Reese: "We're Hungrier"

The true senior middle linebacker, Marcus Reese, talks about his concussion, the Colorado State game, being the underdog, and the personality of the defense this year, which he says is hungrier...

How do you feel?

"I feel good. I'll be ready to play on Saturday. My head feels perfect right now. It was just a precaution that I had to sit out."

How many concussions have you had?

"I don't want to get into a number. More than two. But this one was very mild. I don't even think it was a concussion. I was just out for a little while. But within 30 minutes I was fine. I didn't have a headache, but other symptoms, but they're all gone now. Compared to the other concussions, this was nothing."

Are you comfortable making the switch to middle linebacker?

"I feel comfortable there. I played there last year, not much but some. With our defense it's not much different from the Will linebacker [weakside linebacker]. You see Rob Thomas playing Will [middle linebacker] in the pros right now. There isn't much of a difference. The way our defense is designed. The d-linemen really hold up the line really good. So I feel comfortable there."

How does the linebacking group feel different this year?

"It is different. Last year we had a lot of veterans. This year we're very young. On the roster, I'm a fourth-year and I'm the oldest one. We don't have any fifth-years. And we don't have any other fourth-years, just me. It feels real different, being so young. But at the same time, we're more feisty. Younger people tend to go a little harder in practice. I like it."

Are you trying to step up and accept a leadership role among the linebackers?

"I hang around with them a lot, try to talk to them a lot. I try to take them under my wing, show them how to do it. I'm the oldest one so I have to. I'm the only senior and I have no one else to do it, so I have to take them under my wing, because it's the only wing around really."

Have you taken Justin London under your wing?

"Justin London, he and I have developed a good little relationship. We've been hanging out, on and off the field. I can try to show him what to do. He's real talented, so I try to give him some tips. To be real patient sometimes. He's real talented, a good player."

How do you feel about this year's team overall compared to last? Is there a different vibe to it?

"There is a different feeling. The big difference is last year a lot of people were already stars, and everyone was already hot. This year, no one is a star yet, and everyone is trying to just excel. This year I think we're far more hungry, because we're not getting any respect. Last year, we had so many guys, twenty-something seniors, who were this and that. This year everyone's trying to become that. I feel a lot better going through that situation where you don't feel you're on top and you feel you have to work your way up. The underdog basically. I feel good in that position. It's good to be on top, but it's hard."

Being a senior, do you think about what you have to do this season to make an impression for the NFL?

"I don't really think about it. I don't think about the long-term. I learned about that last year. Thinking long-term is going to mess you up. I'm just thinking about dominating this game, and then the next game. Taking it game by game and then letting the chips fall."

What are some of the differences between the Mike and Will?

"The positions are pretty similar. Some of the subtle differences between the Mike and Will, you have to make more reads at the Mike. At Will, if you see a gap, you shoot it. You can't always do that at the Will. You have to make more reads. You can't be quite as aggressive at the Mike. But there is more opportunity at the Mike. You can make more tackles than at the Will. But to get them you're going to have your head up in there. You have to study more film, because you have that tight end on you sometimes."

Is there pressure following Robert Thomas at the position?

"I don't feel any pressure. A lot of people ask me if I feel pressure playing the Mike after Rob, and I really don't. I never did. There was a couple of times last year, when his foot got injured and I had to go in there and play, and I really didn't feel any pressure covering for him. He's a great player and he taught me a lot. Actually I feel more comfortable going in there with Rob in front of me since I learned so much from him. I had a great player to watch how to play the position. Not many people get that type of advantage."

What personal goals do you have for the season?

"I have a lot of goals, but I want to keep most of those private. My real goal is to beat Colorado State right now. Dominate and do the best I can against Colorado State. That's my goal right now."

What's the personality of this defense?

"We're hungrier. Our personality is now that we want to prove to everyone, to the media, that we can play. We lost a lot of guys. Marques Anderson, Rob Thomas, Kenyon Coleman. So we want to prove we can play, too, and we'll be just as good a defense without them."

What's the plan for Colorado State? What are the keys to containing their offense?

"The quarterback, Van Pelt, he really impressed me. I watched the Colorado game, on live TV, and you could see the energy that he brings to the game. You can see on film that he's very talented, but watching the game live you can see he brings a lot of energy to the game, and competitiveness. And then there's their running back, who is big and good. I expect a lot from Colorado State. I really want to contain them. All of us linebackers know we can't miss tackles because both can really run. It's going to be very important for the linebacking corps and the d-line to make their tackles. That's going to be the main thing. If you look at the games they've played, most of the yards they were getting were off of mis-tackles. The quarterback, in one game, did a quarterback sneak, and everyone thought he was done and then he ran for a touchdown. So the key is making the tackles."

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