HEAD COACH BILL O'BRIEN**
How was your first day back?
"Good. It was a very spirited practice. We worked a lot of situations. I thought the guys really put a lot of effort in. I really enjoy coaching this team. There's a lot of good guys on this team and it was fun to be out here today."
Was it good to have C Nick Martin back at practice?
"Yeah, good to have Nick back. It wasn't anything serious but it was enough that he needed to miss a few days. It's good to see him back in there."
Art Briles always comes out here when he's in town. Did you get to talk to him today?
"I just saw him there at the end. Good guy. Comes out here every year. Talk to him about his football knowledge and things like that. Haven't really seen him that much today, but always good to have him here."
Did you have any hesitation about him coming out here?
Can you talk about CB Kevin Johnson?
"He missed the spring because of some offseason surgery, so when he came back here he was really eager and ready to go, but there's a certain amount of rust you have to knock off. I thought in the game – I just told him, as a matter of fact, today, I said I thought he tackled well in the game. I thought he played well in the game and helped us on special teams. So, I think he's getting back to where we need him to be."
Speaking of growth, how about RB Kenny Hilliard? You gave him a good run in the game.
"Yeah, no question. Kenny had a lot of opportunities in the game and I thought he ran well. I think he has to make sure that he takes care of the ball. He knows what he needs to do a little better on special teams. That's part of his role. Akeem Hunt had a nice touchdown catch, did some good things, had a good practice here today. Kenny had a good practice here today. That position is very competitive. That thing is going to be a tough decision for us when we figure out how many we want to keep."
Obviously they're clearly in the mix or you wouldn't have looked at them that long.
"They're all in the mix. No question about it at that position. I can honestly tell you that all those backs are in the mix."
Can you talk about your impressions of RB Lamar Miller so far?
"I really like his professionalism. He's a quiet guy that works really hard. He's a really good teammate. I really believe he enjoys playing here. He likes our system. Really good guy to coach."
Describe RB Lamar Miller's leadership style.
"He's not a guy that's going to lead by a bunch of 'ra-ra' stuff. He leads by example. He's a very hard worker and a tough guy. It's funny, people ask me what type of runner he is. He can run inside, he can run outside, he can move the pile, he's a tough, tough running back and he can do different things for us so it's good to have him."
Can you talk about LB Jadeveon Clowney's day?
"He was out there today and I thought he did a good job. That's a very competitive position. John Simon and Whitney Mercilus are really playing well. They're really playing at a high level. JD (Jadeveon Clowney) comes back and he adds to that mix and he was out there running around today pretty good it looked like."
How much does it hurt for LB Jadeveon Clowney to see everyone doing so well and he's not in there?
"I think any time you miss time, obviously it's not the greatest thing for that player. But I also think if you're doing what you're supposed to do as far as rehab and things like that, you can get back out here and if you're a good enough football player you can get right back into the mix. What I always get concerned about with guys that miss time is conditioning. You just can't substitute being out here practicing or just being in the game when it comes to conditioning. But he looked like he was in decent condition today."
Can you give an update on RB Alfred Blue?
"Yeah, he's dealing with a minor shoulder injury. It's not anything serious but it does warrant time off as far as contact. We're just making sure that he's healthy when we bring him back and we don't want to bring him back too soon. It's a very competitive position. We know what Alfred can do. We like Alfred but we want to make sure he's healthy when he comes back. "
Did LB Jadeveon Clowney not do as much as you might've liked for him to do at practice today?
"He actually did more. He was only supposed to do individual today and he actually did more than that. So it's good, it was good to see him do that."
C Nick Martin made it look like the time he missed had no effect on him today.
"The only thing I would say about that is that he misses more of the physical time when he's not out here. But I know for a fact when he was here while we were in San Francisco he was watching tape with Derek Newton in the film room. Him and Derek went in there and watched tape together, so I think he was able to keep up with the mental part of it. He's a very bright player. It's more, like I was saying over here, about the physical and the conditioning part of it, that you just don't want him missing too much time. But you want to make sure they're healthy when you bring them back."
Do you expect to see LB Jadeveon Clowney out there on Saturday vs. New Orleans?
WR WILL FULLER V
What did you think of Sunday's preseason game vs. San Francisco?
"The game was fun. It was good to get out there for the first time, a life-long dream.
It was real fun to get out there for the first time."
What was your, 'Wow, this is the NFL' moment?
"Probably my first catch, but definitely just being out there with the guys and running onto the field, an NFL field. It was cool."
Which player have you leaned on most during training camp?
"Not really one player, just all the veterans. Just getting comfortable with them, communicating with them. Just being comfortable with everybody on offense."
Is there an element to learning alongside WR Braxton Miller that benefits you both?
"Yeah, in our offense, everybody can play every position. It's good to know every position. I'm always communicating with Braxton. If he has more reps at a different position than I am, just asking him questions about a route that he may run more than I do."
Are those big hits you took over the middle on Sunday just part of the game?
"Yeah, it's just part of the game. I've been getting hit all my life. It's just another hit."
Do you think you showed something on those plays?
"Actually on this I'm wrong, so I've got to get up and fair catch that ball instead of taking that hit. Good coaching point for me and next time I'll go up there and catch it."
How comfortable are you starting to feel right now?
"A lot more comfortable than I did than when I first got here. But that's how it always is. Getting used to the playbook and just knowing my role and just doing everything the coaches ask of me."
RB LAMAR MILLER
Do you feel like you had to step up being one of the more experienced players in the backfield?
"Yes. I think it's some type of leadership. I'm not more of a vocal leader, I'm more of a person who tries to lead by example. Every chance I get, I just try to go out there and just play fast and do what the coaches have been telling me to do throughout the whole week. Just try to showcase my skill."
What has the opportunity to be a featured running back been like?
"The opportunity has been good so far. I'm just here every day just trying to put in the work and just trying to get better. It's the first preseason game. I'm still getting used to the scheme and how the guys block so I still have a lot of room for improvement. I'm just trying to get better every day."
Are all the injuries on the offensive line difficult for you?
"All of the guys have been doing a great job. The guys who they put in front of me have been doing their assignments, so once the guys come back off injury, I just have to get used to their blocking pretty quick and just get rolling."
How did your 14-yard run against the San Francisco 49ers in the first preseason game feel?
"It's always good just to get your feet wet. I'm here with a whole new offensive line and a whole new scheme, so just to go out there and just get my feet wet and just having a good run on my first play is always good."
How does it feel to be the leader of a talented group of running backs?
"Since day one, those guys welcomed me. I'm just here every day trying to lead by example. Just come out here, just do my assignment, play fast and just try to make plays when my number is called."
What's different between your opportunity to play for the Texans versus the Miami Dolphins?
"I'd just say getting more opportunities just to get the ball in my hands. Once the coach calls my number, I just try to take advantage and just try to make big plays."
What's better about a fast offense?
"That's one thing on the offensive side of the ball. We have to start fast. I think when you start fast, you always keep the defense on their toes. That's one thing that coach emphasizes every day is we have to start faster. Every day, once we get on the field, everybody's just got to be locked in and just do their assignment."
How much do increased reps help you get into a rhythm?
"I'm pretty sure every running back wants the ball in their hands, so I feel like the more opportunities that you get, you get comfortable and you start feeling it. Once you start feeling that as a running back it makes your job easier and obviously the offensive line, they make your job easier as well."
Does it also help with your vision?
"The more that you get the ball, the more you can start reading the defense and the offensive line, how they are doing their assignment. Once you get the ball more, you get comfortable with everything."
How intense is it practicing against another team in preseason?
"Once you practice with somebody else, you always have to come out and just play your game and be physical. You want to be the physical team at all times. When you have practice with other teams, everybody just has to go out there and just play fast, do their assignments and just try to be the tougher team."