It’s easy to get caught up in the struggles that Winston Guy has had since decommitting from Arkansas and signing with the Cats as one of the top prospects in the state. From a physical standpoint, the former Lexington Catholic star has all the tools to make it in not only the SEC, but also the NFL. However, the mental side of the game has always been Guy’s Achilles heel. Whether it’s blown coverages or missed tackles, Guy has never been able to marry his god given ability with any outright understanding of the defensive game. I think that’s all about to change, though.
In Rick Minter’s new 3-4 scheme, Guy should experience a Renaissance of the type of play that made him such a highly sought after commodity coming out of high school. His strengths lie in using his speed to get to the ball and as an outside linebacker in the 3-4 instead of a safety, Guy will be able to focus on what makes him such a special player without exposing himself in coverage. “As I look at it, I think it will benefit me in the long run,” Guy said of his position change. “It makes me work to my strengths. I’m more of a downhill player… and I think Coach Minter has put me in the best position possible to help out myself and the team.” Despite the fact that he is rather undersized for his new linebacker position, Guy has the speed and the instincts to make an impact at his new position and give the Cats one of the most athletic linebacking corps in the SEC.
In addition to his new position, Guy has made himself a more vocal leader, especially through his advocacy of Thursday night running sessions that strength and conditioning coach, Rock Oliver, refers to as ‘Thursday Night Lights’. Guy credits the sessions with boosting team cohesiveness and bringing together both defensive and offensive players in one work environment. As a member of an experienced defense, Guy says that it’ll be up to many different players to step up and take charge, and he pledges to be one of the players who does so.
As long as this new attitude carries through the season, look for Guy to be the key player on a defense that should be much improved from last season. His performance will be even more important than that of Danny Trevathan, the undisputed best defensive player, because the coaches of the SEC aren’t expecting the same stellar performance from Guy. If Trevathan matches his production from last year and Guy can produce in his new role, then this Cats defense will be one to be reckoned with in the 2011 season.
After wisely eschewing draft entry last season, let’s hope that this year turns into a breakout campaign for Guy and nets him some real attention from the league. He’s got the body, now he just has to put his mind to it.