On the expectations being high from San Diego residents: "That's what we want. We want them to have expectations, but it is not like pro football. It is not like we have the same guys we had last year or the year before. Teams, their personalities, and in this case their maturity change dramatically from year to year in college football. We like the idea that people expect us to be good. We like the idea that we think we can be good and we like the idea that we can win enough games to have a chance at the conference championship and get into another bowl game. But, the idea that if we don't win certain games that it's a failure, it's people that don't understand college football."
On more attention around the team this year since the Chargers moved to Los Angeles: "I see more people here at the press conference than normal and more cameras at the press conference than normal. I do not necessarily think our team feels any more than they normally do. I do not see more people at our practice. I did not see more people at our scrimmage. I know we have sold a few more season tickets than we have in the past. I would say it's very similar to the way it was last year."
On how anxious the new players are to embrace the roles of past players: "The best thing about being young is that you do not know all the pitfalls that an old guy like me knows. They all think they are going to be as good as they were as seniors in high school. It's been a long time ago since I played as a redshirt freshman because in my day, freshmen could not play. I played as a redshirt freshman and I can remember the first game I played in. Everything was so much faster that I'd ever experienced before and so much faster than practice. But if I bring those four freshmen in here, you ask them and they're excited. They know they are going to be good. It's good to be young. You don't know what's going to happen to you out there. You actually think you're going to be as good as you were as a senior in high school. Well, guess what? They are not, but I like their attitude. I like that they think they are."
On the improvement of the special teams: "Well, we do have a punter that only punts. Even though he tells me he can kick field goals and up until yesterday's practice I was not very pleased because he was very inconsistent. Now, he kicked the heck out of the ball yesterday and it was every punt that he probably had 12 to 15 punts. Every single punt was really good yesterday so maybe he is a game day guy. That is what I am counting."
On senior Trey Lomax's performance after injuries: "I think Trey is one of those guys that has come into our program and has helped our program get to the point it is now. I think there are a lot of guys, if you go way back, that came in and played too early since we're on that theme. Trey was one of them. He had to play before he was ready to, mentally and physically. But by the end of the year he was a decent player and he's been good every time he has been healthy."
On Lomax's position: "I think that his ability is that he is a good football player that diagnoses plays really well. He struggles in man coverage. In the past, when we were going to play a lot of man coverage, we'd put an extra corner in there at the safety spot. Now, Trey is also our backup Aztec or free safety and that guy is the guy that has to play a lot of different positions. He is a free safety, a linebacker, and a strong safety. He does all of those things and I can see Trey alternating over there at times too. I think he will play more this year than he did last year, but we are still going to be substituting in certain situations when we know we are going to be in a man coverage situation."
On the team getting worn down in the fourth quarter games in past years "First of all, I disagree with the first statement. We have been beat before and we have been beat because of being young and making mistakes. If you look at our record in the fourth quarter when it's been close, we've been a really good football team so I don't think that we have ever been worn down. We've been worn out because they played better, but we haven't been worn down. I think our depth is pretty good but it is young. I could really cry the blues here today and tell you about how many redshirt freshmen are going to play a lot. We have four true freshmen that are going to play a lot. We have eight redshirt freshmen that are going to play a lot too. Hopefully, they're used to the speed of the college game after being here for two years, but they are also critical in our depth."
On being nervous about how many freshmen are playing this year: "I am not really nervous. But it is definitely a challenge how young we are, especially in the DB group with Tariq Thompson and Trenton Thompson not being experienced, but they are talented so I have confidence in them."
On the excitement level of the team for Saturday's game: "It is exciting to be able to hit someone else. The offseason gets repetitive after a while when you are in there running and lifting. It is the same thing pretty much for the whole offseason, then you get into camp and you start to get back into it and you finally have the opportunity to hit someone else. It is going to be exciting."
On what they have heard about expectations of the team this year: "We have heard the good and the bad. There is always the preseason accolade stuff where it is unanimous of us winning outside of our division or outside of the conference. Ultimately that is all preseason stuff so you try not to pay too much attention to that stuff, but we are excited. We know we have a lot of talent and we are not as experienced as we have been. We know the talent is there so it is just a matter of everyone doing their one eleven when you are out there on the field and playing your part, then the rest will take of itself. "
On stacking the line on defense in practice: "Once Coach Long or Coach (Danny) G (Gonzalez) calls the defense, it is whatever they come out and see. If they are coming out with 21 personnel or 22 with two running backs and two tight ends, you know we are going to be stacked around the box. I am sure it helps both of us (Chapman and himself). It helps us as a defense going against our offense because we know if we ever do come across the team that is going to try to the pound the ball in, we are going to have experience with it going against our offense every day. Then, for them to go against our defense as exotic as it is with Coach Long and all the schemes and blitzes that we give them the opportunity to practice against. It is good for them because when they go into the game, the defense they are playing hopefully will not be as complicated and hard to decipher."
On being nervous about how many freshmen are playing this year: "I am just excited. I know we are young, but I am excited to see what we are all about and what we bring to the table. I think the first game always shows you something about yourself so I am excited to see what we can do."
On where the offensive line might make the biggest improvement from spring: "I think midway through camp after we got a few scrimmages underneath our belts, you started to see the guys growing and getting used to the kind of group that was in. We did rotations with certain ones and twos. Once they got a concrete group in there with right guys and they got a fill for each other, they slowly started to get better. I want to see them in live action and see how they do."
On the excitement level of the team for Saturday's game: "We did not come here to lift weights and run. We came here to play ball, so it is good to finally get out there and play some ball this weekend. We have been waiting all year for it and we are just ready to get going again."
On what they have personally hear about expectations of the team this year: "I think the expectation here is set. We win ball games so even though the team is young we're expected to win. We go out there and take a win one play at a time and the team knows what we have to do to get it done."