March 7, 2009

Spicer excited for senior year

No one word can change things quite like the word "if."

If defensive tackle Averell Spicer had been healthy heading into last season, maybe he'd have played more. If Spicer had cut down on mental errors on the field, maybe he'd kept starting.

And if Spicer had been a senior in 2008, his career would've ended on a sour note.

But it didn't. He's got one more shot.

And Spicer knows exactly what to do with his last year at Troy.

Spicer said he can't pinpoint exactly why he wasn't playing much after starting for USC early in the season, and he doesn't think it was because he was loafing. Still, this relatively old dog plans on learning some new tricks.

"You're always going to be disappointed when you're not playing. I didn't let it phase me. I know that you can only look forward. You can't let the past control you," Spicer said. "I don't think it was anything like (not playing hard), but I'm still going to make some changes. It's my last year.

"I'm going to have to play like a senior. I need to think smart, play smart and all of that."

Spicer will be the only senior on this year's defensive line - a departure from year's past when the line was anchored by vets like Sedrick Ellis, Lawrence Jackson, Fili Moala and Kyle Moore.

The 2009 defensive line will be littered with young players, and Spicer knows he needs to add something to this repertoire.

"I'm the only one. I have to take more of a leadership role. Most of all, I need to lead by example. I don't feel like I'm the guy who always needs to be talking or the guy who is always in someone's ear. I need to lead by example. I need to show the guys what they need to be doing and how they need to do it."

In order to truly lead by example, Spicer said his technique could use a tune up.

"I want to be more technically sound. Last year, I had a problem where I was breaking down too much. I wasn't doing the techniques exactly right," Spicer said. "I just want to make sure I take this off time to embed it in my head. When it comes time for the game, it's just going to be natural."

Unfortunately for Spicer, the surgically repaired left knee that kept him out of spring ball last season has begun acting up recently.

"The knee's been a little sore lately. I've been icing it and putting a lot of treatment into it. I'm just trying to make sure I'm going to be ready and healthy for spring ball," he said. "It's not really affected my get off or anything. During the season, I was feeling pretty good. I played with the brace in the first game, and after that, I just tossed it away.

"It wasn't that big of a deal. I feel like I did rush back just to be ready when the season started. I didn't wait until I felt 100 percent. I just came back so I could do stuff in camp and go straight into the season. This year, I'm going to be smarter."

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