The Man in the Middle - #99 Marquay Love

"I feel really good about playing nose, it is just a different defense we will need to work on. It is going to really help us having so many players coming back. We are very focused now and it is going to help us when we report back in the fall." - Marquay Love

Marquay Love has opened a lot of eyes with his play, after being called on to start for the Houston Cougars midway through is freshman season, due to the injuries of his teammates. He will be playing what is essentially a new position by going from an inside tackle in a 4-3 defense to the nose tackle in a 3-4 scheme.

RS - Where are you from and where did you play high school ball?
ML - I am from Fort Worth and played at Crowley HS.

RS - Coming out of high school, who recruited you and why did you decide to attend the University of Houston?
ML - I was recruited by Iowa State, North Texas and a few others. I decided to come here because of the family atmosphere and I felt real comfortable with the coaching staff. My uncle (Eddie Foster) also played with Coach Briles here back in the 70's, and I have family who live here right now, so it made a lot of sense.

RS - What are you currently majoring in and what are your ambitions following school?
ML - I am majoring in sports administration and minor in marketing. I would love to continue playing in the NFL, but if that doesn't happen I think I would like to coach.

RS - Were you surprised the coaches called on you to contribute so early in your career as a true freshman?
ML - I was kind of surprised, but I knew it was going to happen, because the coaches kept telling me to be patient and my time was going to come.

RS - What has been the toughest transition going from high school to Division 1 football, and were there any surprises in the level of competition once you arrived?
ML - It was much quicker and I had to step up my game. I was a little overwhelmed at first, but after I got on the field, I learned that it was the same game and everyone puts on their pants just the same.

RS - Please tell us what your thoughts are in switching from a 4-3 to a 3-4 and how you personally feel about playing the nose tackle position.
ML - I feel really good about playing nose, it is just a different defense we will need to work on. It is going to really help us having so many players coming back. We are very focused now and it is going to help us when we report back in the fall.

RS - What are some of the differences in playing nose, rather than inside tackle in the 4-3 and do you ever see yourself moving to the outside at tackle in certain situations?
ML -The difference in nose is that I am mainly getting triple or double-teamed, but rarely a single, except in passing situations. I really don't think I will ever be playing outside with my size.

RS - What are your responsibilities to handle in these blocking techniques?
ML - I am taught to twist my hips and get to the ball. The coaches are always telling me once I beat one man, I beat them both.

RS - How do you feel the line is coming along with the starting unit and its' depth as a whole?
ML - I feel our depth is looking real good and that, we as a family are doing much better than last year in communicating and knowing what we need to do as a front line.

RS - How much does it help you at the end of games to have a quality back-up spelling you throughout the game or would you rather play every snap?
ML - I would rather have someone backing me up because I want be fresh in the 4th quarter. You want to be able to go out real hard for three plays, then come back in and be at 100% again.

RS - What do you feel your strengths as a player are at this point?
ML - I feel my strong suit is stopping the run, but now it is going to be pass-rushing in the new scheme.

RS Are there any particular players who you feel will step up and surprise people this year?
ML - I look for Phillip Hunt, Brendan Pahulu and Rodney Rideau to step it up this year.

RS - Who would you say the leaders on defense or who others look to get things started?
ML - Our leaders are Lance Everson and Will Gulley.

RS - With such a huge nationally televised game to start the season, at what point during the off-season do you begin breaking down tapes and preparing for Oregon?
ML - We will start preparing for them after the Red/White game when we come back. My main focus is just getting ready for the season. Individually, you can watch all the tapes you want, but as a team we will start after the summer workouts.

RS - What are the goals and expectations for the team next season?
ML - To play as a family, to communicate and to fly to the ball.

RS - Why would you tell recruits they should play at the University of Houston?
ML - I would tell them it is a great program and we play as a family and we are a family.

RS - Do you ever read
ML - Yes sir, I read it a lot and I do like it. (Smiling)

RS - Are there any last words you would like to say to all the CoogFans out there?
ML - Just keep on supporting us, we are going to win a lot of games and be fun to watch.

It has been a pleasure talking with you Marquay and I look very forward to seeing how you finish your career here at Houston after what has been a very promising start.


Cougar Digest Top Stories