Sept. 12, 2012
The University of Houston offensive line, or to the initiated ‘The Brick Squad”, has been a staple of the high-octane offenses the Cougars have rolled out over the year. The heavy hosses from Houston up front are always short on sacks allowed while quick to a joke with each other.
On the history of the Brick Squad:
TC: “We better let Jacolby answer this one.”
JA: “As a co-founder of the Brick Squad, dating back many years ago, I have to say we take a lot of pride in the Brick Squad here at UH. I hope after I leave here these guys keep it going.
“We look at ourselves as the foundation of the structure we protect, we’re like a brick wall out there in that each of us comes together like a brick and the sum is greater than the whole. The Brick Squad was something we started a few years back and have kept it going strong. And over the years, it’s true that I may not be as big of a brick as I was in the past as we’ve gotten pretty huge along the line, especially with the Nigerian Nightmare (RO) over there. It’s always helpful to have some extra bulk along the line so that’s fine with me.”
RO: “Even though we’re big guys, we still pride ourselves in being in great shape and being able to run around the field and play this pace. That’s credit to our many people helping us like the strength and conditioning program.”
Speaking of nicknames:
RO: “Jacolby – one of his nicknames is Big Gucci, given to him by Chris Thompson. He’s got a few including some we can’t share but we’ll roll with that one for now. Unbreakable Love is another”
JA: “Right now we’ve feeling out a couple of fellow offensive lineman and taking their nicknames on a test drive – Zach Johnson, we call him Big Bird. Then there’s Peaches (Jacob Abels) and Cream (Mac Long). They make a good duo.”
RO: “We call Coach Hays ‘Coach Papa’ – he seems to enjoy it.”
On the offensive success in the past:
RH: “Last year was last year, and while that we’re definitely proud of what we accomplished then, it doesn’t matter to us and the team now. We haven’t done anything yet this year so we still have a lot to prove.”
KF: “Our goal is just to go out there and give those fast guys chances to be successful. Step one is moving those chains and getting first downs, then sometimes we get to become spectators as they make plays. We all have a great understanding of the system and what we’re asked to do.”
TC: “There’s probably a number of offensive systems where the high-scoring output doesn’t exist if all five offensive lineman do their job. Not that there’s anything wrong with that since there are differing philosophies, but we know that if we execute like we should, we should see a lot of points on the board. That’s very encouraging for us because we know our coaches and teammates are always in a position to strike, and will do so at a moment’s notice. So we need to be very diligent in our execution.”
On Coach Levine:
KF: “Actually we go way back since he came to my house to recruit me in high school. Whenever I see him, he still tells me to tell my parents he liked their fajitas. He still remembers that and even today he said that to me…But It’s been really cool to have him be in my house recruiting me at one point and then become head coach. He’s a really great coach, but an even better person.”
TC: “It’s been great, he treats us like men and like it’s a business everyday. If you slack off, it’s not going to slip by.”
JA: “And not just on the field it’s business, but the rest of it too like academics, nutrition, meetings and everything else.”
TC: “But at the same time, he’s still a players’ coach – he keeps it fun out there and we can always go to him with ideas or problems.”
KF: “And he’ll ask me about my parents’ fajitas.”
Player on the offense that impresses the most:
All: “Charles Sims”
TC: “You make your block for just a second, and he’s gone. He makes us look really good sometimes. “
RO: “That Tulane game last year, it was something else. You just try a little bit harder to give him some daylight and he’ll reward the team with six-points real fast.
[Sims set a school record with 20.7 yards per carry in the 2011 Tulane game]
JA: “Bryce Redman is one of the hardest working guys on the team. He sets the tone for us as a backup even and always makes sure we’re always working as hard as we can.”
On who is the strongest of the group:
Unanimous: “Ty is the biggest beast in the weight room.”
TC: “Ralph has me beat in the leg areas – Ralph has phenomenal legs, you should do a photo shoot on his calves one day.”
On first impressions among each other:
RH: “I remember the first time I met Jacolby – he had a lion on his arm and his hair, or more accurately his mane, was flowing all-around. He looked like a scary dude and someone you wouldn’t want to mess with. I remember thinking I’m glad he’s not on the defensive side but I still had to go up against him at practice. Although now that he cut his hair and I know him so well, he’s just our little sweetheart.
RO: “I thought Ty and Rowdy were brothers the first few times.”
On forming a rock band:
JA: “Lead singer, unanimous choice.”
KF: “I pick a little bit so I’ll lock down guitar.”
RH: “I do dabble in the harmonica, honestly. And could I probably play a pretty-mean cowbell.
RO: “Definitely bass for me.”
TC: “Drums for me, since I used to play them.”
RH: “The name of the band would be ‘Unbreakable Love’, after Jacolby.”
KF: “That tour bus is going to rock. We better get Tara (UH sports nutritionist) to stock it up for us first.”
Feature story taken from the first issue of the Houston Football Game Program (Sept. 1, 2012 vs. Texas State).