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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Deleted Scenes: Rantavious Wooten

In case you haven't read it yet, I have a story in today's Telegraph on the development of freshman receiver Rantavious Wooten. After earning just one snap in the first two games, Wooten has seen his playing time increase dramatically in the past two weeks, including hauling in two crucial third-down receptions against Arizona State.

While the story turned out to be much longer than I'd hoped, I didn't come close to getting all my Wooten-isms in. So, here's a few more snippets from my interview with him, for your reading pleasure…

David Hale: I know you're fast, but there are certainly a few other speedsters on this team, including Bryan Evans and Branden Smith. So, who's fastest?

Rantavious Wooten:
There are some fast guys, but running routes during one-on-ones, I feel like I can compete with whoever they say the fastest is, I feel like I’m right there with them.

DH: You've been praised for your route-running pretty much since Day 1. How did you get so good at it?

I learned on my own how to do things. I do a lot of studying of guys like Percy Harvin and Desean Jackson. That’s who I really look at to see how they run their routes and think about would I run my routes the same way. Just be smart and think, if I was a DB, what would I do to him. I think about it that way and then do the opposite of what he’s doing.

DH: What was it like against Arkansas when you finally got some real playing time?

It was pretty good. Of course I was nervous. It was a great environment and the fans were rocking. But to get out there, getting my first hit, it loosened me up a little bit. After that, it kept rolling, my confidence was way up because I wasn’t expecting to play that much. Everything is just falling into place now.

DH: Tell me about your first catch. It looked like you had a little hitch in your route, but you recovered and hauled in a long one right near the sideline.

The way we usually run it at practice is to wait until the last second and he throws it over the opposite-side shoulder, so that’s what I was really trying to do was try to keep my line and stay close as long as possible and then look back at the ball and separate at the end.

DH: What has it been like earning more playing time while Marlon (Brown) is still waiting?

Marlon’s just working. We know things will happen, and we both need work as freshman. We’re both working hard and just pushing each other in practice. We’re going to get there no matter what, and hopefully he’ll get more playing time and I’ll get more playing time.

DH: Has Marlon kept a good attitude despite not seeing much action?

He’s not discouraged or anything. He knows what he needs to work on, just like I know what I need to work on. Everything Coach asks him to do, he’s doing, and his time is going to come. He’s that ideal receiver that’s got the body, the vertical, the hands. He’s going to get there, he’s just got to apply himself.

DH: A.J. Green has obviously been a big topic of conversation this week, and everyone I ask says that they don't even make a big deal about his great catches anymore since they see him do it in practice so often. You weren't around him last year, so I'm curious, is it still impressive to you when you see him make some of those grabs?

Every time I see him make a great catch like that, it’s never, ‘OK, he just made that catch.’ I’m always excited. Every time he makes a catch, I’m excited. I’m on the sideline pointing to him. Everybody else will be like, ‘Yeah, he caught it.’ I’m like, ‘Wow, did you see how he caught that?’ Even though I see him make that kind of catch a lot, it still has that ‘Wow’ factor for me.

DH: OK, I have to ask you about the YouTube clips with your high school highlights. The "Wooten da ball carrier" stuff… it's like those Free Credit Report commercials. It's so annoying, yet so catchy. What do you think about it?

RW: When I first posted it on YouTube, people were commenting on it, but they weren’t leaving comments about the video itself. They were leaving comments about the narrator. They were talking about the announcer and how bad he sucked and what he kept saying. I was like, ‘Man, he’s going to start something with this.’ Every comment was ‘Wooten da ball carrier,’ or ‘He may go.’ It looked like it came up here, too, and that’s what people are saying now.

DH: So have you spoken with the Georgia PA guy to see if you can get that call made during games here?

I haven’t talked to him yet about that. I don’t plan to. But the more I get involved in the offense and the more I touch the ball, I’m pretty sure that it’ll carry over.

DH: Well, despite the lack of 'Wooten da ball carrier' references last week, you did get a nice cheer of 'Woooooot' from the crowd after your first catch. How'd that make you feel?

It was crazy. I didn’t know what to think. I was excited because I knew that the fans had accepted me now. It just felt great. It was amazing, and I walked off the field smiling.

1 comment:

BullyMack said...

Wooten seems to be a great kid. Glad we got him!! I think the sky's the limit especially with his mindset and approach so far. Also not so bad to watch the way a certain #8 handles his business on a daily basis. Thanks for sneaking in those questions to "da ball carrier" at the end. If I hear "he may go, he may go..." over the PA at Sanford I will pee my pants and squirt Jake and Coke through my nose simultaneously. Too funny. Thanks Dave!