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tiggerpolice 08-18-2005 08:02 AM

Booker hopes to deliver message
Booker hopes to deliver message
Saints cornerback looks forward to playing vs. former teammates
Thursday, August 18, 2005
By Jeff Patterson
Staff writer
Saints cornerback Fred Booker has a dream.

In the final minutes of the Saints' game tonight at New England, the Patriots send in backup quarterback Rohan Davey, a fellow former LSU player. He throws to the receiver Booker is covering. Booker grabs the pass instead.

"If I get a pick against Rohan, then I can talk smack the whole offseason," Booker said. "And I wouldn't mind a big hit on Kevin (Faulk)."

There's just one catch.

"First of all, I have to get in the game," Booker said. "But if I do get in the game, I would love to play against Rohan."

There will be nine former LSU players on the rosters for tonight's exhibition game. Three former Tigers play for New Orleans -- Booker, receiver Devery Henderson and defensive tackle Howard Green.

On the opposite sideline there will be six Patriots from LSU: Davey, Faulk, defensive end Jarvis Green, defensive end Marquise Hill, linebacker Eric Alexander and cornerback Randall Gay.

Booker may not get to play tonight at New England, because Saints coach Jim Haslett plans to play starters for three quarters. The second string will finish the game.

"It's always fun to play against your teammates," Booker said.

In the offseason, the Tigers of old take time out to visit each other's summer camps. And whenever there is a bye week, many return to Tiger Stadium if LSU is playing, Booker said.

"We are all good friends. We still talk," Booker said. "It's like one big family."

NATIONAL AUDIENCE: Tonight's game will be televised nationally by Fox. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will call the game.

INJURY REPORT: Wide receiver Az-Zahir Hakim (hamstring), tight end Boo Williams (hamstring), tight end Shad Meier (knee), offensive tackle Spencer Folau (shoulder), linebacker James Allen (knee), linebacker Cie Grant (knee) and linebacker Roger Knight (knee) will not play tonight.

Allen said his injury is a bone bruise, and there is no timetable for his return. Knight, who has been hobbling around camp on crutches, said his recovery has come along slowly.

STINCHCOMB OPTIMISTIC: Even though Saints offensive tackle Jon Stinchcomb will not play this season, he hasn't lost his smile.

"There is a positive wavelength in this locker room," Stinchcomb said as he rested on his crutches.

Stinchcomb underwent surgery Aug. 10 to repair a ruptured patella tendon in his right knee. He has gone through six days of rehab, but will spend many more months with the Saints' trainers and doctors.

"It's a long road for sure," Stinchcomb said. "Right now, I'm disappointed for the season."

The third-year lineman out of Georgia tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during his senior year of high school. But that injury wasn't as painful, Stinchcomb said.

"I fully expect to be back, at the latest, next season," he said. "I expect to be back in preseason."

For the time being, when he goes home, his wife, Alli, is helping out as his nurse. She also teaches math and writing at Desire Street Academy. Former Saints quarterback Danny Wuerffel is in charge of development and fund raising for the school.

NO SNEAK PREVIEW: The Saints will play the Patriots again in the regular season Nov. 20 in Foxboro, Mass.

"Obviously we are not going to throw the whole playbook at them," Saints receiver Donté Stallworth said.

Aside from winning, Haslett said he would like to see his team play fundamental football.

"I'd like to see consistency, not turning the ball over, play good defense and stop the run," Haslett said. "Really, I just want to get better and improve over what we played last week."

PAST IS THE PAST: Don't get him wrong, Stallworth has a lot of respect for the Patriots, winners of three of the past four Super Bowls. But he'd rather bestow a different name on the team.

"Ex-world champs," Stallworth said. "Last year they won and this is a new year. The past is the past. We are going to establish our own identity."

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