"I'm as excited as I have ever been about any football season," Larsen said. "This is as exciting as it gets. All my dreams come down to this season. this is something I have been dreaming about all my life. It comes down to this and how I perform today and the things I need to improve on. It all comes down to this." While many, including some of the coaches, feel the talent level is as high as it has ever been, Larsen does not feel that talent has been the problem. He feels it has just been getting the talent to play to its capabilities.
"We have had talent," Larsen explained. "Talent has never been an issue here. The issue has been able to play consistently and make the big plays when we needed them and avoid beating ourselves. If we can do that, we will be okay."
As a senior Larsen will be seen as a leader and it is a role that he is embracing. The usually jovial Larsen admitted that there has been a bit of a leadership void. "We have great leadership with Antoine and J.P. (Jason Parker) and Lionel Dotson," Larsen said "The senior leadership is something we have missed. We have that. It is going to be a fun, fun year."
While some players may be hesitant for all the hard work that fall camp entails, Larsen is looking forward to getting back on the field after a summer working out.
"We have had a summer where we had nothing to do but work out . It is fun to get the pads on. It is hard work, but we have all been through it and we all know what to expect. I'm sure the freshman and sophomores are still kind of worried about it, but when you get to the four or five years two-a-days is just another day."
Although he is not worried about the practices themselves, there is one aspect of fall camp he is not looking forward to, the living arrangements.
"They stick you in the dorms for a little while," Larsen said. "We are over at the stadium. I think they have been there since 1912. That is probably the worse part about it."
While some fans are taking a wait and see approach to the new offense, the senior linebacker is not showing the same patience.
"I hope they (the fans) don't have much patience, I know I am not going to have much patience," Larsen said. "I want to go out there and perform and throw the ball around, score points and have fun doing it. I can't wait for our offense(to do well), just for the offense's sake. They have had a lot of tough years. They are always under the heat. I hope they just go out and execute the game plan. We have the athletes , we have the players at positions to score points for us."
As high as his standards are for the offense, he is holding his own defensive unit even more accountable.
"I personally feel all the pieces are in place to have a great defense," Larsen said. "It will depend on us. Last year we were good because we worked very hard at it. We wanted to stop the run and we didn't give up points. We gave up yards, but the biggest thing and the most important thing is we didn't give up a lot of points. You can win with that. I hope that is the same thing that happens this year. Our numbers were fine, but we are concerned about is how many times they get into the end zone. I think this season we have the ability where if they have to go 80 yards it is going to be very difficult. We have too many athletes. We still have to stop the run and not allow the big plays."
In the end Larsen is very confident about the team and the season.
" We are going to be a solid team. We have a lot of guys back. It comes down to our ability to reach our potential. It is about playing the best we can play. We have the talent. If we play the way we should we are going to be hard to beat."