Linebacker Azeez Ojulari
August 2, 2021
Q: When is the last time you put on shoulder pads and played in shoulder pads?
A: Yeah, the last time I put on pads was January 1st, Peach Bowl game in Atlanta. That was the last time.
Q: You looking forward to tomorrow?
A: Oh, yessir. Definitely.
Q: What are you thinking it’s going to be like?
A: Just come out here, do my best every day, try to get better. Just come out here, do the best, do what the coaches want me to do and give it the best of my abilities.
Q: Did you miss hitting people?
A: Oh yeah, definitely. That’s part of the game. You gotta love it. You play defense, you gotta hit people. It’s part of the game and can’t wait to do it.
Q: When you look back on yourself, the player who walked off the field at the Peach Bowl versus the player out here now. How different are you?
A: I’m just trying to grow every single day, you know? Come out here every day, learn from the older guys, you know? Just continue to get better every single day, just one percent better every day.
Q: Is there tangible evidence that you know you’ve gotten better?
A: I’d say just staying in shape, keeping that up and getting in better shape. Coming out here, definitely just improving on that and I just feel like I’m getting better with that, so that’s one thing.
Q: Did you happen to catch a glimpse of who was on the sideline today at practice? Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Mathias Kiwanuka.
A: No, I didn’t see them.
Q: You should try and hunt them down in the building.
A: Definitely, for sure.
Q: Last year when pads first went on, (Linebacker) Lorenzo (Carter) caught (Tackle) Andrew (Thomas) a couple times, Georgia on Georgia crime. What are you expecting? If you get lined up against Andrew right off the bat, what’s that going to be like?
A: Man, we’ve been going at it since college, so it’s just coming out here trying to compete every single day. We try to make each other better every single day, no matter what it is. No plays off, just keep improving, trying to work hard against each other and get better, so it’s going to be good.
Q: Have you seen him improve?
A: Oh, definitely. Coming out here, we work hard. All of us is trying to get better every single day. Each one of us, for sure.
Q: Since the last time you’d gone up against him in practices?
A: In practices? Oh, definitely. For sure. Big leap now, definitely. For sure. He’s a dog.
Q: Do you think you can make that leap?
A: I’m just trying to do what I’ve got to do, get better every day like I’m saying, just come out here and listen to the coaches, the vets in front of me. Just try to learn from them every single day and improve my game.
Q: It doesn’t seem like there are a lot of rookies out on the field. How valuable is it for you to be out there and getting the reps that you’re getting at a high level?
A: It’s just football, you know? Coming out here and doing what I gotta do just to get better every day. Playing my position, learning my position, learning my role, coming out here and just giving it my best. That’s what I like to do.
Q: How eager are you for the pads to come on now? Isn’t that when you can really start to show whether you’re going to get to the quarterback?
A: Yeah, definitely. Football is football. We come out here, pads come on, we get to hit and everything. We play with pads for sure, so we’re going to continue to get better, go all out and try to make plays.
Q: What are your expectations for yourself in your rookie year? High draft pick, a guy who was a game-changer in college. Do you have expectations of being that right away here?
A: I’m just trying to come in, do what the coaches want me to do, get better, play my role, you know? If the opportunity comes or whatever, I’ll play to the best of my ability. Plays come, just try to make as many plays as I can. You know, just go all out for the team.
Q: What do you think your role is?
A: We don’t know yet. We’re just coming out here every day and try to do what the coaches tell me to do, get better, learn and listen to the vets and just try to improve like that from there.
Q: You may have talked about this with us at the Draft, but (Head Coach Joe) Judge was saying today that the defense is similar for you to what you ran in college. Not the same, but it’s something familiar. Is that a positive for you coming into camp, maybe having a better understanding than another rookie would of what (Defensive Coordinator Patrick) Graham is trying to do and what your role is?
A: Yeah, I’d say, I mean just trying to learn it. It’s new to me, too. Just coming in, learning it the way they teach it here, so trying to learn from the coaches, the older guys and try to make myself better every day. Getting in extra meetings, learning with the older guys, the coaches, just making sure I’m knowing everything and improving.
Q: Judge said you came in in really good shape. What did you do? Did you do anything different for your training this offseason? What did you do to get ready?
A: I just came in the offseason every day, no days off. Just kept running, working out every day. I was with Andrew Thomas and (TE) Evan Engram in Pinnacle, so that was great work for me just keeping my body in shape and just going at it every day.
Q: When you’re out here in practice, when younger guys are around younger guys, sometimes the assimilation is a little easier, but you’re out here with vets and really guys who are anchors on the team. Do you even realize that when you’re in the huddle, that these are the guys that are the veterans? Does that help you raise your game?
A: I’d say all these players out here are my brothers. We try to learn from each other, get better, we compete every single day no matter who it is. I can learn from someone because I’m a young guy coming in here and no matter who it is, I can also everyday grab something from anyone and add it to my game and improve my game and go from there.