August 9, 2011
Guy moves to linebacker
Danny Trevathan always had a reputation as being one of the fastest linebackers in the Southeastern Conference. These days, he's probably only the second fastest linebacker on his own team.
Senior Winston Guy, who has started as safety the last two years, moved to linebacker in the spring as part of the transition to defensive coordinator Rick Minter's new scheme. He's slated as the starting strongside linebacker, but he'll be doing a lot more than that.
Guy called his position a "hybrid." Even though he might be listed as a linebacker, he'll also slide over to cornerback at times, and he'll roam around the field a bit as well. Guy was second on the team with 106 tackles at safety last year, but he's made the move seamlessly.
"Winston has great instincts," linebackers coach Chuck Smith said. "He's a natural football player. He's got that speed and that quickness and that fast trigger to be a great player. With this new defense, he's taken this new position to another level because of his playmaking ability."
For his part, Trevathan insists that he and Guy tied the last time they raced, during their freshman year. Guy claims he's clearly faster than Trevathan. Either way, both are excited about the new defense, which they say is built around speed.
"We're probably going to have one of the fastest defenses in the country in my opinion," Trevathan said. "Everybody is running to the ball."
Guy isn't the only player who made a position change to fit into the new defense. Junior Taylor Wyndham, who had been in the rotation at defensive end in his first two seasons, is also joining the linebacking corps. Junior Martavius Neloms moved from corner to safety, and junior Ridge Wilson will play a hybrid linebacker/defensive end position.
Those moves are designed to create mismatches that will allow players to exploit players who may be slower or not as strong as the player they find themselves lined up against.
"You're always looking for those matchups where you can win," Smith said. "You can put a fast, skilled guy on somebody who's not as fast."
Guy is especially looking forward to exploiting those mismatches in the pass rush. He has just one career sack to this point - against Miami of Ohio in 2009 - but he's expecting that to change this season.
Guy, along with Trevathan, put his name in to be evaluated for the NFL draft at the end of last season before deciding to return for his senior year. He got the chance to speak with NFL scouts, who told him he needed to improve his ball skills to make the move to the next level.
"I thought I needed that as well," Guy said. "I love tackling; I'm so aggressive just coming downhill. This position that I'm at gives me a lot of opportunities to make plays and work on my tackling skills and thing I was lacking at."
Guy said new defense gave the offense headaches for the first few practices in the spring. With the speed of Guy and Trevathan at the outside linebacker spots, he's hoping that carries over into the season.
"There's a lot of blitzing, a lot of disguising and stuff," Guy said. "I think this defense and the packages we have will confuse offenses instead of just being a 4-3 defense. Quarterbacks that are really good and know the game really well can tell what's going on (in a 4-3), but when it comes to a 3-4 and having different people in different positions, it's going to be tough for them."
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