March 18, 2013
What does the term “DBU” mean to you?
It means a lot to me. Just being back here at the university - there’s a lot of tradition here especially in the defensive back position. Guys have had a lot of success playing here. And it just means that you go out there and make plays and make a difference during the course of a game. I’m pretty proud to be one of those guys.
How responsible for that moniker is assistant head coach/defensive backs coach Duane Akina?
Totally. I think he’s the reason we have so much success here. From all the things that he teaches us on the field and off the field, also. Being the best people that we can be. And that makes us all tight as a unit when we play here. I can remember having the most fun I could have, but still going out there and playing hard and physical and winning some big-time ball games.
What does it mean to you to have been a part of this continuing tradition that is “DBU”?
My last season here was 2003, and to still be able to come back and still be relevant to a lot of the players that are still here means a lot. A lot of the young guys come in and see the faces of ex-players that play in the NFL visiting campus and look up to them, and it means a lot to be a part of that.
Why do ex-players enjoy coming back to visit?
That’s just the way it is. I think when you get recruited here to come to a university like this, it’s a lifetime commitment. And plus, you know that you’re always welcome to come back. So it’s like a big family. Whenever you can have success like that and take it to another level, whether you are playing in the NFL or doing something else productive outside of the NFL, it’s a big deal and this is where it starts for all of us.
When you come back, does Coach Akina have you talk to some of the guys, and if so, what do you tell them?
I was here this morning and had a chance to talk to a few of the guys that didn’t know who I was, and I had a chance to introduce myself. And I told them that I was in the same seat that they are in now, and that to listen to the stuff that Coach Akina tells them because it pays off. And if you can go out there and put in the hard work and dedication that the sky is the limit.
What does it mean to you to see your picture on the wall of the defensive backs' meeting room with all those other legends?
It means a lot. A lot of great athletes come in and out of these doors, and to still be able to come back and know that you left a little bit of a mark with the university and this great program is big. Plus it gives the young guys something to work for. So they can come back one day and maybe have their face on these walls, too.
How much responsibility do you feel as part of the "DBU" group and helping to make it what it has become?
I feel like I was a part of the earlier group with myself and Quentin Jammer, Rod Babers - and I could go back to a few others guys also - but it was just the group that played hard and had a great time doing it at the same time. And I think that’s when you’re playing at your best. And plus guys going to the NFL and doing so many great things. We still have a lot of guys playing in the NFL right now, and they are still carrying that pride of being a part of DBU and playing for the University of Texas.
What are some of the characteristics that a University of Texas defensive back has to have?
You have to play with an attitude and toughness. Both of those are key. I think you have to be a playmaker and somebody that changes the course of a game. And have the capability to close out and finish big-time ballgames. Being in the secondary is just one of those things where you have to be dependable.
Have you followed the progress of some of your teammates and other Texas defensive backs?
Yes, every time I turn on the TV or even play against one of these guys it seems like we’re everywhere. We are pretty much on every team. I was talking to Coach Akina and he was saying that he’s so proud of being able to see a lot of guys that he’s been able to coach to go out there and do well. It means a whole lot to me to be under that, also.
What part does Coach Brown play in all of this?
Coach Brown recruited me. I was part of his second recruiting class. He knows how to put together a team, a good group of guys, and send them out there to do their best.
How big a part did Coach Brown and Coach Akina play in you being able to go to the NFL and have success?
Huge. I wouldn’t of been able to do anything without those guys believing in me and believing in my talents and encouraging me to be the best person and DB that I could be while I was here, and take full advantage what the University of Texas has to offer. I mean, for me coming back here ten years later and still being relevant is awesome.