VandyMania Interview: Chris Booker

VandyMania talked recently with Chris Booker, who entered fall camp as the leading candidate to replace the departed Chuck Losey at defensive end. The 6-4, 240-pound sophomore from Brandon, Miss. saw action in Vanderbilt's first six games last year before suffering a season-ending knee injury in the MTSU game.

VandyMania: The top question on the minds of most fans has to be, how's your knee injury?

Chris Booker: The leg's doing great. I'm about 100 percent now. I spent all summer working out, trying to get my strength back. I kept my squat up, and I've been heavily working on my legs to get it back in shape.

VM: So, no lingering effects at all?

Chris: None whatsoever.

VM: Seemed like you also had a leg break your senior year of high school, correct?

Chris: That's right. I fractured my fibula my senior year, and played through it. It kind of hindered me throughout my senior year. Then last year I tore my ACL. It will be nice to be fully recovered.

VM: You missed a lot of the spring with your rehab. Did you end up playing in the spring game?

Chris: Actually I did end up playing in the spring game. I was still a little hurt. I was just a few months after coming out of surgery. I decided I wanted to play, and they said it would be all right. I was just working on my technique. I didn't have as much strength as I needed, but continued to play.

VM: Suddenly the competition at defensive end has gotten a little more interesting. The team lost Antoine Morgan [ruled academically ineligible], but that may open a door for you or someone else to claim the position.

Chris: It's an open fight right now. We've got a bunch of good defensive ends. It did really hurt losing Antoine. We could have used him this season. But it's wide open right now. Everybody's getting reps and competing for the position.

VM: Do you think it will be like last year where the defensive coaches were constantly rotating in defensive linemen?

Chris: With defensive linemen on just about any SEC team, they're going to be rotating in defensive linemen. You'll have your A group and your B group. So I think everybody is going to get pretty much equal time.

VM: Is pass rushing your specialty as a lineman? Or do you have a specialty?

Chris: I really don't think I have a specialty. I just line up, play as hard as I can play, and do what I can do.

VM: What kinds of things occupy your time outside of football?

Chris: One thing that definitely takes a lot of time is, I'm majoring in electrical engineering. It's kind of difficult to do football during the season and major in electrical engineering. That's about the only thing that's special about me.

VM: But so far, so good gradewise?

Chris: Yeah, so far, so good! Everything's going great.

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