An Interview With Gonzie Gray

Gonzie Gray has come on his senior year and will be counted upon to contribute both as a tailback/wide receiver and as a leader. Here are his thoughts about the new team attitude, the offensive philosophy and about taking it to the next level and getting over the humps in the SEC ...

Gonzie Gray

On being run down from behind by Jonathan Joseph Saturday - everyone thought that was funny.

":::::: laughs ::::::: Yeah well Jonathan is pretty quick. I also gained about fifteen pounds since the end of last season and I may have lost a half a step. He had an angle on me too ... but yeah, ::::::: laughs again :::::: he did run me down. I like to see he didn't give up on the play. That was good to see from a young player. He had to fight through some blocks to get to me Saturday and I really like seeing that."

On his new role as a big part of this year's offense.

"Yeah I mean, I just like the opportunity to play. I've been wanting to help this team and do my part for so long now, since I got here. I mean when I first got here we had Derek Watson and Pinnoch and Brewer and all those guys and I stayed behind them and I watched and I learned. Now my time has come to help the team, this is my chance to play a big roll and help this team do well. I am a senior this year so it becomes part of my responsibility. You know, a team is always judged and a group of players are always judged by how that team does their senior year."

On his forty time.

"The fastest I have ran so far is a 4.35 I believe ... but it was a lot slower recently. A 4.5 as a matter of fact because I sacrificed a little speed to put on a lot of weight."

How much weight.

"I weigh like 198 ... where last year at this time I was 181-182 somewhere around there. But I'll keep working with the new weight and I am getting more comfortable with it. I am still plenty fast enough."

On the new offense.

"Yeah I mean it is a good system. It works to our advantages and our strengths. We have a lot of good backs out there and Coach wants to get the ball in our hands more. It also helps to take some of the pressure off of the receivers if we get the running game going so it is going to be our job to get the running game going which will help our passing game. Troy and Matt and Noah are all big time receivers ... our running game will help get them the ball more too."

How is he doing in school.

"My major is Public Relations ... my overall GPA is a 2.5 right now and I will graduate in May on time. College has been a huge learning experience for me. My Mom encouraged me to get away from home. I had offers from Maryland, Virginia and Virginia Tech which were all a lot closer to home ... but I decided to come here and I have never regretted it for a second. It let me mature and grow ... it gave me a chance to grow up."

On the looser atmosphere around the team this year.

"I mean it's just the little things ... like the hair and stuff. I mean we are just more relaxed this year. I mean it's little things that really should matter like the hair and stuff, but it just allows you to have some individuallity without taking away from the team. It doesn't make one individual stand out so to speak ... but it does give us a chance to be ourselves while still being part of the team is the best way I know to put it. Let me put it this way. It was a little thing to allow to make such a huge difference. There are a lot more smiles and a lot more guys having fun out there this year. It was a little thing to make such a major difference."

About the collapse late in both of the last two seasons and how the seniors are approaching that this year.

"We know we've got a tough schedule this year. We know we start out tough on the road against Vanderbilt so we cannot have an early let down because it only gets tougher as the year goes on ... we have to play well at the beginning and the end. The seniors that were here when we were 8-4 and 9-3 we remember they did it after coming off those 0-11 and 1-10 seasons ... but things are definitely better than those first two years when we were here so we don't have as far to go to get back to winning seasons and that is our goal. We want to get back there and keep it there this time around. Listen, it's not unusual to have a couple of down seasons after showing some success when you are part of a building program. We know that and we believe among ourselves that we can take it back there and maybe beyond that this season. All the pieces are in place."

About the NFL players returning last weekend and visiting with the team.

"I mean it was real good ... they showed us what you can do if you work hard and really get after it. I mean those guys like Andre Goodman and John Abraham - they were on those 0-11 and 1-10 teams and they never gave up. It doesn't really matter so much where you have been as much as it does where you can go. And we have the potential on this team, if we continue to work hard, to go places. We'll keep working on the little extra things to get us over the hump in the SEC."

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