Zenon ready to assume starting role

Jonathan Zenon flourished last season in Defensive Coordinator Bo Pelini's system. He came on last year and made big plays in nickel and dime packages, grabbing two interceptions along with 17 tackles and four pass deflections.

Not bad for the sophomore from Breaux Bridge that teamed with fellow defensive back Jessie Daniels since their days in pee-wee.


Zenon and Daniels have a special relationship because of their past, witch transpires onto the playing field. The two are cousins, and joke with each other throughout practice. Zenon sometimes calls Daniels "old man" because of the way he walks and always complains how his joints hurt.


Today Zenon is a junior and the starting left cornerback. He has tremendous speed and vision along with a good knack for finding the football, but more importantly, he is a team player.


Zenon is also a specialist on special teams. He is a member of the kickoff, kick-return, and on punt he serves as a right gunner.


"The secondary is very strong this year, but I believe our defensive line and linebackers are the most vocal points of our defense because they have to stop the run while we will add on by stopping the passing game," Zenon said.


He joins good company in the LSU defensive backfield. Baton Rouge in 2006 will be the home to perhaps the finest defensive backfield in the nation, and Zenon will play a huge role in it. He believes he can contribute to an already great defensive unit, and is excited about his chance to play.


Excitement could be an understatement for the young man. He is so ready to prove himself for the starting role, he plans to return to practice tomorrow after suffering a bruised right knee. He says he is 80 to 85 percent healthy, and if he wants to compete with great athletes like senior free-safety LaRon Landry, he is going to have to suck it up.


"LaRon [Landry] is the leader of the secondary," Zenon said. " He tells us to do this and do that.


In high school, Zenon contributed as a running back for three seasons until former head coach Nick Saban met with Breaux Bridge High School Football Coach Mike Mowad and asked for Zenon to be moved to defense. Since then, Zenon has flourished at the position and has the opportunity to become a two-year starter at a major university.


"It was an easy adjustment for me because I was faster than the other guys," Zenon said. "It was based on confidence because I had been studying the position for a while."

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