Blair Looking Like a New Man

A change at the top of the Cincinnati football program may have provided linebacker Greg Blair the chance to change himself on and off the field. Blair talks about the changes he's made to make sure his final season with the Bearcats is a successful one.

With camp in full throttle Cincinnati senior linebacker Greg Blair knows the work done over the past several months provides the tools needed for success. How does it feel to put summer in the rearview mirror and start counting down the days to Purdue?

"It feels real good," Blair said with a laugh. "We've been working very hard all summer doing all the workouts we could to become stronger and faster. We've also been going over film to be smarter on the field as well."

One of the changes fans will notice about Blair is his physical conditioning. The former Lackawanna product says the new staff helped him seen some of the errors in his ways and he took it as a personal challenge to improve.

"I went down a lot of pounds," said Blair. "So I feel very good now and see where I can go from here. I now weigh 240-pounds and it feels very good. I wish I could have played at this weight last year but you learn from your mistakes.

"The weight loss was more personal as I looked at it as that I had made a lot of plays when I was heavy. But I started wondering what if I was 15-20-pounds lighter. Could I have been that much better and all those tackles that I missed been tackles I made if I was lighter?

"The coaches also put a lot of stress on the fact if I want to make it to the next level I had to lose weight because the league is turning into a passing league again as everybody is airing it out."

While Blair made the changes to his body, he also needed to make changes in the way he approached being a leader for the Bearcats this season.

"I have to be the leader," he stressed. "Everybody looked at me this off season and told me I had to be the one that had to step up and be the leader.

"Last year I was kind of off and on as we always had Walt Stewart and I was more of our emotional leader. But when Walt went down I had to kind of step up. So I was kind of use to it. I also look at being the Mike linebacker is always the superior dude as far as leadership so that was how I looked at it."

On the field Blair feels the transition of a new coaching staff has been a smooth one.

"As far as the defense we still run a 4-3 base," said Blair. "So it's a lot of the same stuff just a different terminology. At the end of the day it is all football and all the coaches are laid back. We all love the coaches and the way they coach and have been learning a lot from them."

While Blair has enjoyed his new found celebrity, he also remembers where he came from and knows one year doesn't make you the player you may think you are.

"I always think about the road I took to get here," he said. "When I get a little big headed and see an article here or there, I still think about where I came from having come from a junior college and not having any offers to here.

"That is what keeps me humble no matter what I hear about myself as far as being a superstar or whatever. So I always think about my past and that is what makes me stronger today."

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