Aug. 9, 2011
What are your feelings heading into the first day of practice?
I’m ready to get back out there. We’ve been doing seven-on-seven’s and doing things like that, the workouts in the summer. Just getting back with the whole team running plays, running routes and just getting back together feels good to get out there and practice. I can’t wait.
What’s the buzz like around the players being a top five ranked team and the favorite to win the ACC Championship?
I think we all like that we’re ranked number five, but we really don’t pay attention to who’s number one and two and all of the rankings. We just know that we have a great team this year and we can be great. I think everyone is on the same page and if we work together and play well we can win it all.
Talk about the depth of the running back unit in 2011.
Like you said we’ve got a couple, but all of them doing that rotation is going to push each one to work harder and harder so whoever finishes out well is going to start. Good competition makes everyone else better. I don’t know how coach (Eddie) Gran is going to rotate (the running backs), but I know there’s going to be a lot of competition. People are going to be making moves back there.
What have you done to improve yourself from last year?
This summer I worked out, coach Gran wanted me at 220-225 pounds so I worked out really hard in the weight room. Right now I’m weighing 230 so getting my weight up was a big thing for me because that’s what they wanted me at. Also doing little extra things, feet work, watching film and certain little things like that getting me ready and prepared for this year.
Talk about the running back depth and how that helps with injuries and having guys who can do different things.
We’ve got so many back there and (guys who can do) so many different things. We’ve got people with power and speed or with power and speed together. So if you throw a back in there, it’s something different about each one which is a good thing and throw the defense off and get everyone something different to see.
Was getting bigger a priority for a lot of the guys this summer?
I think coaches wanted us to get a little bigger, I know coach Gran wanted me to get to 225 or 230 so that was my main focus to jump up, but I think a lot of people got a little big(ger) and the freshman who came in are really big too. So I think size this year was a big deal.
How important is the offseason program in building companionship?
Our summer plan isn’t a joke and our fourth quarter thing isn’t a joke either. So when we go out there and we sweat and we bleed together and you see the person next to you working as hard as you it makes you want to fight for that person. Doing everything in the summer doing everything together fighting with each other. When it comes to the fall you’ve already been through all this together so it’s just let’s stay together and finish this thing off.
Is the most anticipated start to a football season that you’ve been around?
Yeah this is the highest I’ve ever come in ranked and just all of the hype, winning the ACC, possibly winning the National Championship so going into my third year, this is the biggest hype I’ve had since I’ve been here.
Can you talk about EJ and how you think he will be as the starter?
I think EJ’s going to be really good. He’s been behind (Christian) Ponder backing him up, but now he’s the leader. He’s been at seven-on-seven’s doing everything we need him to possibly do and I think he’s going to be great help for this year, running it, throwing it or whatever Jimbo (Fisher) needs him to do he can do it.
Do you think that he’s the kind of guy who can rally the troops?
Yeah he’s the leader type. Like I said in the spring game, he’ll go in the huddle and if he wants something done he’ll ask for it. Off the field he’s pretty funny, but when it’s time for business and to get serious he can get serious and lead the team to where we need to go.
Are there any freshmen you’re excited to see out on the practice field?
I want to see Kelvin Benjamin. He’s a big guy and I want to see him use that weight and see if he can go up and get the ball. Also James Wilder from the running backs. I just want to see those; I guess those two are my main guys I really want to see.
With your couple of weeks off did you get to do anything fun and exciting?
We always go out to Silver Lake and we usually go out there when it’s raining and it’s nothing but a whole bunch of dirt roads so there are a lot of players on the team with trucks so I usually take my truck out there and just go around and get a little muddy in the truck. So that’s something I usually do on my off time or play X Box Live.
You came in as a highly regarded running back and then moved to fullback. Has that been a challenge for you?
Freshman year I came in to play running back so my freshman year I took a couple of reps there and then they said I was moving to fullback and I almost cried when they did it at practice. But I talked to Jimbo, we stayed on the phone for like and hour. He explained everything to me and looking at it now I think it was a great decision. I still sometimes get the ball at running back and I’m happy with the job I’ve got now. I can run out of the backfield, score or block and do what I have to do to help my team. Anything that lets me know that we’re winning I’m happy to do it.
This year Chad Abram is making that same move from safety
I didn’t know that they moved him until seven-on-seven’s and he came out there and he was like, “Lonnie I need some help, I’m at fullback now.” I was like okay, I’ve got you, but I think he’s going to do a good job. He’s a big guy muscle wise, I’m pretty sure. He might have a hard time learning the offense because he was on defense so coming to offense is a whole different setup, but he’ll be okay. We’ll help him get through it and he should be okay.
A question from Twitter, someone wants to know why you end your tweets with World?
It’s from ‘Lil Wayne, I don’t know if you know the rapper ‘Lil Wayne. In one of his songs he started off “Hello world.” So on Facebook when I first did it I put hello world and a lot of people were like what are you doing, you’re not that cool and some people liked it so I just kind of stuck with it and I put world at the end of everything.