True freshman tailback and kick returner Kwane Doster had quite a day Saturday vs. Ole Miss. The 5-11, 175-pounder from Tampa set an SEC record with 243 kickoff return yards on eight returns. In addition, Doster gained 101 yards on the ground, his first time over the 100-yard mark, and scored his first touchdown as a Commodore.
Doster's 344 yards in total offense Saturday eclipsed Frank Mordica's Vanderbilt record of 321 yards, set in 1978 against Air Force. Doster did not receive the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week award, despite the fact that his total yardage mark and his return yardage mark were both national highs so far in this 2002 season.
"It was great to see Kwane have that kind of production, and it was great for our team," said head coach Bobby Johnson. "Not only did he have the kickoff return yardage, he also had 101 yards rushing. That's a pretty good days work."
VandyMania spoke with Doster about his record-setting performance.
Q: Tell me about the 95-yard kickoff return.
A: As soon as I caught the ball, we had "return middle" on, so I went straight up the middle. Once I got tripped up by the kicker, I saw daylight. I started running down the sideline. Out of the corner of my eye I saw I had one man to beat. He slowed me up, and another one just came up and got me. I should have scored on that, but next time, we're going to get it done.
Q: Does this kind of a performance give you a lot of confidence?
A: This game today inspires me a lot. Some plays later in the game I felt like I could have done much better. You get fatigued as the game goes on, and I wasn't able to do as much as I might have had the opening come earlier. I gave all I had, and people don't expect a game like this from a freshman. It
makes me feel good.
Q: I know you hated to see Ronald Hatcher get hurt, but it has opened the door for a little more playing time for you.
A: I really felt sorry for him when he hurt his leg. That was right at the beginning of the Furman game. As a freshman, I was just coming in to step up as a player. That's what I had to do.
Q: Suddenly this week you're getting your name in the paper, and you're getting mentioned for some weekly honors. What's that been like for you?
A: Well, I don't really look at the paper, except maybe write-ups on the game. It doesn't amuse me all that much. But I look forward to next week and doing the same.
Q: You had 101 yards on the ground too. Do you feel like you are starting to find your rhythm as a running back?
A: I guess I could say I am finding my rhythm. In the first game I only had three carries. The week that Ron got hurt, I just had to step up. The more carries I get, the more comfortable I become with college football.
Q: You pretty well won the kick returner job from the very first game this year.
A: Well, coming out of high school I returned kicks. They wanted me to do the job, so I'm gonna do the job. I'm a team player. That's what they wanted me to do, so I had to step up.
Q: You're still very new to the college experience and everything. What's that like for you?
A: It ain't too hard. It feels like I'm fitting in with the team very well.
Q: You also played a little baseball in high school, didn't you?
A: Yeah, a little bit. I played center field. That was kind of my second choice. Before I decided to come up here, I thought I might try out. But I've decided I'm just going to focus on football right now and lay off baseball.