Buffalo Sports News: Overall how has winter conditioning been going?
Lawrence Vickers: It's been going good. There's a lot of competition going on, people getting after it, people wanting to make a name for themselves. People trying to get spots.
BSN: Who's standing out?
LV: The upperclassmen, of course. But a lot of people from the underclasses like Cory Reid, Patrick Williams, Blake Mackey are standing out a lot. I could go on. Alvin Barnett is standing out, Reggie Foster, Brad Jones. A lot of people are starting to get used to being here now — a lot of the young guys.
BSN: Every year about this time a new personality to a team starts to emerge. Has that started happening?
LV: Yeah. Everybody leads in a different way, so we're taking a different approach. Our approach is different because of the mentality that we (the rising seniors) have. If we just do everything right, we know the kind of team we can have next year.
We're taking a no bull crap policy, no talking back, none of that. We're just really getting after it and getting after each other now. That's an approach we didn't take last year at this time. But we're not waiting for spring ball, we're taking it on now. And we're having fun. Everybody's getting bigger, faster, stronger.
We're in the books right now and we're trying to get the young guys into it too because we're going to depend on them next year. We still have a pretty young team.
BSN: When you say the books, you mean the playbook?
LV: Yeah, the playbook. And watching film, studying. As for me, and some of the young running backs, we're watching all the zone plays that we did good with and the ones we did bad with to see how we can change it. And we're watching the zone plays from when Chris Brown was here, to see how to run the zone the right way.
We're doing a lot of little things that's going to lead to big things.
BSN: So are the offensive linemen looking at the zone blocking from two or three years ago?
LV: Yeah. The offensive linemen are doing more drills than they've ever done. And they're in the books. They're trying to get their collaboration going on.
BSN: Looking at spring ball, talking to some of the coaches, they want to put the ball in your hands a little bit more than last year. Is that something they've told you?
LV: Yeah, they told me they want me to carry the ball a little bit more. I'm going to be the only senior in the group besides Brendan Schaub. They want me to do a lot more things. I have to mature a little more. I've got to take on that leader role because this is my last year.
But they want to get the ball in my hands more because they see what I can do with the ball. And they want me to rub off on some of the young guys and try to let them know that this is how you do it. This is the pride and tradition of a Colorado Buffalo, it's not entrusted to the timid and the weak. That's something that we live by every day.
We're trying to get them into that mode too.
BSN: As a team, how do you replace a guy like Bobby Purify?
LV: You can't replace him. He's just one of those people whose name will forever be in the books for some of the stuff he did. A guy like him, you can't replace. You can try to be like him or be better.
My thing was to learn everything he did, and to replay it, but do it better than what he did. Just take everything that he taught me, mix it up and add my own little spice to it.
BSN: Like you said, you're the senior. Give me a scouting report on Hugh Charles and Byron Ellis.
LV: Hugh and Byron, they played a lot for being freshmen. Hugh even scored a touchdown his freshman year (in the Houston Bowl). They're grasping the scheme a little better. They settled in so they're not as nervous as they were.
I could put Byron Ellis in the position of a Bobby Purify. He's probably where Bobby was when he was a freshman. He's a real smart guy, he learns real quick and he wants to get better. That's a good thing.
Hugh Charles is a speedster. He's fast like (Jeremy) Bloom. And he's learning the scheme too. So once they get it down pat, it's going to be incredible.
BSN: It seemed like Hugh learned to have some patience and use his blockers better later in the season last year.
LV: When he first started he was a little nervous. He had his Freshman-itis. That's what I call it. But as he practiced, he was really trying to learn what to do. And he's so fast, he had to learn how to be patient. That's the way he is, he's just quick twitch. So he had to learn how to slow down a little bit and read things a little bit more. But once he did he was hittin' it.
BSN: Beyond next season, I assume you want to play in the NFL. Do you see yourself as more an NFL fullback or NFL tailback?
LV: I see myself as a Mike Anderson, Ruben Droughns type of guy. I'm an all-purpose type of back who can still line up at fullback and go in there and block.
I was looking and a lot of the fullbacks in the league aren't as big as me. They got a couple 225 fullbacks, and the fullback from the Kansas City Cheifs, he's 217. At the same time, I was watching the NFL Combine and I was seeing the things the No. 1 fullback was doing, their bench test on the 225, and I'm right there now. So if I keep building on what I'm doing, I think I can be a whole lot better.
My goal is to go the first day (in the NFL Draft). But my ultimate goal is to win the Big 12 Championship. That's first before anything. I've been twice and didn't win. I'm not going a third time and not winning.
BSN: What are your goals for spring practices?
LV: My spring goal is to be more sound with technique. And become a more dominant blocker. And to do whatever it is I have to do to be in the position to be better than we were last year. Whatever that is — running more, catching more, blocking more. Just to be the guy that if Coach needs it done, I can do it. Kind of the role where Bobby was. When we needed something, we called on Bobby. That's the position I'm looking to be put in, and I want to be put in.
And I want to lead without ‘me' in it. To lead with a ‘we' attitude. Because once you're leading with a ‘me' or ‘I' attitude, you're not really leading, you're thinking about yourself. So I want to lead with a team first attitude with everything.