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One-on-One with the Pirates
, August 13, 2010

By Ron Cherubini

Q&A with Damon Magazu

By Ron Cherubini
All rights reserved.

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Dependability is a heck of a reputation for a football player. While Damon Magazu’s name tends to conjure up memories of the 2010 win over N.C. State, what often times is lost when it comes to the tough, smart man in the middle of the secondary is that he plays as if he has been in the lineup for three or four years.

It is almost hard to believe that Magazu has two years left to roam the secondary for the Pirates. He appears to have the soul of an old school ballplayer and his play has been as consistent as the sunrise. You just expect him to make the right decision and make the right play. And most of the time, he does. You could see why Coach Ruffin McNeill took him to the Conference USA Media Day event. Magazu is a leader on this defense and has been a foundation piece for Brian Mitchell’s rebuild of the once proud Pirate D.

Beefed up and ready to play, Magazu will be counted on to bring together a secondary that will see three new starters in the lineup in 2012 and will most certainly be attacked by opponents. How the unit fares against aerial assaults will largely be on Magazu’s shoulders, so he will be taking practice efforts and game day performances of his new secondary mates quite personally. He will be asked to lead not just the secondary, but the whole unit which seems poised to make noise this year.

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

Damon Magazu in action
(ECU SID photo)

One-on-One with Damon Magazu

Q: You sounded pretty serious at C-USA Media Day. [Is it] safe to say that, as a representative of the team, this group is ready to make some noise this season?

A: Yes, definitely. Right now, we are really focusing on ourselves as a team, on putting in the work each day. We have a lot of great athletes out here and I think that for the defense, last year lit a fire under us. We were not happy about how it went, not getting to a bowl game. We have all — everyone of of us — had a great off-season under Coach C (Jeff Connors) and we are exciting to bring more speed, strength, all of the things we worked on this summer into this season.

Q: You look around the secondary and while there are familiar faces, you are the only one with starter’s experience. What do you see in this group as, say, compared to the trio that just left the program?

A: The thing is that even though these guys didn’t start last year, they all have a lot of playing time, so the experience is there. The most noticeable thing in the secondary is that we have a lot of depth now. Coach (Brian) Mitchell has stressed to us that the biggest thing is for each of us to know what is going on as a unit. Each of us has to know every little in and out of the defense and I think that we have guys who know that.

Q: Turnovers, or lack thereof, a year ago was perhaps the only big mark in an otherwise nice turnaround last season from 2010. While you did your part with 4 INTs, what do you think is the difference between last year and this year in regards to ability to force the turnover? Do you think adjusting to a new scheme had anything to do with it?

A: As a team, we are assignment sound now. We know what our jobs are in this system. So I think that with all of us running to the ball on every play, we will create more opportunities to create turnovers, ripping the ball, the second or third guy in jarring it loose, and having everyone there to jump on a loose ball. That will create a chance to increase the turnovers. I believe that our team speed is noticeably better this season because of what we did this summer with Coach C.

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

A: On and off the field? There are a lot of guys, you know — Jacobi Jenkins, Shane Carden, (Andrew) Bodenheimer, Justin Hardy, they are great guys who I have a lot of respect for. We are like a family, really, and we have all bonded on this team. To name one, I guess I would say Jacobi. They way he works on the field and off the field, he does every thing the right way. I really enjoy putting in the work next to him every day.

Q: What receiver on this offense would you hate to have to cover all night in a game?

A: I wouldn’t want to have to cover any of them all day. But to name one, it would be Justin Hardy. He can run at the same speed all day long — he is always on at full blast. You have to be able to keep up the pace with him at all times. It is good to get a chance to work against a receiver like Justin every day in practice.

Q: Going to throw a few names at you and would like for you to give me a thought on each one: Jenkins? Paulk? Armstrong? Chip Thompson? Lamar Ivey? Justin Venable?

A: Sure, go ahead. [Jenkins:] Speed and accountability; [(Leonard) Paulk:] Strength and power; [(Adonis) Armstrong:] Intelligent, outstanding cover guy; [Chip (Thompson):] Athletic with a big body; [Lamar (Ivey):] Quick and athletic; [(Justin) Venable:] Fast and intelligent.

Q: Do you think this defense can be the kind that changes games, that can carry the offense, if needed, till it gets rolling?

A: I do. As a defense, we strive to control the game, the tempo, the situations. So, yes, I believe we can control tempo out there and get our offense back on the field in good situations so that they can do what they do well, which is score points.

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08/13/2012 02:44 AM


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