Talk about when you found out you were eligible for a sixth season and how you felt.
I didn't know until the end of January or first week of February so that was kind of shaky. But I trusted what the doctors and trainers had to say and they were certain that it was cut and dry. But I feel bad for guys who applied for a medical redshirt and didn't get it. I'm blessed for that to happen.
Did you know all along you wanted to come back and play out the last year of eligibility?
Absolutely. I wouldn't want to pass up the opportunity and then later regret it. That's why as soon as I got hurt I started rehabbing and trying to get ready.
Do your teammates make fun of you for being the old man on the team?
It's every day. (Ryan) Turnley is the worst about it. He'll say things like "What was it like to play alongside Mike Ditka?" or "Since you've been here so long, what was it like to block for Dan Marino in the Sugar Bowl?" It's every day, but I think the guys respect me for battling back through two knee injuries and they know I work hard.
You roomed with former Pitt quarterback and current radio broadcaster Pat Bostick. What's it like to still be on the field while he is calling the games from the booth?
Pat is an outstanding person and great friend. We roomed together freshman year and just think, that was six years ago. But what a person Pat is and it's great to see him doing what he's doing.
What are your post-college plans?
Obviously the goal is to train and see what happens at the next level (NFL). But I graduated with a degree in criminal justice so I'd like to get into some type of law enforcement. I know Pitt has a great connection with the Secret Service. I know former players who actually work in the law enforcement field now.
Did you stick around for six years so you could finally get on a gameday program cover?
I know, right? I might have to say something to E.J. Borghetti, because last year I wasn't on it. I know it's usually seniors and this year they finally put me on there during my second senior year.
Where does the nickname "Lumpy" come from?
When I was in ninth grade and about 180 pounds, my offensive coordinator at the time tells me in history class that I need a nickname. So he starts calling me Lumpy. I think it's from "Leave it to Beaver." But everyone started calling me that. It stuck and I don't mind it.
What's it like to work with Coach Jim Hueber, who comes to Pitt with NFL coaching experience?
It's great. Just to see the different coaches I've had who are well respected around the country, in college and the NFL. They come in here and teach you great things which is absolutely amazing. You can't get that most places. Coach Hueber is a great coach and a great guy and I love the way he pushes us.
Would you say you're the one who lightens the mood in the locker room?
Yeah, you could probably say I'm the jokester of the group. I have a little fun, but when it's time to bare down and knuckle up I work hard and am ready to go. But I do like to have fun, especially when the new guys come in. I like messing with them a little because when they come in they don't know what to expect.
Are the offensive linemen on this team a tight-knit group?
We're really close. I have great relationships here at Pitt, especially with all the linemen, from older to younger. I was in the younger guys' shoes once and I know what it's like. It's great to get to know those guys. We have a lot of experience up front.