Rousseau has shot to lead na­tion in sacks in 1st sea­son

Orlando Sentinel - - SPORTS FRIDAY - By David Furones

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.”

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