Friday, July 31, 2009

Q&A with Duke RB Requan Boyette

Requan Boyette, who led Duke in rushing in 2007, returns as a fifth-year senior running back after missing 2008 with a torn knee ligament:

Q: You're a week away from practice starting. How does it feel to be getting ready to play football again?

A: It feels great. I'm getting really excited to be back with my teammates on the field, be back in camp. Being out last year I was able to learn a lot and see a lot of things off the field that will help me on the field. That helped me with my leadership, also.

Q: Body-wise, have you changed from before the injury?

A: I'm bigger. My upper body has gotten a lot bigger. And the strength and conditioning staff and training room staff have done a terrific job of trying to get my lower body back where it was. But I've definitely gotten a lot stronger in my upper body. I've gained five pounds, and I have lost any speed but I've gained a lot of power.

Q: What do you weigh right now?

A: 205.

Q: What did you weigh before the injury?

A: 200.

Q: So you've got five extra pounds to stick it in there between the tackles when you lower your shoulder, right?

A: Yeah. I figure it will help a lot on the goal line. On third-and-1, fourth-and-1, that will really help us.

Q: Can you talk about how important it was being able to go through spring practice and be confident coming into the fall?

A: That was really an important part for my confidence, what I was able to do during the scrimmages. In one of the scrimmages I had a really big run that boosted my confidence and really showed me that I'm back on the road to being where I once was. Just being able to take hits and seeing if I could pick up blitzes, and being able to take the lead as far as my teammates go.

Q: How important is it for you guys to establish more of a running game this fall?

A: It's very important. We have a great quarterback (Thaddeus Lewis), one of the best in the nation. And I think if we're able to establish a running game like we should, we'll be able to take a lot of the load off him, and with me coming in and we have a lot of guys that are pretty good out of the backfield, that will help him also and relieve some of the pressure off him.

Q: You've been around football now for a while. How is your pass protection and route running? Are you ready to do that at a higher level than you were a couple years ago?

A: I'm definitely a lot better as far as pass protection. That was probably the weakest part of my game. I really saw that improve in the spring a lot, and I guess a lot of that comes from being off and being able to study a lot of things, studying what players can do and what to practice. I think that really helped me, and running routes has really helped. We go out every now and then and run a couple of routes, and I'm getting better.

Ken Tysiac