There aren't many seniors on the defensive side of the football. In fact, linebacker Buster Davis is only one of two senior starters on defense. The outspoken linebacker spoke to the media on Monday about the start of preseason practices, his improvement in the weight room, his role as a leader, and his future plans to become a head coach at Florida State.
Q: It is now the eve of the upcoming season, what does it feel like
returning to the practice fields for the official beginning of practices?
Buster Davis: It feels real good. We have been waiting for this for 90 days
and it has been a long summer and we are ready to roll.
Q: Is their an anticipation that builds up leading up to this point?
Buster Davis: The anticipation is so high so by the time you get out here
and run that gasser, it goes way down after the first practice. This is
going to be a really good year for us and I am just ready to see what the
young guys can come in here and offer us, who can be an impact player this
year for us. It is going be real interesting as it goes but it is going to
be a real good season for us.
Q: Do the guys begin to get stir crazy towards the end of summer workouts?
Buster Davis: Oh yeah, who likes to run. Who likes to come out here and run
because you don't run like that in a game but it is conditioning, so you
have to get your body conditioned to the utmost because when you are in that
fourth quarter against Miami you can be in just as good of shape as you were
when you started the game. You want to hit somebody, you get tired of
running sprints all day and that is why you incorporate that 7-on-7 and
11-on-11 type of stuff throughout the summer but it is time to put on the
Q: This summer you took a lot of extra time and worked with the young guys,
how important is that role for you as a leader this season to help bring
along the younger guys on the defense?
Buster Davis: The thing about it is that you got to have your guys having
some kind of knowledge about what is going to go on the first day, first
couple days of practices, because you don't want them coming out here stare
crazy looking like they don't know what is going on because Coach Steele is
going to teach them at a fast pace. If I can give them just that little bit
of upside before coming into camp, before Coach Steele gets onto them, it is
going to make it that much easier. We can get through more things quicker so
just to teach those guys the basics, now the ins-and-outs of what is going
on but just the basics that he is going to need to know for the first week
Q: Do you like that role?
Buster Davis: Yeah, I love it. One day, I am going to be a coach here. I am
going to be the head coach here. So I have to get used to coaching already
because we never really had those guys teach us what to do so if you can do
that with someone else and give someone else that upper-hand coming into
practice and you can see it. I can tell what I have done because when Coach
Steele coaches he is able to move along faster and I like doing that. I like
coaching. I like coaching the younger players.
Q: Talk about the loss of talent on that side of the ball and how that
influences that it is your time to be a leader and the fact that you will be
one of the best guys on that defense?
Buster Davis: No, I am the best guy. We lost talent but we have talent
behind talent. It is kind of like we lost two good football players, really
five, on that defensive side of the ball but we have guys who can play just
as well as they did and who are just as young as they were when they started
playing. We just reloaded. Myself being on the defensive side of the ball
this year it is a little bit more publication but beside that I am going to
do the same thing I have done here since I have been here and make all my
teammates play at the level that I play at.
Q: You are back in the Coaches Top 10, what do you use that ranking as
leading up to the season, is it motivation? Where do you place that in your
mind when you look at it?
Buster Davis: My thing is that it is a preseason ranking. At one point last
year we were in the top six or top seven, maybe top five, so it is kind of
like it doesn't matter what is going on preseason. All that matters is that
the end of that season that you are in the top one or two and playing in
Tempe on the eighth. That is all that matters. It is a good start for us, it
is a good jump. It would be better for us if we could jump up to the number
one or number two spot more easily. Being in the top ten is always good.
Q: Is it nice to know that the coaches around the country have that kind of
respect for the team and this program to put you at that point?
Buster Davis: Well they know talent. They are not crazy, the coaches know
talent and coaches have us in the top ten for a reason. They didn't have us
at 22nd. We started at what, 21st or 22nd last year, something crazy like
that. If we are ever the 22nd team ranked in the country there is something
wrong with us, we need to do something else.
Q: Talk about your results in the strength index?
Buster Davis: I ain't trying to hear that about Paul Griffin tying. I told
him if we need to we are going to have a lift off, let's go, let's go at it.
Q: Have you improved in the strength index a great deal this year?
Buster Davis: Yeah, this is my best year ever. The thing about it is that it
is more personal. I am not just preparing for this season or for January
when we play a bowl game, I am preparing for January, February, Pro Day.
(Pay Days.) Exactly, so this season and this summer is going to prepare me
for the rest of my life and for the rest of my career. If I would have come
in and done what I was supposed to have done and had a sub-par year, played
a little bit and did some things every now and then but I am going to have a
great year because I prepared myself and got my body in shape the way it is
supposed to be.
Q: What has been the difference as far as number of hours your have put in
at the weight room?
Buster Davis: Man, I will tell you what, me and 'Frank', I refer to Jeremy
Franklin as 'Frank', me and Frank are up about every morning at 6:30 or 7:00
o'clock and then I will see him all day. I will tell 'Frank' you need to go
home man but we go from working out in the morning to watching film to where
I will go to class and he will go to class and I will come back and finish
my workout and then we will get together and watch film and then we will
come out here (to the practice fields) and run and then we will go watch
film again. It is just preparing yourself to the utmost, preparing yourself
like a pro. Like I said, this is the end of one career and I have a pro
career ahead of me so I just took this year as that energy process.
Q: You mentioned earlier that you want to see what these young guys are
bringing to the team, who has stood out to you as summer workouts progressed
and now that the preseason is upon the team?
Buster Davis: The young guys that stood out to me personally - I like Marcus
Ball's work ethic. I like Marcus Ball. I like Dekoda Watson. I am not trying
to be bias to the linebackers. Let me tell you who I really like though, I
like Anthony Leon. I like him and I think he has done a tremendous job as
far as trying to pick up the system and trying to do what he can. He doesn't
know everything but he has done a really good job. On the offensive side of
the ball I will tell you who I like. I like Damon McDaniel, I like him a
lot. Don't tell him I said that but I like him a whole lot. We will see how
things go. We will see who can come in because coming out here and doing
this in 7-on-7 with us is totally different than doing with Coach Andrews'
on your tail telling you don't mean nothing and all that kind of stuff. We
have a bunch of guys, I will tell you what, we have more young guys this
year here that can come in here and play than I have ever seen.
Q: Saw you encouraging a number of guys, does it bug you when guys are not
Buster Davis: No, because my thing is that you are only as strong as your
weakest player. I am disappointed in that per se but my thing is that you
have to show everybody that you can be accountable. Everything about a team
sport is accountability. That is the thing about it. If Neefy had just
jogged the rest of it that would have been okay for me because he would have
said to me that no matter what, don't give up, that is the big thing for me.
That is the big thing. You know you are going to have some guys that
struggle but your job as a leader is to carry those guys on your back and
say let's go. Hopefully he gets himself right and gets ready for the season
so we can move on.
Q: Do you enjoy the role of being a leader?
Buster Davis: That is what I am. I was born and bred to be a leader all my
life. I love it and that is one of the things I do best.
Transcribed by Chris Nee
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