DeQuan Menzie's Actions Say Much
DeQuan Menzie, a native of Columbus, Ga., came to Alabama by way of Copiah-Lincoln Junior College in Mississippi. He started seven games last year as Bama was usually in nickel (or even dime) coverage to start games. This year as a senior he has started every game for the 9-1, third-ranked Crimson Tide.
Very quietly, the 6-0, 198-pound Menzie has attracted the attention of those making post-season selections for All-America and other awards. Menzie earned one of Bama's player of the week honors from Crimson Tide assistant coaches for his play on special teams last week in a 24-7 win over Mississippi State. Previously he has earned such honors both on defense and special teams. He's a gunner on punt coverage and a corner on punt returns.
Alabama wide receiver Marquis Maze, who works against Menzie in practice, has high praise for Menzie. "He's strong, fast, quick," Maze said. "I mean, he's one of the best corners we have. Hands down, I think he should go in the first round (of the NFL craft)."
Maze added, "DeQuan never talks much. He really just goes along, keeps pressing, always ready to play. But quiet."
A cornerback who doesn't talk?
"I know," said Maze. "Hard to believe, but it's true."
Maze also noted that Menzie is over the injuries that hampered him last year. Menzie suffered an Achilles injury in the spring before the 2010 season, and then had a hamstring problem during the season. "He's a lot faster and a lot quicker now," Maze said.
Last year he played in 12 games and got in on 33 tackles, including five for losses of 18 yards, and broke up four passes. Last spring Bama's coaching staff selected him for winner of the Bobby Johns Most Improved Defensive Back Award.
This year Menzie has 37 tackles (third behind All-America candidates Dont'a Hightower and Mark Barron) with 23 primary stops and 14 assists. He has three tackles for loss, one and a half sacks, one quarterback pressure, and leads the team with 10 passes broken up. He also has one fumble recovery (against Penn State) and one pass interception, which he returned 25 yards for a game-changing touchdown in what became a 38-14 win over Arkansas.
This week Menzie and his Alabama teammates host Georgia Southern at 1 p.m. CST at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Georgia Southern, which is 9-1 in the Football Championship Subdivision, runs a triple option offense.
Menzie said he played against the triple option in high school. "It was very difficult," he said. "You've got to look at the right stuff, and if you don't it's going to be real bad.
"I have to become a better tackler this week."
Menzie called his 2010 injuries – a ruptured Achilles and a pulled hamstring – "just nagging stuff," and said, "This season's great for me. I get to play with no injuries."
He hopes that the end of the Alabama football season is the not the end of his football career, and if Maze and a lot of others are correct, it won't be.
"I hope to go to the NFL," he said. If not, he said, he will become a physical therapist. He said his strengths as a cornerback are "man-to-man and tackling."
Menzie may have a reputation of not saying much, but he does listen. Sometimes he hears his head coach, Nick Saban, who is also his practice position coach. "Yelling at me," Menzie said. "Every time I do something wrong. He does it every day."
That doesn't bother Menzie.
"If he yells at you, it means he cares about you. You know you're doing your job and he's doing his job."
Menzie said that playing for Saban has taught him to "Stay poised, be relentless, be tough, and everything is going to fall into place after that."
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