The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Julien Obioha


Julien Obioha (left) said the energy level was the difference maker in the Auburn game.

Photo by Brian Johnson

Kevin Roark, sports reporter, spoke with Julien Obioha, a junior defensive end from New Orleans, to discuss the Aggies’ performance and how he balances academics with football.
THE BATTALION: How do you think a big upset like this will affect the team?
OBIOHA: It’s easier to take a loss and turn it around into positive energy. It’s a little harder when you come out upset. It’s about getting back to work and you have to realize the Auburn game’s over. It was great, we get to look at all the great things we did during Auburn and repeat those things and learn from our mistakes. We didn’t play a perfect game during Auburn. We could have held them to less points and scored more points. It’s learning from our mistakes and moving forward to Missouri, because Auburn’s over. It’s kind of hard to get that emotional win and move on from it, but Auburn’s over.
THE BATTALION: What do you expect to see from Missouri this weekend?
OBIOHA: Missouri’s a great team. They’re a lot like Auburn with their speed but they use it a little bit differently. [Maty Mauk] has really good speed, really good shiftiness. I think [he’s] a really good player and we have got to get ready for him.
THE BATTALION: What did you do to have such a great performance last weekend?
OBIOHA: I don’t think I really changed anything. Coach put me in the right spot, I had a great week of practice. Sometimes I feel I play the exact same and get two tackles, sometimes I’ll get eight tackles. It’s really just the type of game it is.
THE BATTALION: What happened at the bottom of that pile that you were able to come up with the football?
OBIOHA: They said a lot of stuff happens at the bottom of the pile. We don’t exactly have to know what happened at the bottom of the pile, we’re just happy we got the ball. Kind of like Vegas.
THE BATTALION: How does it help to have veterans in emotional games like against Auburn?
OBIOHA: It’s good because we have a lot of veterans that have won big games and that played on the team two years ago when we were winning pretty much every game, and they know how to deal with success. The veterans really keep the young guys together because the young guys might get caught up more in what the media is saying, you know, ‘We’re so great, we don’t have to practice,’ or whatever. ‘We can just roll out of bed and beat anybody.’ Some of the young guys start to think that so the veterans help keep them together like, ‘Look, we have to have the same approach that we had for Auburn.’
THE BATTALION: How do you think Kyle Allen did as a leader on and off the field?
OBIOHA: Before the game, we kind of do our little thing. Kyle wasn’t going to say anything to the team. I was like, ‘You’re starting, you need to say something to the team.’ So I kind of threw him into the middle of it and he got us jacked for the game, so that was really good for him to take ownership of the team because when you’re starting quarterback, you become the leader of the team immediately.
THE BATTALION: Why did you decide to study petroleum engineering?
OBIOHA: The major really appealed to me because I came to A&M. When I was younger I wanted to become an attorney because my father’s an attorney, and when I came here I could not stop hearing about the petroleum engineering program. I’ve always been good at math and science so I started looking around at the engineering programs and I thought petroleum was the best. I applied and got in.
THE BATTALION: How do you balance academics and football?
OBIOHA: A lot of petroleum engineers take 15 or 16 hours a semester. I really haven’t had to do that yet. I try to take 12 and load up in the summer. It’s a little easier for me just finding time to get stuff done. When other guys are just taking naps, I’m usually reading and stuff for my classes. It’s not terrible. I don’t get straight As or anything anymore, but it’s just finding time whenever you can do it. Between practices and if I have an hour break, I’ll probably be reading.
THE BATTALION: Do you have to take all online classes?
OBIOHA: No, I’m not that famous yet.
THE BATTALION: Are you recognized often in your classes?
Obioha: There’s a good bit of students in there that know who I am, but they don’t really come and talk to me. I can kind of tell when someone recognizes me. I kind of just like to keep my head down and do my own thing. Being a football player doesn’t really help in that field. I’m not going to walk in the class and be like, ‘Look, I’m a football player, I played well this weekend, I need a standing ovation.’ I don’t really need all that, it’s just good to get a win. That’s the best part about it. Next exam I’ll wear my jersey to class and see if it gets me bonus points.
THE BATTALION: Like a lot of players now, you also started as a freshman. What helped you win that starting position?
Obioha: It was just about coming ready to work every single day. I’m not the most talented guy but coach [Sumlin] knows I’m a hard worker, that’s why it was easy to let me play at such a young age. I was a smart football player. It was really just about coming to work every single day.
THE BATTALION: What was different this game than in previous games?
Obioha: The difference was definitely energy. You could feel the energy on the sideline. Energy during practice was building. I think it was really good even for the ULM game. What coach Sumlin did with getting back to the basics. He was like, ‘Football has been changing throughout the years but it gets back to the basics of guys have got to be able to block, and then guys have got to be able to tackle.’ It was just building up the energy and getting back to the basics [that was] probably the thing that got us back on track. We went to a hostile environment, an away game where there’s maybe 100 Aggies there. So we had to create our own energy and we were playing fast, swarming to the ball, creating turnovers. When you have a lot of energy, great things start to happen.
THE BATTALION: What does the team need to do to be successful against Missouri?
Obioha: It’s really important to realize that Auburn’s over. Our guys kind of want to pat themselves on the back after a great win like that against the No. 3 team in the country. We just have to realize that Auburn is not going to help us beat Missouri. We can tell our kids about it, but it’s not going to help us beat the next opponent, so we have got to get ready for Mizzou.
THE BATTALION: When did “Sandstorm” becoming a rallying cry for the team?
Obioha: That’s been our rallying cry for a while but nobody knows about it. We have the Aggie Bowl every Thursday where the guys that don’t play as much scrimmage a little bit. So during that whole scrimmage, ‘Sandstorm’ is being played and it gets the guys really hyped up. When we were at Auburn, they started playing ‘Standstorm’ and they messed up because that’s our favorite song, so everyone on the sideline started jumping up and down. We actually played better because they played ‘Sandstorm.’ They definitely need to incorporate ‘Sandstorm’ [at Kyle Field]. They need to play it at least once a quarter.

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