As Missouri's most experienced LB on the field this spring, Gooden indicated that he is prepared to play any of the three LB positions for Missouri. Gooden has looked impressive this spring, with his speed and quickness on the field.
"Linebacker, first of all, you've got to be the commander-in-chief of the defense," explained Gooden, addressing the challenge inherent in playing LB at Missouri. "Everything revolves around you. You have to get the defensive line set. You have to know what you're doing. And then, you've got to communicate the calls to the secondary, as well. Then you've got to read your keys, and know what's going on, line up. So, it's a lot to go on. You have to know what everybody's doing; D-line, the other linebacker positions, as well as the secondary. You're not just learning one position. You're basically learning eleven positions. And, you have to get it out quick. You don't have time to think about what's going on. You have to get set real quick, and line everybody up, and get ready to play. So, it takes time (to learn all of it)."
Gooden reported the results of recent testing. He reports a 4.34 forty-yard dash, a vertical jump of 40.5", and 23 reps at 225 pounds in the bench press.
Gooden is a quiet leader, who prefers to lead by example. He's playing a major role in helping out some of the younger LBs, including Donovan Bonner, and Darvin Ruise.
"First of all, I want to lead by example," explained Gooden. "Because, you can lead vocally, but if they see you not doing the right thing, everything that you say is not going to matter. So, I want to lead by example, and then, encourage my teammates, get them enthused, and motivate them, so that we can go out and do our job."
I'm pretty sure that Coach Steckel can rest a little easier knowing that he has Zaviar Gooden for another season or two.