Each week throughout the 2007 season, we will conduct interviews with players and stream them live on Texans TV. This week, we featured running back Darius Walker, who led all rushers with 66 yards and recorded 44 receiving yards against Indianapolis.
The best part about this series of live interviews is that fans can submit their own questions for the player by [clicking here](mailto:email@example.com?subject=Question for Darius Walker). Please include your name and where you're from.
Click on the window to the right to view the archived version of the Darius Walker interview. Below is a transcript of the interview.
1) David McGee: Darius, you of course went to Notre Dame last year and played under coach Charlie Weis. How different is coach Gary Kubiak's approach to coaching compared to the approach taken by Weis?
Darius Walker: I think coach Kubiak is a little more laid back than coach Weis is. Coach Weis is a very aggressive coach, to say the least. He's one of those type of coaches that is going to let you know what you need to do and going to be more vocal, whereas coach Kubiak is more laid back and more subtle in his approach. Both are two great approaches that will get the most out of players either way.
Brooke Bentley (Texans TV): Weis has taken a lot of criticism this season with the way Notre Dame has underperformed. Do you think he deserves that criticism?
Darius Walker: Come on, that's my school. I can only back Notre Dame. I can't do anything else but back Notre Dame. I stand behind the guys and program and everything. Things happen, you know. It's football, sometimes you have seasons where things weren't as good as they should have been. You just move on. I know coach Weis and the staff out there next season will probably be going for the championship. So you just never know.
Brooke Bentley (Texans TV): Did you make it back for any of the game?
Darius Walker: I did. I got a chance to go back and see the Air Force game. I was there and got a chance to meet and talk to some of the guys. Of course, I sat down with coach Weis and everybody, so it was good.
2) Jeremy (Kingwood, TX): What made you sign with the Texans?
Darius Walker: When the draft was over with, I was in a good position actually, because it kind of became like picking a college all over again. I was kind of in high demand as a free agent, which was interesting because I had about six to eight teams that wanted me to sign a free agency contract. So from there, I took those teams and just looked at the roster. I really wanted to find an opportunity where I could come in and have a shot, a legitimate shot at making the team and being able to play. Houston was the best option for me and it has definitely paid off.
3) Doug Lacy (Clear Lake, TX): How good does it feel now that you are a contributor for this team versus being on the practice squad?
Darius Walker: It feels great. I know coming out of college and school where I came from, just being out there every play, every play - then you come here and not only do you get a setback as being a rookie, but being on the practice squad you don't even dress for the game. So that was a big adjustment for me. It just really feels great. Not only do I feel blessed now to get out there, but to contribute.
Brooke Bentley (Texans TV): Coach Kubiak said that every player in the NFl comes in being "the man" in college. How humbling was it for you to be on the practice squad?
Darius Walker: You have to be humble. I think there is really no other way around it. Once you realize what it is, that this is a business and there are a lot of great players out there that you get humble. Then you just learn to work hard again like you did your freshman year.
4) Doug Lacy (Clear Lake, TX): What areas do you feel you have improved on in your running game since joining the Houston Texans?
Darius Walker: I think reading, as far as where to go. The NFL is a little different from college, as far as the speed of the game. I think a lot of time that is almost under played, as far as the speed of the game. It really is different and it takes an adjustment to come out there. But I think for me, what I have learned the most or adapted to the most is the speed of the game.
Brooke Bentley (Texans TV): You have started the last two games and led the team in rushing against the Colts. What are you looking to do against the Jaguars, which has a very tough defense upfront?
Darius Walker: The Jaguars are a good team. I think me individually, I just want to go out and give a great performance. You know, you are always remembered by your last game. You can play well during the season and at the beginning of the year, but at the end that's what people will remember most about you.
5) Todd (College Station, TX): Coach Gary Kubiak has commented on how he's spoken with you about how to be a pro and the work ethic it takes to be a pro. Can you speak about your discussions with him this year?
Darius Walker: Coach Kubiak basically just sat me down and wanted to talk to me about work ethic. Basically, what I think he was trying to get at was that I shouldn't let the draft or the practice squad or whatever the adversity was make me lack as far as working goes. Whether it's out there in practice or working in the weight room or staying after practice and watching film, all of those things make players great.
6) Jason Duplechin (Houston, TX): It's great that you are taking advantage of your opportunity backing up the Dayne Trayne. Do you see yourself sometimes emulating his running style as you create your own?
Darius Walker: I think Ronnie "the Dayen Trayne" and I are two different backs. You know, Ron's bigger than I am. He's sort of a bigger bruiser type, while I can bring the cut and slash in the backfield. Both are two great styles and two different styles at the same time. I mean, Ron and Ahman (Green) have both been very instrumental in my productivity as a running back and my growth.
Brooke Bentley (Texans TV): What have they said to you?
Darius Walker: A lot of things. They are like coaches out there. I swear, I think those two are like coaches. They really break the game down better, coming from another player rather than coming from a coach. You really take it as criticism coming from a coach, but coming from them it really feel like my brother. They're just telling me, "Hey, this is what you need to do. Check this read. Check that read. Make sure you know what this front is, especially on protection and blitzes." So they've been very instrumental in my success.
7) Brooke Bentley (Texans TV): You, of course went to Notre Dame. I went to USC. We've had a score to settle for a while. That's why I have to have you talk about how USC is going to mop up Illinois in the Rose Bowl.
Darius Walker: Usc, Usc. I'll give them some kudos. They've had a pretty ok season. If that's what you want to call it, but they should be able to do well against Illinois.
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