Texans first round pick J.J. Watt and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips met with the media on Friday at Reliant Stadium and answered questions. The following is a transcript of their interview.
Texans defensive coordinator Wade PhillipsTexans defensive end J.J. Watt
Wade Phillips(opening statement) "Let me say one thing first. I think a lot of you are probably saying the same thing that 'Wow, I didn't know that he was that big.' He's almost 6'6". He had the largest hands at the combine and he wears a size 16 shoe and I don't know where y'all find that. He's a big man and I think that's part of it too. He's going to be bigger."
J.J. Watt(opening statement) "I'm very happy to be a Texan. I'm throwing that out there."
(on what the biggest adjustment will be for him in his transition from college) "I think just seeing better competition every single day. Obviously, I saw great competition in Gabe Carimi in the Wisconsin O-line in practice. At the end of the day though, this is the NFL and every single week, you're going to see a great offensive lineman. I'm excited to make that adjustment and can't wait to get to work with these coaches."
(on if he has wrapped his arms around being drafted yet) "It's starting to (sink in). When the plane was starting to land in Houston and I could kind of come around and see the city and see the stadium, it really started to hit me. It's an unbelievable experience for me and I can't wait to start working hard to make this city proud."
(on his response to people using the terms 'solid' and 'okay' to describe the pick) "That's fine. I've heard there have been some disappointed people and that's fine with me. I've been doubted before and Coach Phillips and the coaches here all have confidence in me and I have confidence in myself as a football player. At the end of the day, that's all that matters. If the coaches believe in me and if I believe in myself and the team, we're going to be just fine."
Wade Phillips"Again, you can say 'okay' but a 37-inch vertical at 290 pounds is not just okay, that's extraordinary. Running as fast as he did and as quick as he is, all those things plus his size and mobility, those aren't okay statistics. This guy is a really good athlete. I think he's humble which we really like about him, but this guy is as good of an athlete that was up there. I think all of us will see that."
J.J. Watt(on how he feels about feeling about playing for Coach Phillips in the 3-4 defense) "I'm extremely excited. We just got to go over the playbook real briefly and I can't wait to get to work with him because he has such a great defensive mind. Obviously he knows what he's doing with the defense. There's some great players he has to work with here and so I can't wait to fit into his scheme."
(on how much he has watched the Packers 3-4 the last couple years being from Wisconsin) "I've watched a lot of it, every time I get a chance I obviously watch the Packers play. Their 3-4 is very effective. The 3-4 has become very popular in this league so I'm excited to be a part of it and play to that five-technique."
(on the ring he's wearing) "The ring? This is the Big Ten championship ring."
Wade Phillips"There you go, championships. That's what we want."
J.J. Watt"I want a much bigger one, hopefully."
Wade Phillips:"We just want to go to one bowl game (laughs)."
J.J. Watt(on his journey here dating back to high school) "I just wanted to play football. It didn't matter to me where. I had mono after my junior year of high school and so I didn't get many scholarship offers. I committed to Central Michigan with Coach Brian Kelly. He ended up leaving for Cincinnati and so I opened by commitment and committed to Minnesota with Coach Glenn Mason. He ended up getting fired and then I re-opened my commitment again and committed to Central Michigan with Coach Butch Jones. I started at tight end as a true freshman. I transferred after that season. I went to a local college in Waukesha, Wisconsin for six months. I worked at Pizza Hut for six months. I walked on to the Badgers in June. I played on the scout team for a year. I earned Scout Team Player of the Year and earned a scholarship before ever stepping foot on the game field which was an unbelievable experience for me because Coach B (Bret Bielema) trusted me that much. I started for two years for Wisconsin and left after my junior year. It was a whirlwind, but it has all paid off."
(on improving Texans defense) "I am extremely excited about it. Anytime you draft someone in the first round, you expect them to come in and make an impact right away and you want them to be an integral part of your defense. I am extremely excited they have that trust in me. I am going to come in and work my tail off and show them they made the right choice."
(on hard work translating to a leadership role) "It definitely needs to be translated into leadership. At Wisconsin, I tried to lead by example as much as possible. Anybody can talk, but people want to follow a guy who actually walks-the-walk. I feel that is one of the biggest traits I have is a guy that not only talks about it but goes about it."
(on comparisons to Howie Long) "I'm a little too early in the game to be compared to him. I would love to be compared to Howie Long. He is a great football player. Obviously, a guy I have watched a lot of film on him. He played the game with a tenaciousness that was unbelievable. I love the way he plays."
(on if has interest in endorsing Pizza Hut) "I have heard that. Aren't they located in Houston? I'm all for it."
Wade Phillips(on Watt being selected 11th overall) "All those things combined. You take the total package. I think his production has to be the big factor. When you play the defensive line position and you are the second leading tackler on the team and you also are also the second leader in passes defensed, those are two areas that the defensive line shouldn't even be close to that besides leading in sacks, hurries, caused fumbles and blocked kicks. This guy is a productive player. Has been since he's been there, made a lot of big plays and the reason he's made those is because of his ability first and tenaciousness second."
J.J. Watt(on transferring from Central Michigan to Wisconsin) "I wanted to play in the NFL. I wasn't going to do it catching eight passes in the MAC. I knew I had to make a change. I looked at my parents and said, 'This isn't what I signed up for.' A lot of kids would be very happy being a started on a Division One football team, but I wanted more and I wanted to play in the NFL and that was my dream. I kind of took an all-or-nothing shot and it's paid off big time. I'm very happy to be here."
Wade Phillips(On if he can see Watt with his hand down Mario Williams standing up on the same side of the line) "Sure."
J.J. Watt"I like the sound of that."
Wade Phillips"We'll go into it more. I think it gives us versatility with Mario (Williams) that we didn't have before. I'll tell you that."