August 9, 2006

Horns hope Orakpo can bring heat off the edge

One of the big goals for the Texas Longhorns on the defensive side of the ball this year is to get more outside pass rush coming off the edge from their talented group of defensive ends. One of the keys to that success will be sophomore Brian Orakpo. One year after earning freshman All-America honors, most expect the former Houston prep star to take off to the next level. Orangebloods.com had a chance to sit talk with Orakpo on Thursday to get his thoughts on the upcoming season.

Q: Let's start out by getting your thoughts on how the first week of camp has been going. What have you seen out there?

A: Practice has been real good. (Thursday) was probably by far our best practice since we've had pads on for the second day. Everyone is hitting and making contact, so this practice was by far our best. Everyone has been doing well It's been real good.

Q: Were you able to turn it on a little more in these last two workouts, even if you aren't in full pads?

A: Yeah, the first two days we're kind of getting used to the feel of football and getting used to the feel of being on the field again, so it's different when you have pads on because you can do more plays and more contact. We're getting back into the groove again. Tomorrow we'll be in full pads and we'll see how things go.

Q: Even with Brian Robison and Tim Crowder back for their senior seasons, there's some thought that you might be the best pure pass rusher on the team and could be a player that's on the very of becoming an impact performer off the edge. What do you anticipate for this season? What are your goals?

A: My expectations for the team are to continue to have a great defense. As far as that perspective, me, Tim and Brian Robison are going to be on the same rotation, and all three of us are going to continue to give it our best. All of us have great pass rush ability, so it'll be the same as last year. We're going to give 100% all the way.

Q: How have you worked to change your body from last year? What things have you done to get stronger?

A: Last year I played at like 235 (pounds) and this year I'm at 247, so I gained about 12 or 13 pounds. I'm still feeling great. I still feel like I can move quick and fast enough, so it's been real good gaining weight. I feel a lot better coming on tackles a lot and holding my own, but other than that it's been great.

Q: Do you think last year you relied too much on your speed rush and if that was the case, will you be able to mix in more parts to your repertoire this year?

A: I was probably working more on my speed and power because a lot of people think I'm just speed, but I also like to work on my power moves so that I can surprise attack them. I really have something underneath this little 245-pound body, so I'm working on both really. All three of us have been good at that.

Q: What's a realistic sack number for you and the other defensive ends this year?

A: Every practice we try to at least get five sacks as a total, so for the season we all probably want to get - our goal is to get double-digit sacks because we haven't had that since Aaron Humphrey. Our main goal is to just get 10 sacks. Let's get more than double-digits in sacks and we'll see how that goes.

Q: Would you be surprised if that didn't happen this year?

A: I would be surprised because all of us are great pass rushers. One or two or all three of us is going to get it. I have a feeling that we are this year because this is the year to really come out and show the Big 12 and the whole country that we are a great defensive end group.

Q: How have some of the young defensive ends looked so far in practice?

A: The freshmen are really picking it up fast. Eddie (Jones), Brian (Ellis) and Lamaar (Houston) are really coming along real good. They are a lot further than what most of us used to be when we first came in. They are doing real good. They still have stuff to work on, but that's just part of the progression.


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