Thursday, Aug. 6, 2009 | 4:50 p.m.
I'll just say that there's a lot of anticipation with camp starting, and I can tell that guys are very anxious about just getting into this thing.
The newcomers, they're all ears and they're ready to learn. I think this is one of the best recruiting classes that we've had here in a very long time. We're getting guys who are even on Rivals as a couple of 'star' athletes. Compared to years that I've seen before, I think this year we have a great recruiting class.
We're also returning a lot of guys, and I can say for myself that it's very competitive, and there's just something in the air right now to where every guy understands that their job could possibly be taken with so many talented guys on the team. Someone needs to become the victor and someone needs to earn their spot, so everyone's ready to work and guys are very focused right now.
For the most part, I've noticed that, I've noticed that the coaches understand that as far as personnel goes, we have a lot of talent. The best players are gonna play.
Coach Therrell says already that a lot of these coaches, they have no reason not to play certain guys, because this is what they do, this is their income, this is how they feed their families. The best guys are going to play.
I can just feel it going into camp. Guys have something to prove, and that's just a really good sign.
On UNLV's mention as a 2009 sleeper by Mel Kiper Jr. Thursday morning on ESPN ...
We saw it. We were eating breakfast in the Thomas & Mack Center.
We didn't have any volume on it, but I was just thinking that they were saying something about how we're going to be a surprise team.
We were definitely excited about that. It's very rare that we see ourselves on SportsCenter or ESPN or anything like that. A lot of guys were making jokes, saying 'Oh, this is how it feels to be on ESPN and see yourself, see UNLV.'
It's just another thing added on. You could see it as pressure, but it's a good problem to have, being worried about staying humble. It's a good problem to have, when people are talking you up, saying that you're possibly a sleeper.
All of that is positive publicity. At UNLV, we're very proud to be in that position. I know coach Sanford is. And he's come a long way, he got a contract extension, so it just seems like everything is setting up for a big season.
But none of that comes without hard work, and I just hope that the team doesn't change, that we keep it within the family and that guys are not effected by what the media says or anything the media does, because we've seen it plenty of times in the past. And just as much as they can compliment you, they can knock you down as well. You never want to judge yourself, grade yourself or look at yourself by what the media's saying or doing.
That was big-time, just to see yourself on SportsCenter. The newcomers, I know those guys got excited, because they understand that, hey, at UNLV, people are watching. You can accomplish anything, and the sky's the limit here at UNLV.
On my new haircut ...
I've heard non-stop about this haircut.
My whole thing is I just wanted something different. This is my last year, my senior year, and I felt like I wanted to let it all hang out, let my emotions, my spirit just come out this year in my play. Just focus on making it a coming-out party for UNLV. Not just myself, but UNLV. With UNLV's success comes my success, and I think this is going to be the year.
It's kind of a sign to let people know that I'm in this 100 percent. This is all I think about. When I'm at home getting a haircut, anything, this haircut in my head means 'football.' It means dedication. It means UNLV Rebels. So, I'm kind of sending a sign out there to guys how serious I take this, how serious this is to me.
When it comes time to put the pads on, I'm gonna let guys know. I'm gonna practice every day like it's my last, I'm gonna play every game like it's my last, because you never know, this year could be my last.
I'm gonna be working extremely hard, and that's all this is, really. That's all the haircut is -- it's an attitude. I'm very focused.
Talk to you again soon as fall camp continues.