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10 questions with Okoye


Amobi Okoye is focused on improving upon his 2008 campaign, when he produced one sack and 24 tackles.

The Texans' defense ranked 22nd in the NFL last season. To turn that around, the team is counting on strong play from defensive tackle Amobi Okoye, who played in only 13 games in 2008.

Okoye is focused this preseason on becoming the anchor of the defensive line. The former first-round pick from Louisville had 24 tackles and a sack last year.

1. What are you focusing on improving the most as you head into the last week of training camp?

"I just want to keep working on my get-up and taking the right angles."

2. Last season you struggled with an ankle injury and during the offseason you dealt with knee discomfort. Do you feel 100 percent right now for this upcoming season?

"Well, with football you never really feel 100 percent, but I feel great to go."

3. How are you taking to Frank Bush's and defensive line coach Bill Kollar's new system for the defense?

"I really like the scheme. I like the methodology in a sense and I think everything is going to work great. I really like what we're working on. There's a lot of similarities to what I did in college. "

4. How do you think the defense held up against the Kansas City Chiefs last weekend?

"I think we did a fairly decent job. We had a lot of pressures in there. We could always be better. We had a lot of batted balls. We had a sack, Connor Barwin, the rookie came in and got a sack. So I think we played good, but we could always be better. We could probably just be more aware of the three-step pass rush, three-step drop and put our hands up more often."

5. Did any defensive rookies impress or surprise you in Kansas City?

"Yeah, definitely Connor. Connor showed me a lot. Tim Jamison showed me improvement in his take-off, his get-off, and just going and not really hesitating to worry about anything."

6. Which player - past or present - do you try to model your game after?

"John Randall, Warren Sapp, Tommy Harris. Those are the three defensive tackles that I really watched. My playing style is very similar to theirs and my body style is very similar to theirs."

7. How do you think the open practices versus the New Orleans Saints benefit the team?

"They're really going to benefit us a lot because we get to practice against another team and not going against the same bodies the whole time, so it kind of gives us a different look."

8. Are you feeling the pressure to really improve your game now that you're heading into your third season?

"There's always going to be pressures and expectations. Last year, I had a good, decent year for a second-year player. I just didn't have the expected year that I wanted, and so definitely there's always going to be pressures to be better."

9. Describe your pregame routine (pregame meal, pregame music, etc.).

"The only ritual I have would be that I try to say Psalms 91 and Psalms 121 in the hotel before I leave to get on the bus or to go have a pregame meal. After we come out of the tunnel, I sprint down to the end zone and sprint back to the bench. I say a prayer. I pray for both teams. I pray for my team to come out victorious. I pray for both teams to not have any injuries, any major injuries and just for my team to come out victorious."

10. You are very involved in the Houston community as well as in your native Nigeria. Can you explain more about your involvement in community organizations and why they're so important to you?

"I'm blessed, so I definitely have to spread that blessing around. My first love was to become a pediatrician, a doctor, and football came calling, so I couldn't do that. The foundation, in a sense, is kind of doing that same thing for me."

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