You had questions for Buffalo Bills nose tackle Lonnie Harvey. This morning, Lonnie Harvey has answers for you. Resting up along with the rest of his teammates in preparation for the start of training camp (which begins in less than a month), Harvey took some time out of his busy schedule to answer questions from Buffalo Rumblings readers. Many thanks to Lonnie and his business manager, Taber Small, for being so responsive with this fan base.
Q: What have you done personally during the off-season and OTAs to prepare for the switch to the 3-4?
Lonnie Harvey: I have been working on my leverage to stay low in the trenches. Playing in a 3-4, I'm going to get double teamed an awful lot, so my lower body strength has been a focus as well.
Q: Are there any nose tackles in the league you compare yourself to in terms of playing talents?
LH: I wouldn't compare myself to the other nose tackles. but what I will say is that i have similar playing styles to a few guys, such as Shaun Rogers of the Cleveland Browns, Vince Wilfork of New England, and Kris Jenkins of the New York Jets.
Q: 3-4 nose tackles generally face double teams frequently. Does that frustrate you, or make it difficult to bring effort and intensity on every play?
LH: That's a great question. I honestly don't mind, it may frustrate others but I embrace the responsibility of having the toughest job on the field. And as far the effort part goes, it's 70 percent conditioning and 30 percent mental, so that all depends on how well you are prepared for the season.
Q: How have the new strength and conditioning coaches been to work with, and what are the primary differences in how they have you preparing?
LH: The strength and conditioning program has been excellent! I've worked harder than I ever worked before. I've seen great increase in my strength, speed and overall endurance thanks to the program, and the difference is the structure of how hard we work and how often. I've seen great results.
Q: Have the coaches or the training staff asked you to play at a specific weight, or do they like you where you are now?
LH: Well they have given me a playing weight, and also like the progress that I made from the start of the off-season condition program. But like always in sports, there's always room for improvement.
Q: Aaron Maybin is also a Baltimore guy; do you ever train with him or do any community work with him?
LH: Aaron and I are great friends, and we look forward to working out together this summer to prepare for this season. As far as work in the community goes, I'm sure we will collaborate in the near future.
Q: What is your take on new defensive line coach Giff Smith? How about George Edwards?
LH: I think Coach Smith is doing a great job getting us ready for the season. He works us hard as a group, yet finds ways to challenge us individually. It's great to have a coach that teaches and listens, as a young player he's the type of coach that makes me want to play hard for him; not only the D-line but for him as well. Coach Edwards falls into the same category, they know how to bring the best out of the players.
Q: It's not often that two Morgan State Bears make the same NFL roster. How well do you know RB Chad Simpson?
LH: Well I must say, it feels good to have a former teammate in the NFL, but even more so a Buffalo Bill. Coming from a small school it's hard to relate with a lot of guys that came from large schools such as Florida and Penn State. For example, when the guys have conversations about bowl games and different sponsorships and money pumped into their school, we don't relate with them because we do not have the same opportunities coming from 1AA. I know Chad very well, so it's been a good deal having him here; the BEARS are in the building!
Q: The Bills have a lot of veteran players along the defensive line. Having worked with most of them for part of the '09 season, what's your take on those veteran players as a collective whole?
LH: I think we have a great group of vets, Kyle Williams, Marcus Stroud, Spencer Johnson, (John) McCargo and (Dwan) Edwards, all have unique talents that they bring to the table. I try to learn as much as I can from those guys to help me throughout my career. And these players as a whole are going to be tough to deal with, with the different skill sets we have, this season. You will see.
Q: It sounds like you do a lot of visits to hospitals and schools. What do you do on those visits, and how did you get started doing them?
LH: I started doing them this year. Coming from the area I grew up in, I know the importance of someone taking the time out to come speak to me as a child, and know the impact of one encounter that's had by a child that looks up to someone. But to answer your question it was something that's been on my mind and heart to do since I was young.
Q: What was your favorite NFL team growing up?
LH: My favorite NFL team growing up was the Baltimore Ravens.
Q: What other sports/teams do you follow?
LH: The other teams I follow are the Lakers, Orioles and the Sabres (which became newly added).
Q: Do you have any superstitions? How do you prepare for game time?
LH: I don't have any superstitions, but I do have a ritual Snickers before my games - LOL.
Q: What's the first thing you thought of when someone mentioned "the Buffalo Bills" prior to your joining the team?
LH: The first thing I thought of was tradition when Buffalo was mentioned. So many greats and so much history are also behind the franchise. I'm proud to be a Buffalo Bill!
Q: Which players and teams are you most looking forward to playing in 2010?
LH: This might sound cliché, but all of them. I'm not playing this game just to play, I'm playing to establish myself as one of the best in the league.
Thanks for your questions; hope my answers are what you were hoping to hear.