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Notes: Backup RBs ready, Watt can't wait


Notes from the practice field and locker room at Reliant Stadium on Wednesday:

RBs readyThe Texans are still hopeful that running back Arian Foster (hamstring) can play on Sunday. If he can't, they're confident in backups Derrick Ward, Ben Tate and Steve Slaton.

"Derrick's played a lot of football and played really well for us," quarterback Matt Schaub said. "Ben Tate's had a great camp and he's coming along good. Steve, we know what he can do. He can go in and play really well for us, so we've got a lot of confidence in all those guys in whoever's back there."

Tate, who missed his 2010 rookie season with an ankle injury, could be making his regular-season debut against Indy.

"The anticipation is building," Tate said. "I'm going to go out here every day, try to get ready, work hard and when Sunday shows up, try to ball out."

Ward, an eighth-year veteran, averaged 6.3 yards per carry last season as Foster's backup.

"We've all prepared like we're going to be starters, practiced like we're going to be starters," said Ward, who has been getting first-team reps in practice.

Watt can't waitRookie defensive end J.J. Watt, the first-round pick from Wisconsin, is excited to make his regular-season debut.

"It's finally the real deal," he said. "This is what you dream about as a kid. The preseason's fun and all, but this is the real NFL. This is why you come to play. The adrenaline is starting to pump and the fans are getting excited, so we can't wait."

Watt is also looking forward to getting his first crack at the perennial division-winning Colts.

"I believe I heard that they've won the AFC South nine out of the last 10 years," he said. "Any time a team has that type of record, you obviously respect them greatly. We're coming in here and we want to stop that record. We want to change the tape and we want to win the AFC South. That's our goal, and so this is step one. This is the first step. You can't win the AFC South if you don't beat the teams in division."

Right mindsetWide receiver Andre Johnson was asked if this is the most excited he has been about the Texans. The five-time Pro Bowler is by far the longest-tenured Texan, having been with the team since 2003.

"I think we have a great football team," Johnson said. "Everybody talks about the playoffs and stuff like that. I don't really get caught up in that. We still got to go out and play the game. If we don't go out and win, we don't go to the playoffs. There's no reason to talk about it. Of course that's a goal. It's every team's goal coming into the season, going to the playoffs and hopefully getting to the Super Bowl and winning, but talking about it is not going to get us anywhere. We have to go out and win games."

Smith issues statementDefensive end Antonio Smith made a statement in the Texans' locker room about the tragic death of his friend, Lamar Crenshaw, who reportedly drowned in Smith's swimming pool over the weekend.

"First off, I just want to lend out my prayers and my thoughts to Lamar's family," he said. "A tragic accident happened, and it's a just heartfelt type of thing. It's a thing that sinks in my heart. Other than that, I'm cooperating with the ongoing investigation, so I can't speak anything else about the situation on that."

"It's about what we do and how we prepare and how we play as a team. All we can concentrate on is our business and going out and playing a good clean football game, so we're focused on our side of the ball and what we can control and not who's on their side of the ball and what they're doing."
- QB Matt Schuab, on Colts QB Peyton Manning being ruled out of Sunday's game

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