Glad To Be A Hurricane

Tavares Gooden is a freshman linebacker from Fort Lauderdale who turned 19 years old today. Gooden attended Aquinas High School and is one of just two true freshmen playing on the defensive side of the ball, Bryan Pata is the other. He has a good work ethic and possesses good speed as an outside linebacker.

Most of his playing time this season has been on special teams. Currently Gooden is fifth on the team in special teams points. These points are awarded based upon performance evaluated by the coaching staff.

"This season is going well," said Gooden. I am happy that I'm playing a lot as a freshman. Bryan Pata pretty much feels how I feel, that we are part of supposed to-be defending national championship team. I take pride in playing out here. Every since I was a kid, I always wanted to play here. It's a dream come true."

The dream for Tavares came to life at Louisiana Tech when he played his first game as a Miami Hurricane.

"It was kind of weird because our first game was away," said Gooden. "I was kind of nervous before kickoff. It was my first time on the field as a Hurricane. And then I get the first tackle of the game. I'm thinking ‘man its that easy.' But it is not that easy. I think I need to get more into the defensive books. This year is flying by so fast. Just like that first tackle I had on the opening kickoff, it was over just like that."

His first home game against Florida was the real deal. His friends and family were in the stands and he was ready to show everyone what he could do. Many former Hurricane players still remember the first time they got to run out of the smoke onto their own field. Gooden will surely remember his first time out of the smoke.

"I kind of got lost," chuckled Gooden. "I almost ran into a cheerleader. I found out that if you hold on to someone's jersey then you'll find your way through."

What would have happened if he would have hit the cheerleader?

"I probably would have spun her around and kept going," laughed Gooden.

With four senior linebackers on the roster it is imperative that Gooden continues to grow as a player so he will be ready to assume a larger role next year. Many of the upperclassmen have taken Gooden under their wings.

"I hang out with D.J.," said Gooden. "I love Vilma. He's like my big brother. Darrell McClover jokes around with me all the time. Everybody thinks me and Roger McIntosh are twins. All of us linebackers hang out."

There are many differences between playing high school football and playing big-time college football.

"The biggest difference is the speed of the game," said Gooden. "In high school, I was running down quarterbacks and running backs. Here you have to be in the right spot. It's not so much getting the guy as it getting to the spot."

Gooden is excited with the opportunity to play against Florida State and is confident the team will get the job done.

"I think our offense will come together, our defense will come together and our special teams will come together. If they do that, I think we will be victorious."

Well said Tavares.

Christopher Stock is a Staff Columnist for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@grassy.com.

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