September 21, 2010

Gee Wins Starting Safety Job After Earning Coaching Staff’s Trust

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It’s not too often that a true freshman is impressive enough early on to win a starting spot on a collegiate football team from game one, but that is precisely what freshman safety Brian Gee has done. Gee, who hails from Atlanta, Ga., came to the team with much promise, but it wasn’t clear from the start of training camp that he would be one of the two starting safeties.“He kept shining, kept making plays, became more and more trustworthy as camp wore on. By the end of camp we knew he was going to be our guy,” said head coach Kent Austin.Gee was spot on when explaining why it was that he thought the coaching staff selected him to be a starter. “They say that they play the people that they trust. I must be someone that they trust,” he said.Players and coaches alike lauded Gee’s confidence and preparation, which seem to have been key for garnering that trust.Senior cornerback Rashad Campbell, who also had what it took to break into the starting lineup as a freshman recognized the young safety’s maturity. “Brian is a very confident young man. … He has a potent combination of confidence and natural ability,” Campbell said. “He’s not your typical freshman. He’s not timid at all on the field,” said senior cornerback Emani Fenton.“He’s mature beyond his years. He doesn’t flinch out there. He’s met every challenge. He’s been coached very well. He’s got the right makeup to contribute right away,” Austin said. Defensive coordinator Ron McCrone echoed Austin’s sentiments about how well-coached he had been in high school. “We felt good about him. He has the confidence to be out there,” McCrone said.Gee acknowledged the role his high school football playing days have played in preparing him for the college game. “My high school played at a pretty competitive level. It prepared me pretty well,” he said. In fact, Gee was a two-time defensive MVP for a team that reached the Georgia state quarterfinals his senior year and finished ranked third overall.He also credited his coaches and his teammates for helping to bring him along. “I try to learn and apply what coach Young and coach McCrone tell me, as well as what I learn from the older guys,” he said.These comments are an indication of another prominent feature of Gee, which other players and coaches cited as integral to his success on the field — his desire to learn. Both Fenton and coach McCrone characterized Gee as a student of the game. “It’s impressive how he’s always studying, trying to learn as much as he can,” Fenton said. “He showed a command of our schemes very early on,” Campbell added.Watching film is a major part of the preparation that Gee undergoes to be prepared for the game. Coach McCrone has noticed that he spends a lot of time watching video on his own. Gee himself talked about how critical watching game footage is for making him a better player on the field. It’s not just about the physical aspect of the game. Gee added that being smart is just as important — it allows you to be one step ahead. He also stated that it’s very important to know your opponent, and with film it’s like you’re right there in the huddle with the other team.Of course, you can do all the preparation you want, but ultimately it comes down to execution. And Gee certainly does execute. “He makes great decisions on the field,” Austin said. He’s got great vision and he’s quick on the field, he went on to say. “He knows where he needs to be on the field,” said Fenton noting how he flies around the field.Gee’s preparation and execution on the field showed during Saturday’s game at Wagner. In his first college game he had a team high 12 tackles. In testament to Gee’s work ethic and mentality, coach Austin was quick to note that he had a good game Saturday. “… He still has a desire to get better. He’s not satisfied. He wants to continue to get better as the season goes on.”

Original Author: Brian Bencomo