Moderator: This is part two of our 'Your Turn' interview with Shaun King. We've already discussed such topics as playing in front of your hometown crowd and adjusting to Jeff Christy and the rest of the new offensive linemen. We have more to cover with the Buccaneers' starting quarterback and, I might add, one of only two rookie QBs to win a playoff game in the last 30 years. So let's just get right back to the questions.
Julian from St. Petersburg, Florida: If you could for a moment, reflect back on the days when, as a high school football player in St. Petersburg, you dreamed about a career in the NFL. What part of realizing that dream has been the most surprising, both positively and negatively?
Shaun King: Just the fact that you never know where hard work will put you at. Who would have thought, when I was playing for Gibbs, that I was going to be the starting quarterback for the Bucs, but God has a plan for my life and it has manifested itself and it's going well so far. I don't think there are any negatives about realizing your dreams as a kid. All of us envision ourselves being something, and when you are able to accomplish that, I don't think anything's negative about that.
Scot from Odessa, Florida: I'm very impressed with the poise and leadership that you showed last season, and you looked very confident running the offense. However I was wondering about the few times that the football slipped out of your hands when there was no apparent contact. Are you aware of how it happened and how it can be corrected?
Shaun King: It's just something that happens sometimes during the course of the game. Look at some of the great quarterbacks…(Brett) Favre comes down here two years ago on Monday night, and he drops it three or four times in one game. I think Elway did it sometimes. It's something that happens. It's not anything that you do on purpose, it's not a lack of concentration. It's just that sometimes the ball is slippery when it's new and it happens.
Moderator: So it's not a symptom of anything that needs to be corrected?
Shaun King: No.
Chad from Clearwater: How do you compare the different offensive schemes from this year and last, and what do you think of Les Steckel's idea to use Mike Alstott in all those different positions?
Shaun King: I think Alstott has an ability to do a lot of things. I think he's a great running back and I also think he's a great guy. He can catch passes and get things up the field. I think that Les does a great job of moving him around, so defenses can't key on him, and getting him the ball. I think that's going to make us real successful.
Moderator: Is there any easy comparison between this year's offense and last year's?
Shaun King: Oh, no. They're two totally different offenses. I think we're a lot more versatile with what we're going to do this year. Last year, we were really strictly a running team, which fit our strength last year, so I can understand the reasoning behind it. This year, with the addition of Keyshawn (Johnson) and Jeff (Christy), who's able to do a little more when it comes to moving around, I think our offense is going to fit our personnel.
Chris Denney from Milton Florida: In high school what was your toughest subject?
Shaun King: Spanish! (Laughter) That was a tough one in high school. I took two years and I still can't speak it.
Saif from Atlanta, Georgia: Joe Hamilton was as amazing at Georgia Tech as you were in college. What do you think of his chances of playing in the NFL?
Shaun King: My first impression of Joe is that he's a real bright guy, a real smart guy. He's picking up the offense really fast and he's making plays. I told Joe, 'Don't worry about anything that happens. Just go out and do your best. Every day, just work hard and in the end, whatever happens, happens.' I think he's taking that approach.
Jason from Sarasota: I greatly admire the poise you showed last season. To be 22 years old, playing in huge games, in your hometown had to make you extremely nervous. How were you able to carry yourself in such a calm manner? Do you think the addition of Keyshawn Johnson will help take pressure off your shoulders?
Shaun King: Well, to the first part of the question, I have Christ at the center of my life, and that's what helps me. The Bible tells us that God didn't give us a spirit of fear, he gave us a spirit of power. The other thing about me not being nervous is that I go out during the week and I work as hard as I can. Then I'm prepared. When I get in a game, I'm out there playing as hard as I can. That's all you can ask of yourself. I think Keyshawn's going to help us a whole bunch. He gives us another threat. Once we get into the 'Green Zone', he's going to take a lot of pressure off of other guys.
Richard from New Orleans, Louisiana: How did it feel leading a small school like Tulane to the top?
Shaun King: It felt good. It felt good because I felt not only that Tulane was successful but that New Orleans was successful. You go into a community where a school hasn't won for awhile and you win, it feels like you just lift everybody's spirits. It felt good. It made you really feel like you have a sense of pride about the school you went to and the people that supported that school.
Kiana from Tampa: Why did you decide to play football instead of other sports?
Shaun King: That's what I was best at. I played baseball and basketball, and I was pretty good at both of those but I was really good at football, so I said I might want to stick to it. Plus, I wasn't tall enough for basketball.
Moderator: And baseball?
Shaun King: Baseball was too hot!
Tony from St Helens, England, UK: This will be your second offensive system to come to terms with in such a short period of time. How long does it take to get comfortable with a new scheme?
Shaun King: It takes a little time to get comfortable with it. I wouldn't say it takes a long time to learn it; that's just based on what you're willing to do as far as studying and putting the time in. But it does take awhile to get comfortable with it. Sometimes, I feel like I'm a rookie again, because last year it wasn't until the end of the year that I was finally comfortable with that one. But now, we've got a new one, but that's part of the game and hopefully I'll be up to the challenge.
Moderator: Well, I lied a little bit at the top when I told you that all of these questions were sent in by Buccaneers fans. I have a feeling this isn't a Buccaneer fan, but it's a relevant topic.
Jimmy from Washington, D.C.: Do you think that you guys can compete with the Redskins?
Shaun King: Can we compete with the Redskins? Well, first we've got to compete with the teams in the Central, then anybody else that's on our schedule. What they're doing down there on paper seems like it's going to be pretty good. I think if you look back at last year, with Denver and Atlanta, teams that everybody thought were just going to walk over the season…the NFL's a tough league and you have to approach it like that. On paper, we have a real good team, but we still have to go out and play 16 games and try to win each one of them. We get two chances to play the Redskins, so we'll see.
Moderator: Thanks so much, Shaun. That's our last question. Once again, we appreciate your time. Thanks for being the first player on 'Your Turn'.
Shaun King: Thanks.