Christian Ponder And Dekoda Watson Q&A
Ponder and Watson talk to Seminoles.com about summer football and the upcoming season.
May 13, 2009
Christian Ponder Q&A
Q: Can you just talk about what you are doing right now to get ready for the upcoming season?
Ponder: The number one goal is to get into the top condition that we can. It's very important going into two-a-days to get used to that heat. It's really going to help us out and carry us through the season. So that's the number one goal and we are working on 7-on-7s and polishing the playbook and watching a lot of film and just brushing up on the small things.
Q: Can you talk about the mentality going into the season after having some ups and downs last year?
Ponder: It just really brings the focus on the smaller things. Those are the things that are going to make us or break us. It's really what's going to be important about this summer. Focus on the small things and fixing those things so when it comes to crunch time in game time -- the last play of the game that will make us or beak us - we will be able to do that. It's all going to come from the preparation that goes on right now and into the season.
Q: What would you say you learned most from the losses to Georgia Tech and Boston College last season?
Ponder: From the Georgia Tech game, obviously never give up. We could have been counted out of it several times. We kept fighting and we almost won the game and some people say we should have. I don't really know. And also when turnovers and things like what happened against Boston College, just don't let that affect you. The same goes for the Wake Forest game as well. And just play one play at a time. That's really what I learned personally. As an offense, just keep fighting.
Q: How confident does it make you to have such a talented offensive line?
Ponder: I am extremely confident. With how hard they work and the knowledge of their playbook and having a coach like Coach (Rick) Trickett coaching them and leading them, I am confident. I am not worried about them at all. They are really going to be the main guys of this offense and really what makes us or breaks us. I wouldn't have any other five guys playing in front of me.
Q: What do you think about running backs Jermaine Thomas and Ty Jones and some of the freshmen coming in to compete at that position?
Ponder: They are extremely talented. They've got to learn a few things but they really excelled in spring ball and started learning what they are supposed to do and they really gained a lot from spring practice. We've got a lot of high expectations for them. They are going to do really well. We've got a couple of freshmen coming in as well and hopefully they will be able to make an impact. But Jermaine and Ty they are going to do really well.
Q: As a quarterback, what are some of the things you need to improve on as you continue to develop and get better?
Ponder: The number one thing for me is the turnovers. I have got to cut back on the turnovers. That just comes from more experience. Things are going to slow down for me now. And also picking up as a leader. There's a lot of things that I am going to be doing over the summer that are going to improve my leadership and get the team as a closer unit and doing some things that are really going to help us out as a team. I think those two things, once I get that and just do what I am supposed to do -- making plays and getting the ball to the playmakers that we have on this offense - if I do that I think we are going to be successful.
Q: What are some things that the team is doing to build relationships and get more unified?
Ponder: Well we are going to be doing a lot of team meetings and group activities over the summer. Some community service stuff that I think we really need to do. We have this misnomer right now that this is kind of a thug university and so honestly I see that we need to do some stuff out in the community and give back. I think things like that are really going to bring us together and bring us closer. We are a team, we are a family. So that's really what it needs to be.
Q: How is your MBA coming along?
Ponder: Right now, I lucked out in summer school because I am taking all online MBA classes. It's pretty easy for me right now but I will graduate with my MBA next spring and so I have summer and fall and the year after. I don't know what I am going to do after that so we will see.
Q: I know you like to golf, so can you talk about your skills on the links?
Ponder: I got some new clubs. I am trying to try them out a little bit. I've got to get used to them. I love playing golf (and) fishing and when I have time I like to do those things and relax and enjoy myself.
Q: Does it help you get your mind off of football?
Ponder: I really like golf because it's such a hard game and it's a sport as well. It's such a mental game. I think things like that really help me on the football field but just get away from football and focus on something else kind of really helps out. Especially summertime (when) you have that break off right before the season starts. Having time like that is very important and it's a lot of fun.
Dekoda Watson Q&A
Q: What is summer like for you and your teammates?
Watson: Summer is just like trying to get back on your feet. (After the season) you take about a week or two off and your body just gets real relaxed. And then (the coaches) just pop you right back in with the mat drills and then you've got spring football. And then summer your conditioning ... your body is just not used to it. You've got to readjust to the heat. It's just like a new experience. It's like you are playing football all over again.
Q: What's the team's plan for the summer?
Watson: Really, it's just about being able to get extra work in. We've got plenty of time to get back on our feet and at this particular time you want to get conditioned, you want to get stronger, you want to get faster. (You want) to just be able to make it through two-a-days. It's really trying to help you be ready for two-a-days and once you get in the season you should just be ready.
Q: How is your elbow and knee doing?
Watson: The elbow is good. It's coming around. It's taking a little bit more time than I expected. One thing I learned about Tommy John (surgery) is that it's not going to heal over night. My knee is fine. I was out there in the spring running during the whole three weeks and that came back pretty fast. But the Tommy John, I have to practice my patience a little bit.
Q: Does it feel good to be able to lift weights again?
Watson: Yes, without a doubt. I was in (the weight room) just yelling and screaming. I was like a little kid at Christmas today in the weight room.
Q: What did you and your teammates learn from your losses last season?
Watson: We missed the ACC (championship game) by this much. That much could have been that extra amount of film that I could have watched (or) that extra amount of film that we could have watched as a team or that extra gasser that we should have ran or that tackle that we should have worked out at practice. It's the small things. Small things will cost you big things and that showed in the Wake Forest and Boston College games. It really just hindered us we missed the ACC Championship by a little bit. We had to play it by chance. We need to be able to have our own destiny right here and we will practice that throughout the summer.
Q: Can you talk about the excitement of opening the season on national TV against Miami?
Watson: These are the type of games that you dream about. I watched it on TV all my life and next thing I know I am sitting here waiting to play that game on Labor Day coming up against Miami. It's going to be real exciting. They've got a little chip on their shoulder and it's the same with us.
Q: What are some of the other games you are looking forward to playing in during your final season at FSU?
Watson: To be honest, I just want to play for a whole season. Just coming in as a freshman automatically knowing you aren't going to be able to play all the games then my sophomore year I missed the bowl game and then had a three-game suspension my junior year. So I just want to make it through a whole season and every day that I do play it's going to be an exciting game because being a senior you just want to win everything. Every game is going to be exciting for me.
Q: What can fans expect from Dekoda Watson and the Florida State defense next year?
Watson: Excitement, excitement, excitement. It's just going to be exciting out there. I am not just talking for myself but for the team. I wish the fans will continue to stay excited and root for us (because) even if we are down it's not over. Even if there's just two minutes on the clock, there is always a way. I honestly believe that. So just stick with us.