June 5, 2006

Booker talks about the first day of workouts

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On Monday, Warchant.com, WCTV, The Osceola and the Orlando Sentinel spoke to senior running back Lorenzo Booker about the first day of summer workouts, team chemistry, the excellent attendance, the return of Xavier Lee and more.

Opening comments on the first day of summer workouts:

"I think the leadership's better, so you don't have to worry about guys getting into trouble or doing their own thing. Everybody's together. I think you were able to see there was a lot of laughter going on, but at the same time, it was work. That was one of the things we weren't able to have on the field, laughter and work. But I think we can do both of them."

On team chemistry:

"It all starts here. Two-a-days is not a time to be playing around. It's just polishing. It's not like the spring when you're trying to look for talent and look for a guy to step up. That has to be down now and during the spring. So you want to make sure guys know what they're doing and understand the importance of their job, no matter how big or small it is. So when two-a-days come, it's just second nature."

On the good attendance:

"I can't think of anyone off the top of my head who's not here. That's very good, because I know Drew was back home and I didn't even know that he was going to be back. He proved that it was important to him. He and Gregg Carr, Chris Davis, Buster...a lot of guys I haven't seen all summer are here for the first day."

Goals for the summer and this season:

"I want to be in Arizona, that's where the National Championship is. And not only that, that's the closest I'm going to get to my home state. That's about a forty-five minute flight, so I could probably get a lot of people out there to see me play, who wouldn't normally get a chance. But you have to start small, you can't win the National without winning the ACC. And we have to focus on that rather than going undefeated and beating everybody on our schedule."

Being only one of seven seniors is there any additional need for you to provide leadership?

"That's one of the biggest things about this year's ball club, is that it's not just the seniors. It comes from the younger guys. 'Old School' (Rod) Owens just broke the huddle. We've never had that before, young guys breaking the huddle. That's good because you don't want to have just guys that are seniors leading."

Who out here looks good to you so far?

"Joe Surratt was like two sixty-five or two seventy during spring, and he's like two forty-eight right now. To me that's huge. I told Joe, 'I won't get one thousand and Antone won't get a thousand without him.' So he's got to step up. And he's done a good job so far."

Does this group have its own identity?

"Vince Young said it, once the coaches let them do it their way, they started winning. And I think the coaches have done a good job of giving us more responsibility to make sure things go right. You don't want to feel like you're just out here doing what they want you to do. You want to feel like you have a say in what goes on. And I feel like they've done a good job with that and everybody likes it. We feel like we have an input and we feel like our opinion matters. The more slack they give us, I think the better things will turn out."

Did that coming together start late last season with the ACC Championship game?

"When guys felt like it was our team. Because it is, the coaches aren't out there playing with us. They can teach us whatever they want during the week, but if we don't go out and do it, or if we don't believe in what's being taught, it's irrelevant."

Will you go home at all this summer?

"I'll go home during breaks, but I'll be here when it matters. Whenever there is workouts, I'll be here. I'll have to go home soon because my grandmother passed away

This was may be the best first day turnout you've had in the summer.

"Usually, you have to call guys or guys are doing this or that. But obviously, everybody understands how important it is. Not only that, the younger guys know from what it takes. We don't try to blow smoke up. They believe what we say and that's one of the things that never happened before - the older guys didn't really let the younger guys know how it is."

Xavier Lee didn't get to practice with you this spring. Was it good to have him back out here working with you guys?

"Obviously, when a guy is hurt, his morale isn't the same. He's not going to be as outgoing as he was before. But you can tell he's doing a lot better than he was before. So it's good to have him back out here. But not only that, it's hard to throw with just one quarterback. Xavier's got to be ready if something happens, so it's definitely benefiting the team."

Transcribed by Ira Schoffel

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