This Wilson is No Cast Away
In an exclusive interview with BlackAndGold.com, University of Illinois Defensive Coordinator Vic Koenning tells Saints fans why Martez Wilson is the real deal at linebacker.
If you saw the movie ďCast Away,Ē you may remember that Tom Hanks was asleep when he allowed ďWilsonĒ to get away from him. After reading this interview, you might agree that other NFL teams may have also been asleep by letting this Wilson slip by them in the 2011 draft.
B&G.com: Coach Koenning, we know this is a very busy time of the year for all the major colleges across the country. Iím sure itís a challenge recruiting top high school prospects for the Fighting Illiniís program.
Coach Koenning: Yes it is, but itís my pleasure to speak with you.
B&G.com: In the 2011 draft, it seemed like all the talk about the top prospect at linebacker was Von Miller, and not so much about Martez Wilson.
Coach Koenning: Yes. Von Miller is, without question, a very good player. He will probably do well in the NFL. But if youíre asking me about my guy (Martez Wilson), I believe heís arguably a top prospect as well. Note: Many donít know that Martezí time in the 40 yd. dash (at the NFL combine) was slightly better than Vonís. And to think about Martezí size (250 lbs.), he will be an absolute force to be reckoned with on the field.
Link: 2011 NFL Combine: Von Miller, Martez Wilson Impress In LB Workouts - Buffalo Rumblings
B&G.com: What is the main leadership trait that Martez brings to the Saints?
Coach Koenning: Martez walks-the-talk. He is not only gifted as an athlete, but he also puts the time in at practice & video study. He is fully dedicated in developing into the best football player he can be.
Draft Prospect video:
B&G.com: How will Martez take advantage of this opportunity to play in the NFL?
Coach Koenning: The straight truth is that it remains to be seen. But based on what he has done thus far, he will make an impact in the NFL. When head coach Ron Zook took over the Fighting Illini program last season, he installed a totally new approach. Martez was learning the system for the first time, and did extremely well. That shows he learns fast, and is committed to becoming even better. He is sound fundamentally, and also shows unusual explosiveness as a hitter. His tackles have often brought opposing players to their knees, and they donít like to encounter him after that.
B&G.com: What type of player will he be on the field?
Coach Koenning: He will be dedicated, and hard-working. If I had to compare him with another in the NFL, his body type is like Demarcus Ware. He has a good understanding of defensive schemes. He knows how to get off blocks, use effective footwork, and make the correct reads in order to be effective in coverage. Martez is a downhill, attack the ball type of player.
B&G.com: What was the most memorable performance youíve seen Martez turn in on the field?
Coach Koenning: Several games come to mind, and I could go on and on. But for one, Martez was the only defensive player that could keep up with Ohio Stateís talented quarterback, Terrelle Pryor. Heís very fast, but Martez was able to run him down. Martez also showed his versatility in a game vs. Northwestern. The quarterback was running an option, and Martez not only forced him to make a pitch to the trailing running back, but he then shifted his pursuit and tackled the runner after the pitch was made. If you can imagine what it would take to do that, you will then appreciate what a gifted and special defender Martez really is.
B&G.com: How durable will Martez be in the NFL?
Coach Koenning: He sustained a neck injury two years ago, but is now healed. He takes care of his body with strength and endurance development. He plays hard and is very athletic. He will, barring some unforeseen freakish injury, be very durable in the NFL.
B&G.com: Is Martez aware of Gregg Williamsí reputation as a defensive coordinator?
Coach Koenning: If heís not, he will be soon! (laughter) Good Lord, there is no player on our team who is more dedicated to preparing mentally and physically than Martez. We conduct rigorous workouts, such as the Packer drill (which is a series of down, up and running in place in rapid succession).
B&G.com: Saints players have a legacy of strong community involvement. How well will Martez fit in as a participant in community outreach?
Coach Koenning: Heís a fine young man. All of our players at the University of Illinois were encouraged to get involved in the community. Iím sure Martez will carry on in similar fashion in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast.
B&G.com: What type of player is Martez in the locker room?
Coach Koenning: Heís a ďGym rat;Ē an absolute workout freak! There are times we had to run him out of the weight room. As far as motivating others on the team, Martez and Corey (Liuget) were verbal when they needed to be.
B&G.com: To the best of your knowledge, is Martez married or in a serious relationship?
Coach Koenning: No.
B&G.com: Two years from now, what will we be saying about Martez Wilson?
Coach Koenning: Martez will be the cornerstone of the Saintsí defense. Iíll be disappointed if he isnít.
B&G.com: Coach, we again thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to give us your perspective on Martez Wilson. On behalf of the Who Dat Nation and Saints fans everywhere, we appreciate your comments. All the best to you and the Fighting Illini in 2011.
Coach Koenning: Youíre welcome. All the best for the Saints this season.
Thats what I like to hear.
Great stuff Stealth!
I like that in the video he said he was gonna incorporate some of the drills he hadn't seen before. Looking to get better.
The Gym Rat line concerns me a little. Hate the workout warrior label. They don't seem to often translate that onto the field.
Don't think that will be a problem with Wilson.
Thank You O Stealthy One!
These articles are the best reading of the year on here. Great Job!!!
Remember this scene from Cast Away... "Wilson, I'm sorry!" ?
I hope that 31 other teams will be crying in regret... that they passed on the best linebacker in the 2011 draft.
You go Stealth, Great Interview
Great Job Stealth. You always do good work.
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