Thursday, August 9, 2012

Stormin' Norman leading by example

With all the talk this week about Coach Richt pushing starters to take special teams duties...
Richt also reiterated that veterans and starters are expected to contribute on special teams.
“In the past we’d say: If your heart’s not in it, don’t get on the team,” Richt said. “You want guys whose heart’s in it. But this year, we’re saying: You change your heart. If you don’t want to be on the special team, you change your heart.”
One example: Star linebacker Jarvis Jones is working on the punt unit.
“A lot of guys, especially older guys, want to get put in those positions,” Jones said. “Because they know to win the big games we need special teams.”
...what about a special teamer that might take a starting defensive spot? Connor Norman was an all-star last year on special teams. In part thanks to a suspicious brownie on spring break, he might get some playing time at safety next month.
Norman’s grasp of the playbook has impressed starting safety Shawn Williams. Last year, Williams had to learn almost the entire defensive playbook as he bounced from safety to cornerback and even to linebacker.
“He knows his stuff,” Williams said. “Connor will talk a little bit, but he’s mostly on a serious note. He understands that the more valuable you are, the more you know out there, the more you can contribute. I’m glad to have him on my team.”
Norman made five tackles and intercepted a pass in the spring G-Day game. Norman’s background as a special teams enforcer gives him a knack for making big hits, which has impressed Smith.
“He’s kind of laid-back and quiet,” Smith said. “But when he makes a play, you’lll really see the excitement come out of him. He’s a good player and a good person and I definitely like him as one of my teammates. He doesn’t talk too much, but he’ll talk a little out there on the field when he makes a play. He can get excited.”
I doubt All-American Rambo would lose much playing time to Norman. But it's nice to see more than cliches being thrown the potential replacement's way. Norman leads example and lets the results speak for themselves.

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