Rousseau has shot to lead nation in sacks in 1st season
Miami Hurricanes defensive end Greg Rousseau has a realistic opportunity to lead the nation in sacks by the end of the season.
Entering this weekend’s games, Rousseau ranks fourth with 12. Oregon State linebacker Hamilcar Rashed Jr. leads the way with 14, while Ohio State’s Chase Young has 13 1⁄2 and Boise State’s Curtis Weaver has 12 1⁄2.
“Oh, Greg can do that,” senior linebacker Shaq Quarterman said. “Greg can do what he wants to do.”
Even more remarkable is that the redshirt freshman only became a starter the sixth game of the season.
As much talk as there is around it, it’s not high on Rousseau’s priority list.
“Really, I just go out there and play,” Rousseau said. “Things like that, they come to you when you do your assignments and give effort. If I lead the nation in sacks, I do. If I don’t, I don’t. But that’s not really something I’m putting pressure on myself to get.”
If Rousseau doesn’t end up as the nation’s sack leader, he may still lead all others in humility.
“It’s pretty cool. It’s a blessing. I really appreciate it,” Rousseau said, “but honestly, it’s just a testament to our whole defense. The DBs in the back end, the other D-linemen, the linebackers, all of them, it’s a group effort. I get the stats sometimes, but it’s really all them and I’m just so grateful to have them.”
That’s not just talk from Rousseau. Quarterman notices it in his reaction when Rousseau gets one of those sacks.
“He makes a good play and celebrates with the team,” Quarterman said. “I look across the country when I watch football games, and a lot of guys don’t do that. It’s a lot of ‘me.’ ‘I did this,’ and ‘I did that.’ Greg, the first thing he does is want to hug somebody next to him.”
Rousseau has been able to grow into his 6-foot-6 frame, going from 215 pounds when he arrived at Miami to 254, which he attributed in part to strength and conditioning coach David Feeley and team nutritionist Kyle Bellamy. Quarterman said he has used his height and arm length to his advantage, while also bringing his pad level down on blockers for better leverage.
Rousseau, with two regular-season games and a bowl game remaining, is five sacks from tying Daniel Stubbs’ team record of 17, set in 1986.
Hitting a wall: The football field setup at Marlins Park, which will host the Miami-FIU game on Saturday night, doesn’t appear to give teams much room from the back of the end zones to the walls in right field and in foul territory on the third-base side.
“I know our people are going over there to make sure that, No. 1, is player safety, and we shouldn’t do anything that puts player safety in jeopardy,” Diaz said. “I’m confident — you know, they’ve played games in there before — that they have the appropriate measurements to make sure that it’s a safe environment for the players to play in.”