Jarrett Payton Q&A

Jarrett Payton is a senior running back and made his first career start against Florida State. Payton rushed for a career-high 97 yards and scored a touchdown in the 22-14 victory over the Seminoles. Currently, Payton is tied for the team-lead in touchdowns with four. He answered a few questions about the game and his thoughts on the team.

Has the game set in yet?

A little bit. I am still excited. It was a big day for me. Its just one of those things you dream about and it came true.

How tough was the game?

It was tough, but what helped me the most was the offensive line sat me down the night before the game and told me they had faith in me. Those are the guys I go to war with. They had confidence in me and I knew everything was going to be fine.

What kind of job did the offensive line do this weekend?

We get along so well and that's the cool thing. They told me they were going to block all day. They told me to keep pushing. We knew Florida State was going to make plays because they are good too. We had to keep working hard and the line knew they had to keep blocking. Once it got down to the end of the game we knew we were going to be tougher. We pride ourselves on being tougher.

Going up against a talented defensive line, what did the relatively inexperienced offensive line do throughout the week to have a tremendous game?

I think it was the preparation at the beginning of the week. They knew it was going to be a tough game. Everyone was saying ‘their defensive line is unbelievable.' The offensive line geared up and took it upon themselves to prove to everybody out there that they could play. I think everyone had something to prove that game.

How were you able to find some of the holes?

I closed my eyes and just started running (laughing). I don't know. Everything was there. We were all on point this week. Everything was going right and sometimes you are looking around waiting for something to go wrong. We always looked at the jumbotron and think ‘I wish I could have blocked better on that play.' But it was always little things. When we came out on the sidelines we were always talking about how the game was going and what we needed to do. Everything was just starting to click. I was just happy that the offense moved the ball down the ball.

Did you have problems with having mud in the visor?

Yeah I did. Sometimes during the game it would rain and then it would stop and just drizzle. After I was on the ground mud was starting to get in my eye. Sometimes I was just squinting with one eye and half the shield was clean.

How different is it to be in the game on every snap?

It's a lot better. You feel like you get into a groove a little bit more. You can feel the pace of the game a lot easier. This week was a little different because we had to get used to the opponent and the playing surface. Being in there for a lot of plays really helped me out.

Do you have a new respect for Andreu Swasey getting you guys in good shape and building your stamina?

I talked to him last week and he told me that I got myself in shape to play in games like this. After the West Virginia game I didn't know if I could go 80 plays. But he got us ready. The thing is, you don't even know if you are ready. I didn't even know I carried the ball 26 times. I didn't know where it goes.

Were you sore after the game on Sunday?

I'm not even sore really right now. A little bit here and there. Other than that, I'm fine. It's better than last week.

Going up against Temple, there might not be as much motivation as going up against Florida State, how do you think the team will respond?

I think we have to take every week as a new challenge. We cant come out and say ‘oh its just Temple.' Anybody can win on any given day. I think we got to come out and play hard. This week is about coming out and not letting down. I think we have to put the pressure on ourselves. Whoever we play is going to give us their best game so we have to be ready for everyone.

What did your mom say after the game?

She was proud of me. She was a little upset that she couldn't make it to the game. She was with my sister and made plans with her a long time ago. So I couldn't be mad at her. She wished she could have been there, but she was there in spirit.

Did you feel you had something to prove to people in this game?

A lot of people were wondering if I could do it. They were doubting me. The thing was to prove to them that I could play. I feel I got the monkey off of my back. I feel a lot calmer now. The last couple of days I have been more relaxed. It wasn't necessarily proving to other people, I just wanted to prove to my teammates that I could do play in those big games. I wanted them to have faith in me and I could see that on the field.

How was the team chemistry throughout the game?

That was the biggest surprise. We talked last week about coming together as a team and not just as a defense or offense. When we came off the field guys were encouraging each other. The defense was on the offense side of the field saying ‘come on guys, you are doing good.' That is a big motivator. When you see those guys working hard it makes you working harder and harder. Guys stopped being so selfish and starting thinking about the team. We started to think ‘we have to do this for each other.' That is when everything started to click. That's why I feel our best football is still ahead of us.

What are your thoughts on the play of Sean Taylor?

I swear there was like six of him on the field. He was everywhere. I saw him backed up and then I saw him make a tackle in the backfield. I thought to myself ‘ok, how did he get from point A to point B?' I just think he is unbelievable. There are no words to explain him. He is one of those hard-workers. He does his thing and he so much fun to watch. I saw the game afterwards and was just like ‘wow.' He is real quiet off the field and keeps to himself. I have a lot of respect for him as a person.

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

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