Bill O’Brien made headlines this spring when he said his expectations for Louis Nix were for him to be able to make it through practice. The second year nose tackle was not at all bothered by his coach’s remarks when he met with the media on the first day of Texans OTAs.

Nix laughed off questions on the subject saying, “Bill is Bill. He challenges everybody. Sometimes you guys make it more than what it is. Bill is Bill. He wants guys to be better. I take no offense to it. I understand Bill. Bill talks to me. I know he just wants me to be the best player that I can be. He sees potential, and I see it in myself. I’m starting to get back in a groove of things. I’m just going to keep trying to do the best I can.”

While his response sounds more like one of a seasoned vet or a drinking buddy, Nix may have gotten O’Brien’s message. The 2014 third round pick out of Notre Dame candidly spoke about the issues he faced his rookie season. “I learned a lot. Sometimes adversity hits and sometimes you just got to deal with it. You got to keep moving forward. I struggled with things coming in, but now I feel a little bit more adjusted to everything. I just want to improve,” he said.

Admittedly, Nix was ill prepared to deal with that adversity, and as a result he let injury and expectations effect him mentally. He credits the encouragement of family and friends for helping him move past those road blocks and regain his focus on football.

With his revived focus, Nix looks to new Texan Vince Wilfork and defensive leader J.J. Watt to teach him how to be the player he wants to become. “Those two guys are the guys. One has a Super Bowl, one is Defensive Player of the Year. You want to emulate that. It helps you want to work hard and be just like them. That really helps, them being in the room,” said Nix.

A noticeably more vocal Nix is indeed mimicking his mentors’ intensity. “You come in as a rookie, you just want to shut up, sit back and do your job. Now, I just want to do whatever I can to make the team. If I got to yell to call up the huddle, that’s what I’ll do. I’m just trying to do the little things. That’s all.”

Louis Nix is learning. It may be awhile before we know if he learned to talk like or to be an NFL player, but we do know that coach and player are on the same page about one thing.

“My goal this year is to make it through a practice, man. That’s my goal.”

Follow Leslie on Twitter @LK_Comm.

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