GoBlueRaiders.com THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE OF MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS

A Q&A with Lonnie Clemons

Junior eyes starting job at linebacker

August 19, 2007 · MT Media Relations

Last year you were a backup linebacker for the Blue Raiders. This year you have an opportunity to be a starter, how do you plan to take advantage of this opportunity?
I plan on taking advantage of it because I feel that my past experiences have helped me develop into a leader and prepared me better for game situations. I plan to keep working hard so I can prove to the coaches that I deserve to be a starter for this team.

How did Coach Russell Patterson's strength and conditioning program help strengthen you as an athlete?
His program helped me increase in everything from my incline to my bench to my squat and it also helped increase my speed. His program gets you in shape and prepares you for those difficult situations that you will encounter once you're in the game.

What expectations have you placed on yourself for this season?
I placed high expectations on myself for this year since they moved me to the Mike linebacker position. This year I plan to prove to everyone that I can be a player at this level. I want to make a lot more tackles, be one of the key defensive players, and just help this team win games.

You earned a "winning grade" from the coaching staff in your first ever start against Louisiana-Monroe last season. How did this help boost your confidence?
It means a lot because the coaching staff expects a lot out of me and they can see that I'm working hard to be the best player possible. I think the winning grade helped boost my confidence.

How did working on special teams in 2005 help you develop a bigger role in 2006 and transition to a starting role in 2007?

It helped me a lot because it showed them how physical I was and they could use me anywhere on the field. Playing on special teams got me on the field and when you get on the field you have to take advantage of your opportunity.

What does it take to be an effective linebacker in college football?

You must be able to listen to your coaches and apply what they have told you on the field. You also have to work hard and do everything you can so you can be the most effective defensive player on the field. You just have to play with heart and passion on every snap.

What has been your best personal moment as a Blue Raider?

I have to say it was last year when I we went to the Motor City Bowl. We bonded together as a team and it's something that makes you want to go back so you can have that feeling again.

Having played against the offense for the past couple of seasons, how would you rate the offense's progress over the last couple of years?
Our offense is coming along great. Our receivers are snagging the ball every time they have a chance. Our offensive line has really gotten a lot stronger and is making big strides in protecting our quarterback. I think they are going to have a good year.

How has defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and linebackers Coach Art Kaufman helped mold you into an effective linebacker?
They tell me what I need to do and point out my strengths. They have really helped me improve on my reads, steps, and when to speed up or slow down.

What expectations do you have for the defense this season?
I think we have the ability to be very good against the run and when you can stop the run it gives you a chance to be a very good unit. Hopefully, this year we will be more effective than last season. I think we'll have one of the best defenses in the country this year.

What is your favorite gaming system?
Playstation 2.

If you could sing with a musician on stage, who would you choose?
I can't sing, so I wouldn't dare step on stage.

What is your best hidden talent?
There's nothing to hide because it's all about football.

What is your favorite home cooked meal?
Cube Steak.

What is your favorite city to visit?
Miami, Florida.

Friend of the Blue Raiders? Like us on Facebook and become part of the True Blue army today.