Rookie left tackle Duane Brown is looking forward to his first NFL game on Saturday.
Rookie left tackle Duane Brown, the Texans' first-round pick at No. 26 overall, admits he'll be nervous when his first NFL game begins on Saturday. But he looks forward to applying his coaches' instructions from an offseason of hard work when he takes the field against the Denver Broncos.
1. How has the grueling schedule of training camp affected you?
"Oh, man. It's gruesome. Waking up every morning around 6, not getting back to my room 'til about 10, it's hard on you. But it's a job; it's not college any more. You don't go to classes. This is all you do right now. So it's pretty much what I expected. I'm just learning you've got to really take care of your body. You've got to get as much rest as possible and eat right to be able to withstand the time demand. But I'm doing pretty good."
2. How does this compare with a camp at Virginia Tech?
"Well first of all, it didn't get this hot at Virginia Tech. That's the main thing; just adjusting to this heat. And the tempo of practice is so much faster. We're trying to get a lot done in as little time as possible, so it's a little faster. And, of course, going against our defense, it's a lot different from what I'm used to, but I've adapted pretty well."
3. How has coming in as a rookie with your college teammate Xavier Adibi helped your transition?
"It's been helping me a lot. Me and him have known each other since our freshmen year in college and have become pretty good friends and to be able to share this transition with somebody that I'm real close friends with is good. Being able to share our experiences and just how we fill in the time, it helps you get through it, so I really appreciate him being here."
4. What have you learned from veteran left tackle Ephraim Salaam?
"I've learned a lot. Ephraim's a great pro, a great veteran. He's taught me a lot of things; what to do on the field and also off the field and just how to carry yourself and handle things, and he's really been helping me out."
5. What has it been like working with Alex Gibbs?
"It's been great. He's a great coach. He knows a lot. He's been coaching forever and with great players, so you really have to respect him and take heed to what he tells you. And I fit into the scheme pretty well because I'm pretty athletic and able to cut off the back side and pass block on the left tackle side, so he's been teaching me a lot and they've been real patient with me."
6. What do you feel like you still need to work on the most?
"Just technique. You can never have perfect technique. You've just got to keep working at it. Being that I've only played one season at left tackle, I still have things to polish up, so I think that's the main thing."
7. How do you deal with the pressure of being thrust into the starting lineup as a rookie?
"I've just got to work. You can't have too many mistakes with that first group, and going against veterans and guys that played all last year and have got good chemistry, it just forces you to pick up your tempo and learn as much as fast as possible. But I think I've done pretty good, and I just want to keep continuing to do well."
8. How have you been preparing for the first game?
"Just working hard in practice. That's all you can really do. Film study, trying to get a key on their defensive ends and what they do in general on defense. I think that'll slow the game for me down a little bit, just knowing what might happen before it happens, just being able to see things. But you're not really going to know what's going to happen until you get out there, so I can't really prepare myself too much. I'm doing everything I can, but when it's game time, it's going to be a little different. Just got to man up."
9. What's going to be going through your mind during your first series in the Denver game on Saturday?
"Just do what I've been doing up to this point. Just focus on my technique. I can't listen to what people (Broncos defenders) are saying too much. I can't let anybody get into my head. But I'm going to be pretty nervous, you know. It's my first NFL game, a home game against a good team, so I'm going to be pretty nervous. But once I get that first hit out of the way, I'll be alright."
10. How does it feel to know that all eyes will be on you, the rookie trying to win the starting left tackle job?
"Being a first-round pick, you have high expectations. First game, it's at home, I know a lot of people are going to be watching me, but like I said I'll just do what I've been taught to do by my coaching staff and I think I'll be fine."
To have the opportunity to sit down with Brown or another Texans rookie at the Pancakes & Pigskins Rookie Breakfast on Sept. 9, **click here.**