Getting double-teamed and loving it

In any player that makes or breaks his name in the trenches, you have to love an attitude. That mentality that says you aren't going to beat him, no matter how many guys you bring to the mix. Well, Reggie Odom has just that kind of attitude, but his attitude goes a lot farther, to the point where coaches love this kid just on his attitude alone. He says go ahead and double team him. That's what he wants, because he knows in the end, he'll still win.

I have to admit that I talk to a lot of players that are considered dominant at their positions and you know with that comes an attitude to do just that. The defensive players love the double-teams, triple-teams or whatever, because they know that an entire offensive scheme is being changed, at least to a degree to account for them.

That's the kind of impact Deland, Florida's Reggie Odom has had every time he gets in the down position in the trenches.

You'd have to agree with the coaches that face him, though, because Odom proved disruptive as a junior to say the least, causing and recovering three fumbles, notching eight sacks, totaling 50 tackles on the year.

You might think the total tackles seems a bit down for someone so dominant at his position, but you don't see what Odom saw game-to-game. "I remember getting blocked by as many as four guys," Reggie said of his junior season. "I knew there was going to be a double-team, but once you get up the field, you find out who else they have waiting for you."

"That's ok, though, because I know they are spending so much time on me, one of my boys is running free."

Those boys are the linebackers, the defensive ends, the secondary or whoever happens to find themselves with either a one-on-one situation at the line or in cases like Reggie said above, nobody blocking them at all. To Odom, that's the real satisfaction he gets, because if there is one stat he cares about more than any other, it's the one at the end of the game.

"I want the wins and I'll take them whatever way it takes," he said. "I want that double-team in the middle, because I know someone is going to have an opportunity outside, so one of the ends or linebackers has a shot to get in the backfield."

"I'm going to get mine, though, because I don't think you can stop me for an entire game."

The confidence oozes in Odom, as he's been battling the double-teams and more since he's been down playing the nose. He thrives on it, likes the extra attention from offenses and knows what when he makes it into the backfield, he's had to go through a battle to get there. "That's what makes you love the game," Reggie said. "If it was easy, there wouldn't be any point in big guy like me down there, but it's not. You have to work your butt off every play and the harder it is to get back there, the more I want to get back there."

"I'm going to get there. It's just a matter of time."

The 6 foot, 3 inch, 300 pound lineman does this with a quick first step, solid hands and the strength to move through the waves intending to block him. In fact, Odom will admit himself that because of the varying places he's had to play across the interior, you can't figure him out to do just one thing all the time. You name it, Reggie says, that's what you've got coming from him.

"I can do it all," he said. "God blessed me with the talent and quickness and I have worked hard on my technique and making sure I am doing the right things at the line. Because of that, if you give me a gap, bring them on, I'm still getting through."

He's getting through, but he's getting hit, only this time I'm talking about recruiting. Aside from the five offers he has now from Maryland, Louisville, Auburn, Illinois and Penn State, Reggie's got a short answer as to the rest of the schools that are sending him mail almost every single day.

"America, you name the team, they are sending me mail," Reggie said. "Seriously, I don't think there's a team you can name I am not getting mail from right now."

That's a lot of options or potential options anyway, but being a Florida kid, the question usually begs to be asked is what would happen if those potential options became all three of the bigguns down there; Florida, Florida State and Miami.

"They are names to me right now, not teams," Reggie said. "I don't commit to a name. Yeah, I know a lot about them, but that doesn't mean any of them are the best place for me. God will tell me where I should be and maybe it's in Alaska, I don't know, but I'll go wherever I feel it's right."

Part of that feeling will come from the relationship he develops with the coaches, something he considers to be one of if not the most important factor out of them all. "Do they care about me, do they want what is best for me or are they just recruiting someone they think can help on the field?" Odom said. "When I look at a school, I want everything; academics, tradition, a spot to play, but it's going to start with the coaches."

"They are the ones that are recruiting me. They are the ones that I get to know and that is going to be the biggest thing in figuring out where my visits are going to go."

The visits will of course, have to wait, but that's all good as far as Odom is concerned, because he's just waiting to see how this whole recruiting experience plays out. Meanwhile, spring ball has begun and before last year has even wore off, he's getting back into it again.

It's exciting for him, but unlike most of the players you'll talk to, his goal isn't about getting more tackles, more sacks or more anything for himself, it's what he can do more that will help out the rest of the team.

"This year, I want them to triple-team me every play," he said. "I want them to be so determined to stop me, the rest of my boys are just going crazy on the outside. I don't care about the numbers, because that doesn't win games. It's not what I can do alone, but what I can do to help everyone else around me."

"That's a winner to me. You got all those numbers, that's great, but are you it? Is the rest of the team suffering, because you are not trying to help everyone else get better? That's not me. I'm here for my guys and together, we are going to win."

"The only way you help yourself is by helping others first. I do that by dominating at my spot and that's what I am going to do again this year."

Odom said that he didn't have any immediate plans for unofficial visits or camps and hasn't even came close to thinking about where his official visits might go. As he said, he's "totally wide-open" right now and if a school wants a shot, he says all they have to do is jump in, because he's looking all over.


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