season. We feed off of each other, and to have him back there knowing what he's capable of, it's comforting. I don't feel like there's much of a drop off, if any. There's probably not. There's probably some games when he's in the game or when both of us are in the game, it's even better, because defenses don't really know what to expect. It's fun to watch him do what he does, and it's fun to play with him when we're both back there. It's just a great time.
Q. After that Texas game, I remember everybody was in there asking you guys what was wrong, especially with the running game, and you seemed to handle it really well. Behind the scenes was there a little bit of a frustration level there, not being able to run the ball effectively, and now that you guys have run it as well as anybody in college football, can you talk about what that time was like for you?
SAMAJE PERINE: I mean, I wouldn't say it was frustration. I mean, we just had to we had to settle down. We knew what we were capable of, but we had to have our O line know what they were capable of. Everything starts with them, and once they settled down, they just got better week by week. They still hadn't reached their full potential, and once they do that, it's going to be deadly.
We knew that it was going to take some time because we have some very young guys up there, and they didn't have the experience.
Q. You knew that Drew and Orlando would come around?
SAMAJE PERINE: Oh, yeah, definitely.
Q. And Jonathan, and that would eventually work itself out?
SAMAJE PERINE: Yeah, of course.
Q. How has practice been going so far?
STERLING SHEPARD: Man, spot on. I feel like everybody is locked in and focused. Everybody is just ready to get this game underway. Everybody is excited about it.
Q. From last year's game, what do you remember about going up against Mackensie Alexander from Clemson. How tough is he in coverage?
STERLING SHEPARD: Man, it was what it was. They've got a physical defense. That's just all it is. That's about it.
Q. You were banged up last year. Are you good to go in this game, feeling healthier?
STERLING SHEPARD: Yeah, I mean, I wasn't feeling too good at all at the beginning of last game with them, and it just feels good to just be going into this thing healthy. It's always better when everybody is feeling good.
Q. Do these bowl practices this year compared to last year feel different for you guys?
STERLING SHEPARD: Yeah, for sure. I mean, I feel like everybody is focusing and we're locked in. We know what's at stake, and we know that's one of our goals at the beginning of the season was to make it to the National Championship. This game is kind of in our way, so we have to get there.
Q. What else is different about the offense this season?
STERLING SHEPARD: I mean, just the pace of our offense, scheme, different schemes, just different play calling all around. It's more exciting. It's an explosive offense that can make something happen at any time.
Q. How have you grown?
STERLING SHEPARD: Since when, like freshman year? I mean, just working on the little things: Route running, different releases. I feel like my releases are a lot better this year, and my route running.
Q. Charles Tapper yesterday was talking about all the adversity you guys have gone through. How good does it feel to be here after everything you've been through?
STERLING SHEPARD: Yeah, I mean, all the things that we fought through, those things that have made this team stronger, and we're excited to be where we are right now. But we know we're not exactly where we want to be, so everybody is striving for greatness, and we've got to keep pushing.
Q. When you look at things like the Texas loss, obviously you wish they wouldn't have happened, but have those things happened?
STERLING SHEPARD: Yeah, like I said, the things that we've been through as a team, as a unit, they've ultimately helped us come closer together. Even dealing with the locker room, it's been one of those deals where everybody just kind of draws closer to each other just because we're in such small quarters.
Q. You mentioned the small quarters. Who is someone that you've grown closer to?
STERLING SHEPARD: I mean, it's just guys on my defensive side of the ball. I have a locker next to Stanvon and Steven Parker, so those are both DBs. It's not like I'm just around the offensive guys like I have in the previous locker room. I talk to the defensive guys more. Like I said, Stanvon, he's my locker roommate right to the right of me, so he's probably one of the guys I talk to a lot that I probably wouldn't be talking to as much.
Q. That's just the organization of the locker room; you could have been next to Stan in the big locker room, right? Why wasn't it still organized by unit?
STERLING SHEPARD: I mean, it was so much bigger I feel like. You know what I mean? The other locker room is so spread out, you wouldn't have to worry about talking to somebody about picking up their stuff, things like that, so you just end up talking to people that you wouldn't have talked to just because we've got to keep everything clean. I don't know, it just kind of ends up happening that way.
Q. How much does your dad's National Championship motivate you in times like these, the days before you have a chance to go get your own?
STERLING SHEPARD: It motivates you a lot. My mom gave me his National Championship ring for graduation, so that gave me a little bit of extra motivation, just getting to see that ring, and knowing that we're two games away from designing our own.
Q. What do you remember hearing about that game growing up, stories that you were told in the last few years that you've heard from older family members?
STERLING SHEPARD: I mean, that's the biggest game I've ever heard about. That, and I think he made some play at Okie State. But other than that, I hear about the National Championship. I mean, that's what sticks with everyone.
I think any fan base, that's going to stick with them, the National Championship. I don't know much about the game. I don't think I got to really see the game yet. But that would be kind of cool to go back and watch that.
Q. When did you graduate?
STERLING SHEPARD: I graduated in December.
Q. Has this reaffirmed everything you already knew about Bill Bedenbaugh?
LINCOLN RILEY: Yeah, it's no surprise to me. I've said several times, other than the obvious of coming to work for Bob Stoops and coming to Oklahoma and all the obvious benefits of being able to take a job like this, being able to work with him was an important part of it.
Q. Is there anything distinct about the Clemson defense?
LINCOLN RILEY: Yeah, they're good. They're pretty good. I was just saying over there, I think maybe one of the most impressive things is they're aggressive, like we are offensively, and they take a lot of chances and at times make some mistakes, but they're so athletic that they cover up many of those mistakes. It allows those guys to take chances and feel good about it, and they're one of the more aggressive defenses that we've played.
Q. When you watch them on tape (inaudible)?
LINCOLN RILEY: Yeah, I agree with that. Trust them in that it's either execute it or for some reason they don't and the other team has a good call, like I said, they've covered up, where most people would give up a 60 yarder they give up an 11 yarder, so they take chances but they also make you drive it, too, which is a tough combination, and that's one of the reasons they've been as good as they have been over the last three years and obviously this year.
Q. How important is it for Baker to be good in the open field like he has been? Can you win a big game without him running around making plays? Does he have to do that for you guys to be successful?
LINCOLN RILEY: He's going to have to do that. I mean, their front is good enough that you're going to end up outside the pocket, and most people's fronts are in this day and age. Everybody is so athletic on defense, most games are like that. We've needed him to do that quite a bit this year, and I wouldn't think this year would be much different.
Q. He said that his ability to evade tackles is something he just naturally has an instinct for. Is that what you see, just sort of has a sixth sense?
LINCOLN RILEY: He does, yeah. He's got a great feel for it, and I think he's got confidence to take some chances where another guy might just tuck it down and take the sack or try to throw it away at times. He takes more chances because he knows he can get out of it. He's got a strong lower body. You can see he pulls out of some of those tackles, and he's got a desire and a kind of fearlessness where he's completely fearless in those moments. You've got to be, standing back there with people coming in trying to take your head off.
Q. Were there any moments this year where he was starting to do something like that
LINCOLN RILEY: Oh, several, yeah, several. There was several four letter words coming out of my mouth with some of them. The one at Tulsa was one that comes to mind. Off the top there's been a few. But he's gotten better and better about it, about being smart. Again, one of the things I'm most proud of with him is I think he's only thrown five interceptions all year, and I don't think he's fumbled and lost one. For as many times as he touches the ball and is a factor in the play, in as many plays as we've played this year, to only have five turnovers is pretty impressive.
Q. Was there any certain time this season, before the season started where you looked at your offense and said we have the potential to run the ball as effectively as we are now?
LINCOLN RILEY: Yeah, I knew we were going to be able to. Now, did I think we've lead whatever we've led the last seven games? I don't know if I would have said that. I felt like we would be able to run the ball well. Just like the throwing game coming together it wasn't really that this group or that group wasn't getting it done, it was more, again, just kind of meshing it all together. I've said many years, earlier this year it was a mixed bag. We were at times not blocking it well enough, at times not calling it well enough, at times doing those things right and missing the cut or missing the hole.
I think the guys have played better. Those young linemen improving have helped, and then I think Samaje and Joe both have both gotten more in sync with what we are trying to do with the run game and just kind of all improved together.
Q. Back on Mayfield's interception, is that something you've been pleasantly surprised at? It looked like coming in he was a good quarterback, making a lot of plays, but he had a propensity to throw the ball. Does that surprise you how well he's done at that?
LINCOLN RILEY: Well, I think yes and no. I've been very, very happy with it, but also for him to be the guy out there playing, that was a requirement. When Coach Stoops and I sat down and visited about this from the very start, one of the things was we wanted to be better in the throw game, but we couldn't do that and have the turnovers go up. We laid that out for the quarterbacks from the first day I got here that that was going to be a huge requirement, and honestly that's probably what probably the singular thing that you can point to in the quarterback battle that we had that won Baker the job, because it was pretty close in the other areas. And so we've kind of laid that out and it's been important, and Baker even knew once he was named the starter that that was going to be important for him to continue playing. He's found a nice mix of being aggressive but also being strong.
LINCOLN RILEY: I didn't know. Our quarterback situation made sense because we had a guy that was getting ready to be a senior that would have been Baker's transfer year that he had to sit, and it was an offense that was similar. Now, I didn't know if the kid was going to leave the East Coast and this and that. I didn't know much about him personally, but I knew there were some things about the situation.
LINCOLN RILEY: Oh, yeah, he did. He picked a lot of them. And again, we're a lot different than we were there, and we're going to tailor it around, but I knew he had played something similar. I knew I liked what I saw of his ability.
Q. How do you find a balance between rest and rust in such a long break?
LINCOLN RILEY: That's always a challenge in these bowl deals. It always is. I like what we've done, but we've done a ton of good on good here. We haven't had them on the field just incredibly long, but the work has been a lot of quality work against obviously a very good defense. That's been incredibly competitive. Our team period yesterday, you would have thought we were in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. I told them it was a blood bath and it was awesome. I think we've had a good mix of it. We've kind of gotten them back healthy, gotten some good work, but also trying to maintain our edge and being physically and mentally prepared, as well.
Q. You've risen pretty fast in your profession. Can you believe you're at this stage at the age that you're at?
LINCOLN RILEY: I really don't think of it that way, at least not right now while we're in the middle of it. It'll probably be one of those things that later in your life you look back on, but I'm kind of taking it day by day and enjoying every second of it.
Q. What do you attribute getting to this point to?
LINCOLN RILEY: I mean, being around really, really good people, really good coaches, being raised by good parents, being lucky, being in some spots where things happened at a time or turned the right way for me. I've had a lot of good players. We had good players at Texas Tech, we had good players at East Carolina, and we have good players here. It's a lot of stuff that I had nothing to do with.
Q. Where did you get lucky?
LINCOLN RILEY: A lot of places. I got lucky that Mike Leach was crazy enough to hire me when I was 23 years old. I got lucky that honestly the whole thing went down when he got let go at Texas Tech and got a chance to call that game and kind of get an opportunity to show what we could do. Got lucky that Shane Carden decided to come to East Carolina and Justin Hardy decided to walk on. Got lucky that Sterling Shepard stayed in cool, that Samaje Perine's not selfish, that Ty Darlington is the smartest person in the room, that Bob Stoops wanted to take a chance on me and lived up to every word that everything that he promised me. I could go on and on about that for a while.
Q. He wants everyone to believe he's not fast, and the last three games
TY DARLINGTON: He doesn't get caught. That's the thing. I was talking about that with somebody recently. He doesn't get caught, and that's you can say thunder and lightning with Mixon, but not really because Joe is too big to be lightning. He's like 220 pounds, and Samaje might be too fast to just be thunder.
Q. If you're a DB and you want to try and chase him down
TY DARLINGTON: Oh, yeah. It's formidable size and strength.
Q. Coach Venables said there's not a whole lot of value in watching the film of last year's game, but Samaje said there is motivation, value for you in terms of motivation. Would you agree with that?
TY DARLINGTON: Yeah, you can't lie and say it's not on our minds, at least some measure. Teams are very different. On both sides of the ball there's a lot of personnel changes. In our case there was a complete system change. And what they're doing defensively, they didn't do a lot of it what they did last year is completely different from what they're doing now on defense. In that way there's not a whole lot. At the same time you go back and watch that TV copy and listen to the commentary and watch the game, and yeah, not wanting to see or do anything like that for a while.
Q. Baker said he thought it was disrespectful, the commentary.
TY DARLINGTON: I hadn't seen it until recently. I mean, I'm not going to say it was uncalled for because we very much deserved a lot of it, but it was pretty critical. I was surprised. I don't know if I've ever heard it.
Q. What did they say?
TY DARLINGTON: I'm not going to put that out there.
Q. It's already out there, though.
TY DARLINGTON: Some of the stuff, just some of the stuff about comparing us to them and just kind of
Q. Y'all didn't deserve to be on the same field with them?
TY DARLINGTON: Um
Q. Do the coaches bring it up?
TY DARLINGTON: It's there to watch if you want to watch it.
Q. Speaking of unpleasant memories that you probably don't want to talk about, what changed for you guys after Texas?
TY DARLINGTON: Just a complete like mentality switch, I think. It was a look in the mirror moment, where it was like, how serious are we about conference play because somebody asked me over there if I thought that we would be here, and this is where we planned to be all along, right here, in this stage, in this playoff game to go to the big game. That's where we planned to be since the day after Clemson last year. That was a moment we had to look at ourselves and realize, okay, we've got to do something different because that was not championship level football. And even before that point, we had played we had won, but we had not played like we play now.
Q. The Tulsa game?
TY DARLINGTON: Yeah, Tulsa scored a lot of points on us. Tennessee was ugly. We played terrible at Tennessee. All in all, that Tennessee game, we really played pretty poorly. And even like Akron, didn't play very clean in the Akron game. Until after that Texas game, that's where we really saw it, and you saw us play with like energy that we had never played with before after that game. That Kansas State game, the next one, we could've played (inaudible) it wouldn't have mattered. We really came out swinging, and every game since then. It didn't matter if we were playing in Lawrence, Kansas, or playing in Waco, a big time atmosphere. The energy from the team from there on out, the energy and the focus throughout the week and on game day, second to none.
Q. How did the offense go from getting six sacks at Texas I know that's not necessarily you guys' fault, to just dominating the line of scrimmage like you are now?
TY DARLINGTON: I think we've taken ownership a lot. After that Texas game, it wasn't just successful with 70 yards rushing or just something absolutely abysmal, that is not what we're accustomed to. We're talking about dominating games. We're not talking about finishing midway in the conference and this and that. We want to give up the least sacks and rush for the most yards in the conference, and that's the goal from the start. That wasn't the way we were performing. I think after that Texas game, everybody individually, individually each man looked in the mirror and said, what am I going to do to change it, because it's got to be personal, and I think they had to sort of take it personal. I as an individual and us as a group are letting down the rest of the team because we're not performing to the standard that we're capable of.
NILA KASITATI: I think we played a big part just with everybody coming together as a team, putting whatever it is that they needed to put aside in order to be a team, be united as a team.
I think there's just different events, things that happen throughout the season, throughout the year, that brought us together as a team thus far to where we are right now.
Q. When the whole thing was happening at Missouri, what was that like? I don't know if you felt like you took the first step, and that was a pretty big deal for them.
NILA KASITATI: Yeah, you know, I think they you know, it did sort of remind us of what we did. We saw what they did over there and the steps that they took and what they stood for.
Q. Do you think things have changed on campus at all since that happened back in March?
NILA KASITATI: I think so. I think so.
Q. In what respect?
NILA KASITATI: The biggest thing is awareness of what goes on on campus. I think that right there, just people being more aware of what's going on with racism and discrimination and everything that's going on on campus, I think we were more aware of it, which makes it more sensitive of a topic. I think the biggest thing for us as a team was just understanding, for some people it's not comfortable for them to be treated that way. It's not right.
So I think just having that awareness will make more things move throughout the campus and stuff like that.
Q. Other guys talked about that with the small locker room they've gotten close to guys they wouldn't have otherwise gotten close to. Is there anyone like that for you?
NILA KASITATI: I think just the guys all together. You know, I try to do a good job of knowing all my teammates' names and knowing just a little bit about them, seeing that we're all teammates and all in this together. But I think everybody as a team there's not one guy that I could point to, but I think I'm pretty cool I'd like to think I'm pretty cool with everybody in there, and they're cool with me, as well. But yeah.
Q. How does that help your team chemistry overall?
NILA KASITATI: It's helped a lot. And I think the coolest thing is people just realize that, guys on the team just realize that. With this high school locker room that we have over here, it's brought us together as a team, helped bringing that chemistry back that we needed as a group.
Q. Who are the guys on the side of you in the locker room?
NILA KASITATI: Neville Gallimore, and actually I'm on the end, so it's Neville and Matt Dimon.
Q. One is a true freshman, two D linemen, guys you probably wouldn't talk to much?
NILA KASITATI: I guess so, yeah. Me and Neville are really cool, though.
Q. Any funny stories from Neville?
NILA KASITATI: Neville, I love to say Neville is a pretty decent singer himself, so sometimes we'll just bust out in a song or duet or something like that, and some people will come around and start making beats or something like that, just messing around and stuff like that.
Q. Talk about the leadership on the team. Is that something everybody has got to figure out on their own?
NILA KASITATI: I think we have some great leaders that are going to be here next year, guys like Orlando. Orlando I think is going to be a great leader next year and the years to come. But just within practice, within workouts, within summer workouts and winter workouts, just trying to instill some of these things, Ty more than me is a vocal person. Like I said, I lead by example hopefully. I'll get my one on one times with the guys and stuff like that, but not really speaking in front of the team and all that stuff. But when I think of guys like Orlando and Jonathan Alvarez, guys are going to step up this year, and they're going to do a great job as a leader.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports