Defensive tackle Malcolm Sheppard joined the Texans as an undrafted free agent from Arkansas. The rookie from Bainbridge, Ga., recently took a timeout from training camp to answer '10 Questions' for HoustonTexans.com.
1. How hot is it out here at training camp? Do you guys look forward to no-pads practices?
"As defensive linemen, you kind of want the pads because it slows us down when we don't have them on. We have to look out for ourselves. It's just best for us if we have the pads on."
2. What are you looking forward to most about this upcoming season?
"Hopefully, just making the team. I'm enjoying my time here. I really want to stay here. I just want to do my best to stick around."
3. What's the worst thing about training camp as a rookie?
"It's just getting to know the system. Everything else is pretty easy. The guys can be pretty fun around here. You've just got to take it upon yourself to get to know the system, how things work and just getting adjusted."
4. What is some of the rookie hazing, like carrying pads, that you've had to go through if any?
"I take it as a privilege (carrying pads). These guys (the veterans) have already put big work in. I look up to all of our leaders and all the veterans that are here."
5. Well what are your thoughts on that type of NFL tradition?
"Tradition, I think, is something that should be done. It's necessary."
6. You majored in criminal justice at Arkansas; what are you looking to do with that degree after your playing career?
"When I walk away from football, I want to start off in the correctional facility that my dad works at and then slowly move off to police work. I just want to build my way up in the criminal justice system. Whenever football is over, if that is next year or if it's sometime down the road, I definitely want to get into that. It's something I love to do. I grew up watching my dad do it, so it's something I look forward to."
7. They used to call you "The Wood" back at Arkansas. Where did that come from?
"My coach gave me that. It was during our bowl practice my freshman year. He just asked who was going to be more physical and who was going to bring 'the wood.' I guess the practice we had (that day) was definitely a good day for me, so my coach just gave me that name and it stuck with me."
8. When you're away from football field, what are some things you enjoy doing?
"For the last couple months now, I love reading. I love drawing. I've gotten better at drawing. I like spending time with family, things like that. You know, just things that will take your mind off of football."
9. What are some of your weaknesses that you are really concentrating on improving on here at camp?
"Just getting better as a player. I know there are a lot of things that I need to work on to get better and I just watch the older guys and the way they work. Just to be half of what they are would be a big deal for me. So, just working and trying to get where they are at."
10. What are some of your strengths you bring to the team?
"Intensity. No matter how tired I get, I know I'm going to go full speed, no matter what. I think right now in my career, just to be a follower. I think we have good leadership and I can definitely be a good follower for the guys that are leading it and follow in their footsteps. I want to do my best to work on behind them."