Sione "Boo" Palelei: His Coach's Take

Sione Palelei, who goes by the nickname "Boo," is one of two running backs in Oklahoma State's signing class. Palelei was originally committed to LSU but changed his commitment to Oklahoma State in December after visiting OSU. With National Signing Day set for Wednesday, we visited with East Ascension (La.) High School head coach Paul Bourgeois about Palelei and his future with the Cowboys.

What are Boo's strengths as a football player?
Bourgeois: When people ask me about Boo, I always tell them he's the total package at running back. To me, that's the ultimate compliment to somebody as an athlete, and that's Boo. He's a 4.4 40 guy, he's very physical, he doesn't mind blocking and doesn't mind knocking people on their back, he's got great hands, he's very competitive when the ball is in the air and he'll jump up over somebody to go get it, he reads defenses well. He's been in an offense very similar to Oklahoma State's. When he gets in the hole he has great acceleration. He doesn't have very many weak points as a running back.

What do you think will be the biggest transition for him moving from the high school game to the Big 12 Conference?
Bourgeois: The competition gets a whole lot better. We did a good job for him in a sense that he was our running back for three years and he was in the same offense. He got used to the cuts and stuff like that (that he'll see in the OSU offense), but I think the transition even with the offenses being very similar will not be the same. I don't think it'll be too tough of a transition, other than he has 4.4 speed in high school but at that level everybody is fast.

Do you think he has a chance to make an instant impact or will there be an adjustment period for him?
Bourgeois: I don't know how much everybody knows about him but mid-season he suffered a knee injury and had surgery. He's leaps and bounds way ahead of schedule (in his recovery), and he's that type that will work himself to death. If I knew he'd finished this season healthy, I think he would be an impact player without a doubt. The only reason I may have a little question is he may need a little time to get used to getting hit on his leg.

Why do you think he chose Oklahoma State?
Bourgeios: I think he just had a good feel for when he went up there (to visit). Having friends and family that are on the team, and I think the coaches made him feel very comfortable. I think he just felt very comfortable there, and when he came back he was very confident his decision to go there.

What do you think he is capable of accomplishing over the course of his college career at OSU?
Bourgeios: After coaching him I have a lot of confidence in him. Very few times do you get to coach a special one like him. He absolutely loves the game, he likes practicing, and because of that I would say the sky is the limit. He has all the physical tools and the mental tools, and with how much he loves the game, I think he'll give you everything he's got.

What will you remember the most about coaching him?
Bourgeios: I just loved having him around. To be such a great player but when he was with the other kids, whether in the dressing room or other places, he just fit in with those guys. He didn't separate himself or act like he was better than anybody else. He was just one of the boys who just so happened to have a lot of athletic ability. That makes him special.


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