An Interview With DT Freddy Saint Preux

Gamecock Insider tracked down Freddy Saint Preux for this exclusive interview with the defensive tackle some are saying is the key to the defense this year. He's perhaps the one missing ingredient to fill a potentially outstanding starting line ...

Freddy Saint Preux

On being a second year player and the difference between that and a year ago when he was new to the system.

"I feel more comfortable. I know what to expect now and because of that I am having a lot more fun with it this year. Last year I was in an unknown ... that can be intimidating to a new guy. Things moved fast not just on the field but in life. Sometimes I had to tell myself not to let it get to me. This year I know what is going to happen in advance. I know what to expect from the coaches and I know what to expect in school ... so I am having a lot more fun with it this year compared to last year."

About the new defense, the new defensive coordinator, and what stands out in Freddy's mind as the big changes so far.

"Right now with Coach Minter is making it fun. It is always fun when you are learning new things that you can tell are going to work. What Coach Minter has done so far is let us know that we are going to be more of an attack defense this year - last year we focused more on trying to read offenses and stay in our gaps - gap control. This year with Coach Minter it is all about going all out on every play and letting our instincts and natural abilities take over - we want to attack people this year and not have to think about going this way or that way too much."

On his current weight and strength compared to last year.

"I have definitely gotten stronger, and I dropped a couple of pounds. Like Coach Oliver told me he wanted me to drop about ten pounds ... I was up to 308 and now I am down to 298 which based upon my size and body that is about perfect for me. It allows me to be quicker and have more stamina and that is going to be important this season. In this defense you really need so much quickness ... I think I want to get down to about 295 and I should be ready to do what they are asking me to do this season. I want to keep getting stronger, but my weight is almost exactly where it should be. I lost fat ... I want to be 295 of nothing but muscle."

"My max bench is 420 right now. On the reps I did 225 twenty-five times. My speed ... I ran a 4.8 forty and my shuttle time is a consistent 4.1. I think I have improved A LOT compared to last year. I am doing weights and times now that I really never thought I could achieve. Also, now I know I can keep pushing it and do even more in that area so this summer is going to be an important time for me to keep preparing myself for this coming season."

On being the heir apparent to start beside Darrell Shropshire this season.

"I mean it's great. We were beside each other last year towards the end ... we are very comfortable with one another. I know everything he is going to do before he does it, all his moves, and he knows what I am thinking before I ever do it. We compensate for each other when we need to and we have a lot of fun doing that - communicating with one another to make good things happen on the field."

On the new scheme and the people around him on defense.

"I definitely feel comfortable with our defense this year. Like I said, Coach Minter is a good coach. He is not tying our hands - he is putting us in a position to make plays and be successful. I mean he teaches us and he directs us but he does not go overboard and try to dictate every move we make you know what I mean? I mean some coaches want to tell people they cannot control what is going on the field ... but then they do try to control what is going on the field rather than just letting someone go out there and make plays. With Coach Minter it's like, he is going to teach us and teach us the fundamentals - but he is counting on us being the ones that makes the plays when the ball is snapped. He knows we're the ones on the field. So what he is trying to do is teach us how to be play makers out there on our own without having to be told every move to make. Last year we were getting all of our direction on every play from the sidelines. There is no way a coach can see everything that is going on out there. Coach Minter realizes that and he is leaving it up to us to do what we are capable of out there."

"We're still on the learning process ... but so far so good. I gotta tell you that when we first stepped out there it was overwhelming. I mean we were so used to being led around and being told every move to make. It took us a little while not to be so tentative to follow our instincts and use our ability. I mean when he first came out here and started sort of giving us direction everybody was like 'What's this!?!' Now when he tells us to do something or asks us to accomplish something ... hey, it's like 'this is lovely' I mean it confuses the offense and everybody is just blowing people away. It gives you a lot of confidence knowing they are giving you the responsibility to make the plays."

What about some of the other guys at defensive tackle like Stanley Doughty and Chris Tucker.

"Stanley has come up a long ways from last year. First he dropped some weight - that makes him a dangerous man because he is already real physical and strong. He's going to have a good year this year. And Chris Tucker is definitely doing a good job too. His foot is getting better every day and he is a play maker. You can tell he is really coming on this year. And then there is Charles Silas too, he is doing a good job playing both tackle and end and that is not an easy thing to do so that tells you how good he is probably going to be."

"Our defensive line is going to anchor the defense this year. I am not boasting or anything, but we have a lot of veterans coming back and a lot of experience and that is what should be expected of us. We expect that of ourselves. No excuses, no bragging. We either go out there and get it done or we have no one to blame but ourselves because we all know how talented we are and we all know we are capable. We will have no excuses if we do not get the job done this year. Last year we were young and we were maybe just a little bit ... (long pause) ... well, we had our hands tied a little bit last year. This year Coach Minter is trusting us to be able to get after it and be an all-out attack defense. We will have no excuses."

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