TIGER RAG Q&A: Mario Stephenson

Like fellow junior college transfer Claude Wroten, junior defensive back Mario Stephenson is profiting from his early arrival on the LSU campus. <br><br> Instead of reporting for fall camp, Stephenson transferred to LSU just in time for bowl practice as the Tigers were prepping for the national title game with Oklahoma

Being present for spring drills, Stephenson now enters the fall as one of LSU's top six defensive backs. With his big frame and excellent speed, expect Stephenson as a major player for the Tigers in the secondary for the next two seasons.


Tiger Rag chatted with Stephenson about his expectations for the fall.


TR: How much pressure do you feel knowing that your position coach is the head coach?


Stephenson: I knew coming in that coach Saban coaches the DBs personally. He coaches defensive backs to the "T" because he wants you to give the best of your ability, give it your all. He coaches great technique and what makes it special is that it is the same technique you need to know to play in the NFL. I knew it was a good choice to come here because I know coach Saban is not only the best DBs coach in college football, but he will prepare me for the next level as well.



TR: How much of an advantage was it for you to get here early and go through bowl practice and spring drills?


Stephenson: It let me see the pace and the tempo of the game and how it works around here. Coming from junior college to a program the magnitude of LSU, it is a totally didn't pace, a whole different ball game. It allowed me to see how practice works, what you do and where you go, plus, most importantly, you get the pace down. When the pace picks up, you have to pick it up. It gave me a lot of experience very early, especially going up against great wide receivers like Michael Clayton and Devery Henderson. It gave me a better chance to measure myself and give me a guide by going up against them.



TR: Did you get a ring?


Stephenson: No, I didn't get one.



TR: Not only were you coming from junior college to a major college, you were entering one of the more advanced defensive schemes in all of college football.


Stephenson: This is no doubt a complicated system. But once you grasp and understand everything that is going on, it is all really pretty basic. Experience is the best way to learn. That is why I am glad I came in early so I could get that necessary experience for the fall.

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