Martrell Spaight was grinning from ear to ear Wednesday when someone brought up the name of the last All-SEC linebacker at Arkansas. It was Sam Olajubutu in 2006.
"Sam Olajubutu was my coach in junior college," Spaight said. "I think that's pretty cool. He taught me a couple of things. I talk to him at times.
"One of the things that Sam talked to me about was knowing how to set the edge on defense and that's a big part of what we've worked on here. He called me a few times to critique my game here. But I haven't talked to him since the beginning of the season."
Spaight tried to deflect the credit from placing on the All-SEC teams by both the coaches and the media. The senior from North Little Rock was named to both groups first team this week.
"It's a team honor," he said. "My coaches and my teammate deserve the credit. I watch the tape of our games and what I see are defensive tackles taking on double teams. I see a middle linebacker playing the gaps and I don't see any blockers on me. It's a team defense, all of us working together."
And, he gives a lot of credit to Randy Shannon, his linebacker coach at Arkansas the last two years. He is another in a a long line of all-star performers for Shannon, following the likes of Ray Lewis. Shannon generally talks more about his past players than his current players, something Spaight loves. Perhaps he'll add a few stories on Spaight now.
"We get all of those stories," Spaight said. "We love hearing about those guys like Ray Lewis and Jonathan Vilma. We know some of those unique stories. He's explained how they progressed in their careers. I can imagine him telling stories about me now, my progress. Now, I know Coach Shannon is pretty unpredictable so I'm not sure what he's going to say about me."
Spaight said he's trying to focus on day-to-day tasks to keep his mind off the inevitable, that he's about to play his last game for the Razorbacks.
"Don't get me emotional," Spaight said. "I can get that way. I would rather not do that just yet. That day will come and I will get emotional knowing it's my last game with the Razorbacks. I know it's going to be coming soon, but right now, it's better that I just work on getting better day by day."
There's also some focus on the history lessons with playing Texas.
"I listen to everything my dad says," Spaight said. "He's usually right on target. And, he tells me with a lot of texts that this is a big game for our state. I know it's true. I've been hearing a lot about the past games from my dad. I don't remember them, but I know it must have been a huge thing for everyone in Arkansas for these Texas games. We are learning about all of that right now.
"I do know that it's probably more about the people of the state than the players. You know what they say there, that Texas is the best state. I'm buying into the rivalry, though. I really am."
Spaight Gives Credit to Teammates
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