While the 2009 season ended with an ACC championship, Dominique Reese says it was the hardest season he’s had in four years at Georgia Tech.
Nagging injuries to his shoulder hampered him throughout the season. He would try to hurry back, but couldn’t play like he wanted to. The Vanderbilt game may have been his lowest point, when he was beaten a few times, left laying on the ground, slapping the turf in frustration.
But Reese says he’s healthy and ready to go in this, his fifth and final season at Tech.
He took time on Wednesday to sit down with the media and talk about a few topics. Questions and answers have been paraphrased.
Can you believe this is your last year?
It’s gone by fast.
Seeing the incoming freshmen, I remember when I did that give years ago.
You came as a quarterback, but moved to cornerback and then safety. This year you are back to cornerback. Do you have a preference?
Just being on the field really. I just want to play.
How was the switch with you and Jerrard Tarrant in the spring, with Tarrant moving from corner to safety and you the other way?
Switch is working out well. Jerrard looks comfortable. I felt comfortable at corner.
Is this the deepest secondary Tech has had since you’ve been here?
Definitely the deepest secondary. We’re going to miss Morgan [Burnett]. He’s going to get his six picks.
But the guys listed at third string, they could start.
How are the injuries?
I definitely feel like I’m 100 percent…finally.
The hardest part was trying to fight through the injuries, seeing my teammates out there without being able to help.
As a senior, are you being more of a leader?
I’m just playing my role. Brad’s the real senior leader. Im just trying to do my role.
Last year, we knew who..Derrick [Morgan], Brad, Morgan.
We’ve got the same group of guys playing with each other for three years now. All you have to do is do your job.
We might not be ranked high going into this year. We’ve been playing together so long, we know what we can do.
Have you seen the all-ACC team?
I saw Sean Bedford was on it.
Does that bother you that more Tech players weren’t on it?
I’m self-motivated so I don’t pay attention to the media, not to knock you guys. All we can do is go out there and play. It’ll take care of itself at the end of the season.
Have you been watching film of the Pittsburgh Steelers (and their 3-4 defense)?
Talked to D-Rich [Darryl Richard] and Gary Guyton [of the New England Patriots], we’re running someof the same stuff they are doing.
They were trying to prep me on some of the defense before coach Groh got here.
Which receivers impressed you in the spring?
Those DBs, they better get out of their backpedal fast with Stephen Hill. He’s a blazer. TMel (Tyler Melton) will catch anything. This year they are really going to have cover everybody.
What about the secondary all having the same coach?
I’m really excited about that. Last year we were split up, not knocking last year. But a couple of times last year we were not on the same page.
I like Coach Kelly. Coach Kelly expects a lot. If you don’t get it, you won’t play.
What have you learned from the coaches that have been here?
I’m glad that coach Gailey was here when I first got here. He focused on everybody doing things the right way. Kind of a father off the field.
Coach Johnson has an open-door policy, we can express our feelings and express what was wrong. Coach Johnson talks to everybody. It’s easy to talk to him.
Coach Johnson has said many times that one of the reasons he hired coach Groh was that he knows the defense and can make fixes if people find a weakness. Many of the guys have said last year the defense would change from week to week and within the game. How frustrating was it?
It was kind of difficult. We would change defenses from week to week to stop what our opponents were doing instead of what we would do best. That’s our main goal going into this year, limit points and limit big plays.
Coach Groh has said he likes to coach from the field because he can look the players in the eye. How will that be?
Right when we come off the field we can go talk to him. He can get us in a huddle and we can go to the chalkboard and draw it up.
Did he encourage that during the spring scrimmages? For y’all to tell him what was working?
During the spring he wanted us to know the defense in and out so we could tell him what was going right.
Coach Groh comes across as very energetic, do y’all like that?
Coach Groh is like [former] coach Tenuta on the field. The difference is you can talk to him. I was scared to talk to coach Tenuta, maybe because I was young.
You take after your coach. If your coach is firey you are going to be firey.
What are your goals for August?
I just want us to improve as a defense. I know the offense is going to do what it can do. I feel like if we do how we’re coached to do we can stop teams.
How have the young cornerbacks looked?
I worked out with Louis [Young] and Ryan [Ayers]. We’re working out with them they so won’t be behind. Ryan has good footwork, he’s natural. Louis is a hard-worker.
How’s Taylor looked?
Have you seen Cooper? Cooper’s 225. He’s huge. He still has that speed. I think we’re going to see Cooper used a lot. You could see him in the box. He’s the size of a LB and can run like a deer. I’m excited to see him.