The years have flown by for Mario Butler and he's having a hard time believing he's about to start his last year at Georgia Tech. "It's been a process going from my freshman year until now," said Butler. It's been going by so quick that I'm just trying to enjoy everything right now."
Butler entered Tech as a player that was not expected to make a major contribution but he's worked hard and has ended up being a three year starter. "I always wanted to be a starter and coming into college I wanted to be a three year starter," said Mario. "I've just tried to get better each year and I think I'll get better this year which is my main goal."
Mario will be starting in a secondary that is said to be one of the deepest and most talented in recent years at Georgia Tech. "I think it's important to have depth because when you have injuries you can overcome that by plugging someone in and that will help us throughout the season." Butler also knows there will be times when a player will need to come out of the game to get a breather and they'll have the depth to be able to do that.
When Butler first came to Tech he would seek out the older players like Jamal Lewis and DJ Jones for advice. The tables are turned now that he is the old man in the secondary. "It's kind of weird because I can remember three years ago when I was asking the older guys and now I'm the "old cat" on the block," said Butler. It's a blessing that I made it this far to be able to give back to the younger people the knowledge that I've received to help make them better."
One of the players that Mario has helped is sophomore Rod Sweeting. Sweeting is expected to make a big jump from his freshman to his sophomore year. "It's always a big jump from the freshman year after getting the practice and game experience." Mario expects the game experience, especially the special teams experience, to help Rod make a significant jump this season. "I think he's going to be a step ahead of the players who didn't get to play last year."
Mario likes what he sees from the freshman cornerbacks Ryan Ayers and Louis Young thus far and feels that the future is bright at the cornerback position. "Louis is one of those players that will come up and hit you and Ryan has come along real good," said Butler. "I'm happy for those guys and the biggest thing for them is to come in and compete because a lot of things are thrown at you real fast.
Look for Mario and the deep secondary to be a major reason why the defense is looking for a big turnaround from last season as they begin the 2010 season in Coach Al Groh's 3-4 defense.