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April 2, 2009There might not be a more exicted player on the field this spring than A.J. Guyton. The UCF wide receiver had a big freshman campaign in 2007, but had to miss all of last season due to an ACL injury he suffered during last year's spring practice. Now close to 100 percent, Guyton is back with his teammates this spring and can't wait to return to the field this fall.
Click here for the audio of this interview with A.J. Guyton
Are you excited to be back on the field this spring? You missed last year healing from the ACL injury. How excited have you been to be back out here playing football again?
"Oh man, it's been very exciting. Once again I'm back out there on the field helping my brothers trying to compete for a conference championship like we did my freshman season. Unfortunately I missed last season. It wasn't a step backward, but it was a learning process for me. I learned a lot from the sidelines. Being out there right now going through spring I'm just trying to take spring each and every day and learning more each and every day. Get more and more reps I can just to get back into the flow."
Was it tough having to sit out and not able to contribute on the team last year? How tough was that for you?
"Yeah, last year's ACL injury was my first ever injury of my football career, so it was very tough at first. Once I sat down and learned this isn't like a step back like I said, just build from it. That made me come back stronger. I'm stronger in the weight room. I don't know how fast I am right now because we haven't got timed, but I came back just working hard. It made me want to work harder just to get to that next level."
Have you jumped back in there this spring? Are you close to 100 percent now?
"Right now I'd say I'm about 90 percent. I'm getting tackled, jumping right back up, running routes and playing off of everything. I'm about 90 percent."
Do you feel as fast as you were or do you think you've got a little ways to go to get back to that speed of a couple years ago?
"I feel quick, like I was before I went down. As far as speed wise, I really haven't ran in a straight line yet and getting timed, but quickness wise on my feet I don't even think about my knee when I'm out there on the field. I just play and take it one play at a time."
You've got the brace on your knee this spring. When will that come off?
"It should come off once camp comes. I had to go through spring with it just to get my knee back stable, like planting and stuff. Once I get used to that, by the time camp is over I should be out of the brace."
It's been an interesting spring for the wide receivers. You're in there with Rocky, but other guys that are obviously going to be part of the mix like Kamar, Khymest and now Brian have been out with injuries. But has it been good to see other guys step up? Everyone knows what you and Rocky Ross can do, but now Jamar Newsome and Chad Alexander have had an opportunity.
"Yes, exactly. Jamar Newsome has stepped up big time this spring. He's a totally different person. I don't know what it is. I don't know if he's studying more or just focusing more. All of us, we try to help each other each and every day. I feed off Rocky. Most of us feed off Rocky. He's in his fifth season. Everyone is trying to stay focused and just take advantage of the opportunity."
This is your first opportunity catching passes from Rob Calabrese. Everyone has talked about the improvement he's made from last season. Are you seeing that in him as well?
"Yeah. From the sidelines last year I saw Rob Calabrese like a freshman would be. Now he's settled down a lot. In the huddle he calls the plays slow instead of fast where we can't hear. He's making nice reads and everything. He's really improved this spring."
Are you excited about this offense Charlie Taaffe brought in? It looks like the receivers might be involved a little more. I saw some four wide sets out there which you didn't see very often before and some spread game. Are you getting excited about that?
"Yeah, I'm very excited about that. That gives us a lot of playmakers on the field at the same time. Once Kamar and Khymest come back then we'll really be a threat with all of us on the field at the same time. That makes the defense have to adjust, plus with Calabrese running the ball and Brynn Harvey you really don't know what to do. I love the offense that we have right now."
I know there's some good speed guys in the receivers, you and Khymest especially. I know you're not 100 percent right now, but did you guys ever run against each other? Who's faster?
"No, we've never ran against each other. I'm not going to run anything longer than the 40. We run the 40 and I'll probably give him a go, but nothing longer than the 40."
Today is April Fool's Day. Do the guys plan any jokes or any pranks?
"I got something for somebody. Nobody's got me yet. I might get Aiken."
What are you going to do to Aiken?
"I don't know. Probably do something to his room."
Are you roommates?
"He's not my roommate, but he's Khymest's roommate. I'm going to have him let me in the room."
Are you guys a tight knit group?
"We have class and everything together. Every weekend we hang out. Everyday we'll be on the video games heavy. We play NCAA all day when we don't have class and practice. We're a very tight knit group."
When I talked to the d-line they talk about going to Buffalo Wild Wings on Tuesday night. Do the receivers have any outings like that?
"Nah, we just hang out. We always order pizza and everything and watch basketball games, especially with March Madness. Every night we watch basketball together and play video games, just hang out."
Are you excited about returning to the field this fall? I know you've got to get through the summertime, but it'll be here before you know it.
"Yes, that's why I'm just trying to take one day at a time. Once the fall gets here and kicks in, just go out there and play. I've paid my dues. I'm working hard to get back from the ACL injury. I working hard this spring and will this summer to get to the fall hopefully."
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