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One-on-One with the Pirates
, August 12, 2010

By Ron Cherubini

Q&A with Jeremy Grove

By Ron Cherubini
All rights reserved.

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East Carolina defensive coordinator Brian Mitchell, coming out of spring camp in 2011, flat out said that Jeremy Grove had the very best camp on his defense. He said to watch out for Grove. it was almost prophetic in retrospect. All the redshirt freshman did was burst onto the scene as a tackling machine, conjuring up some vivid memories of the likes of Chris Moore, Robert Jones, Danny Kepley — the monsters of ECU defensive lore.

As a freshman, Grove finished the year among the nation’s tackle leaders and garnered freshman All-America honors. Why is he so good? Two major ingredients: First, he is a good tackler… he puts his man down. Second, he understands his job. In the 3-4 defense, it is a linebacker’s dream job description: “Kill the ball carrier.” Grove was as good as it gets in doing his job within a system predicated on freeing up the linebackers, particularly the Mikes, to make tackles.

What was critical a year ago for Grove is that his play opened the door for his growth as a leader on a defensive unit that is a primary key for a successful campaign in 2012. He is passionate, he has a motor that doesn’t stop, and his play gets his teammates whipped into a frenzy. Expect more of the same from Grove in 2012.

Jeremy was kind enough to sit down for a chat with Bonesville to share his insights on the upcoming season.

Jeremy Grove in action
(ECU SID photo)

One-on-One with Jeremy Grove

Q: Wow! Could you have written a better script for yourself in 2011? What do you believe was the biggest thing that you learned in 2011 to help you be a better linebacker in 2012?

A: Last season was great but it was last season, and even though I put up those numbers, it was my role, my job on this defense is to make tackles. So I have a lot of little things… technique… that I must continue to work on. Another thing is that I need to very much aware of… I have to focus more on recognizing what everyone else’s jobs are so that I can make sure each of us is doing what we are supposed to be doing. That is a part of the job I think I am getting better at now.

Q: You missed spring banged up a bit. You 100% now and ready for camp?

A: Oh yeah, I feel good. The shoulder feels great. All set, ready to play.

Q: Last year, the defense as a unit made an incredible turnaround to gain a measure of respectability. Still, sack and turnover production could be better. Why should fans expect this defense to go from respectable to feared?

A: It starts with the fact that we have seven starters back and a lot of other guys who have played a lot. We have more depth than I can remember since I got here and all the guys can play. We are two and three deep with athletes and I think that will show this year. We all intend to continue (the upward trend).

Q: Do the guys have a noticeably better handle on the defensive requirements of the 3-4?

A: Yes, we do. We area all fine tuning it now. We’ve had the overall scheme down coming in (to camp) and working on making sure we do the little things perfectly.

Q: What is the defense’s mantra this season and why?

A: I would say that all of us on every snap are thinking, ‘Swarm to the football, no matter what.’ This defense is athletic and fast and we all get to the football. We all know that if every guy gets to the football, good things are going to happen for us. I think you will see that is one of the (characteristics) of this team.

Q: What player on this team do you most respect and why?

A: For me, Justin Hardy. I think he is the best wide receiver in college football. I work against him every day and it is a job. I know that working to cover him makes me a lot better every time out. My coverage skills have improved a lot and I believe it is from having to work against him in practice. He is good.

Q: Name a couple of players on the defense that maybe we haven’t heard a lot about yet, but will, come 2012?

A: I am going stay with the linebackers on this question. We are incredibly deep at inside linebacker. Ty (Holmes), (Zeek) Bigger, (Daniel) Drake, (Kyle) Tudor — those are guys who anyone of them could break out this season. Also, then there are guys like Jake (Geary) who makes plays. Desi (Brown) and Chip (Thompson) are tough guys, too. But, thinking more about it, really I think the guys who you are going to hear a lot about are our corners, Jacobi Jenkins and Leonard Paulk. We lost seniors on the corners last year, but I think those two will break out big this season.

Q: Give me your thoughts on the offensive line out there right now for the Pirates?

A: I can say for sure that Coach (Jeff) Connors has gotten them much bigger and much stronger and they are all physical. You put bigger, stronger guys in there who all know the blocking schemes really well and they are going to be good. Not just improved, but I think they could be pretty great this season.

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Ron Cherubini Archives

08/12/2012 02:13 AM


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