Q&A with Tavares Gooden

Linebacker Tavares Gooden suffered a season-ending shoulder injury against FSU in last year's game.

Can you talk about the emotions you will feel running out of the tunnel Monday night?

"I am happy that I am back and happy that I can help the team out. That is basically what it is about. I haven't run through the smoke in a long time, but I just want to do it with my teammates."

Can you talk about the play last year against FSU when you got hurt and your season ended?

"I was going for the ball and they got me. I messed up on a punt, it was a rookie mistake, I should have known. I was running at the time and I tried to get on the ball and I took a cheap shot in the back and my shoulder stuck in the ground. But I learned from that play and it was for the best because I got a redshirt and I was able to learn from the sidelines and become a better football player."

How are you a better football player this year?

"Basically I learned by watching other people's mistakes. I learned watching other people in practice and other people do things. Like when to penetrate the offensive line and when not to. I don't really know how I am going to be better, but I know my teammates are going to do well. I give all the glory to my teammates. The whole defense for us this year will be tough. I don't consider this game to be all on me. I know my teammates are going to make big plays and whenever I am needed, my number is going to be called."

Can you talk about how you think Miami's speed at linebacker compares to FSU's speed at running back? "I don't really know about all their speed. All I know is Jon Beason runs a 4.5, Romeo runs a 4.5, and I run a 4.4. I really don't know what their speed is. I know our defensive ends are running 4.6's. Our whole defense is fast and can get sideline to the ball. That is how it's going to be. We are all just going to be flying around. Our safeties run 4.3's, so I am not really worried about their speed. The main thing is linebackers making tackles, defensive linemen making sacks and our secondary making big plays and taking it to the house."

Are you planning to give a pre-game speech this year?

"I'll say whatever comes to heart. I will say a couple of things. I might be the guy speaking to the team before the game. I don't really know what I would say then, it will just come from the heart. There will be a fire that is inside me at that time, because I am back, you know, everything is going to be fun out there. Basically it is going to be something from the heart; blood, sweat, and tears. We want to see blood."

FSU linebacker Buster Davis has reportedly been talking trash about UM's offense. Do you have anything to say back to them?

"We are not even worried about that. We are going to go out there and execute our plays. One of my coaches once said that when people talk like that, I think they fear you. We are going to go out there and play. If that is what they are thinking about and that is how they feel then they have to go out and prove it. We are going to go out there and do our thing, cause we ain't scared."

David Lake can be reached at lake@canestime.com

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