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August 29, 2011

Fozzy Whittaker

Q. To get through camp and not be hurt, how do you feel about starting the season?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: First off, it goes with our summer training and conditioning with Ben Wylie and Coach Madden. Those are guys that have been instrumental in helping me maintain my weight, put on more weight initially and then being able to maintain that through fall camp. It's probably the strongest that I've ever been. I also weigh the most that I ever have, and being able to maintain that is helping me be very efficient and not getting injured. I feel like I give that all to Coach Wylie and Coach Madden.

Q. Did you feel a real competition to land that No. 1 job?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: You know, it was. Those guys coming in and the previous guys that's already been here, they're hungry, they want to start just like I was in previous years. Everybody wants to play. You know, I take it upon myself that every day is an open competition. I try to work my hardest to be the best that I can be, to provide the team any spark that I can.

Q. How much did you hate (indiscernible)?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: I wouldn't say I necessarily hate it, but I know that I will remember them forever. You know, it's one of those times that especially this summer it's particularly hot for us. We've gone through kind of a drought this year, and just being out there working, especially at 2:00 out there on the turf, you know, feet burning up, I feel like it's only just made us mentally tougher and stronger.

Q. This is the longest layoff between games that you guys have had. With everything you've gone through this summer (indiscernible)?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: I'm so excited. Right now I just have so much energy and emotion just stored up in my body. I can't wait until September 23rd comes around, and I know our whole team is like that. It's been the longest since we've come out -- we've been waiting for this moment since January 17th which is the day that we reported back here, so it's been a long time coming, but we're all excited.

Q. Talk about the importance of attitude.
FOZZY WHITTAKER: You know, we got hit in the mouth last year, and basically it's not necessarily what we did last year but how we respond to it. So this Saturday, this year, is going to be an interview for us playing against Rice. How we respond to what we did last year, and I feel like our attitude is very positive, and we're all excited going into this game.

Q. Can you win with Garrett?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: Yes, we can. Garrett, he's a strong leader. He's become more vocal and authoritative in his position. He's took it upon himself to be a better leader, and you know, being the leader that he already was and adding onto that instills more trust in the whole team.

Q. Was it tough for you watching all those quarterbacks?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: It is because you see the competition level raises each day. Those guys are very competitive. You can see exactly who are the guys that want to compete. All four of them are guys that will go out there and they'll lay their life out on the line for the team, and just seeing them compete for that starting job, it put -- it increases our trust in all of them. Whoever came out on top, we knew they had the trust of the team.

Q. How difficult is that for the rest of the team?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: You know, it was pretty different just because we didn't know who was going to be playing. As players you typically have an idea of who the coach probably wants to rotate in more or get more rest, but this year all four of them rotated in with first team, second team, you couldn't even really tell who was going to be starting quarterback. I didn't even know until today whenever Coach Brown released it that Garrett was going to be the quarterback. I feel like it's a compliment to all of them that they worked very hard, and you know, they're all fighting for that spot.
I feel like any of them could have won it, but Garrett was the one that came out on top.

Q. How big is your role?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: I feel like my role is amplified especially because in the running back position we have two young freshmen that will be playing this year, so being a mentor to them along with Cody Johnson, he and I both, we're fifth year seniors, we've been here through it all, we know the good and the bad and exactly what the coaches expect for us, so that's one of the things Cody and I have taken upon ourselves to be mentors to those younger guys and help them read defenses better and make them better running backs.

Q. How good does it feel to get through fall camp not having a knee or an ankle or something like that since you've had such great fall camps in the past and then something pops up?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: You know, I did reflect back on it for a brief moment. As soon as we finished our last scrimmage it was one of those things I just looked up to God and I was like, thank God for letting me get through another camp safe and sound. Just having that type of confidence, it provides more enthusiasm inside my body to be excited. I feel like Coach Wylie and Coach Madden, like I said, were key instruments in helping me get to this point, and now I just have to go out and do what I can.

Q. What will you tell the young guys about this week?
FOZZY WHITTAKER: I know first off they're going to be nervous and jittery having those butterflies. I know that's how I was when I first started playing, and these guys just coming in only within a month within football, I know they're going to be very nervous. I've got to take it upon myself to try to find ways to help them calm down. Once they get that first play under their belt, I know they'll just go out there and play and just be excited to be out there.

Q. (No microphone.)
FOZZY WHITTAKER: I think to overlook us to be a hard thing because we've had so much success in the past, and I feel like given the season that we did have last year, we have a different type of attitude about ourselves wanting to prove to everybody that 5 and 7 is not up to our standards, so that's one thing that we've taken upon ourselves to basically go out there and prove to everybody that we never want to have a season like we did last year.

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