I came in on Monday to watch some film and sat down with Lincoln Riley to talk about the upcoming week, and he let me know I'd be starting.
What was your reaction when he told you?
Obviously, very ecstatic, I'm ready to go. I've been training for this for two and a half years, so obviously, I'm very excited for the opportunity.
When was the last time you started a game? Did you win?
Last time I started a game was the championship game in High School. We won the game by a big amount, so I'm hoping for the same outcome this week.
How did you feel about getting in against South Carolina? Your first possession was rough with the interception, but you seemed to settle down. Elaborate on that.
First possession, I was just trying to do too much - trying to fit it into a tight coverage – should have just checked into another play. After that, I settled down a little bit and started to play good. My uncle gave me a shout out today; I hadn't talked to him since the game. He told me that his first pass in college was actually an interception too, which made me feel a little better.
What do you anticipate from Southern Miss and what are your goals this week?
Obviously, one goal is to win the game. First conference game/division game – it's a big game for us and them – so we just want to get the win. They're going to be a good team, they're going to fly around, and obviously this game means a lot to them too, so we got to come out, start fast, play hard, and be ready to go.
Southern Miss does a lot of things similar to what South Carolina does defensively. What are some adjustments you have to make from last week.
Just making routine plays, we have our scheme that we're going in with and we need to trust that, not try to do too much, and give out the ball to the playmakers we have.
It's a big game, so what's been the mood of the team in this regard?
Absolutely, it is a big game, so we just got to forget about the last game, make the corrections that we messed up on, and be ready. The first two practices we had this week have been great, everyone is flying around. I'm very excited for this game. It's a big game for us and everybody knows that, so we're coming in ready to go.
It was a tough environment last Saturday, a lot of noise. How'd you guys do communication wise?
I thought we did really well, communication wise – we did really well. Obviously because we run a no- huddle, we have to communicate a lot, and with a loud audience it makes it hard at times, but I thought our offense did really well at that.
This is your chance to grab the reigns of the team, how do you feel about that?
This is my chance to get in there and show them that I can be the starter and lead this team to victories here, a winning season, and hopefully to a conference championship, that's our goal. So I just have to take it as an opportunity to perform.
Were you surprised to get in Saturday?
No. I went into these first two games ready to play. As a back-up, your one play away from getting in. So when I got the call, I was ready to go and I guess I made the most of it.
The Pirates are looking for a win, in what could be the biggest game of the season to this point. Southern Miss is both a conference and division opponent, which means a win against them is twice as important. The morale of the team at practice was very high and all signs point to the Pirates coming out and playing hard this weekend. Be ready for a hard-hitting, fast-paced game, as both teams will be flying around all over the field.