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Jacksonville University CB Guarantees Win in Opener
When your team goes 3-8 the year before, it might be considered a little bold to be making “guaranteed win” comments.
But Jacksonville University cornerback Robson Noel is brash, outspoken, confident and talented.
That led to his declaration on JU’s media day that the Dolphins will open the 2008 season with a victory in their game at Savannah State.
“Last year, we started out a little slow [four losses in the first five games] because we were going through an acclimation period with coach [Kerwin] Bell,” Noel said. “He wasn’t sure how we would react to game situations. Now he knows what we can do.
“We want to get off to a fast start this year. We’ve got a couple big games ahead of us. We’re focused in on Savannah State right now, and we’re looking forward to Appalachian State [the week after], but we’re keeping that in the background.
“We’re thinking about this first game, and we’re going to come out with a win … and I guarantee it.”
It’s not exactly Joe Namath in Super Bowl III, but Noel seems every bit as confident. He’s started 21 consecutive games over the past two seasons and earned second-team all-Pioneer Football League honors a year ago in the secondary, where he split time between safety and cornerback.
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound senior was the fifth defensive back in school history to lead JU in tackles. Noel, who had 80 total tackles in 2007, wants to use the distinction of leading the team in tackles as an example for the younger players on the team. He relishes the notion of being a team leader.
“When we’re not actively on the field, I’m more of a lead-by-example guy,” he said.
“But when we’re on the field, I like to talk, to let everyone know where they’re going, where they need to be. Hey, I like to get a little trash-talking in here and there, but that comes with the competitiveness within me.
“Even when we’re in the weight room, I want to pump guys up and encourage them to get in that extra rep that they couldn’t get in the day before or the week before. I want to be the guy that everyone looks to and says, ‘If you don’t stop, I’m not going to stop. He’s not going to quit in the fourth quarter, so we’re not going to quit.’ “
Noel’s leadership qualities and his play on the field have drawn raves from Bell.
“I’ve told the team a couple times before, if we had 100 of those guys [Noel and senior teammate Geavon Tribble], we could win a bunch of games around here,” Bell said. “Robson does everything you ask of him, on and off the field.
“Last year, he was about the only DB that we had, so we kept moving him to wherever we could get the most out of him. We moved him to free safety and he made a great sacrifice for us to move there, because he’s a natural cornerback. This year, we have the players and the depth that we can keep him at the corner, where we think he’ll have a big year for us.”
That’s where Noel wants to make his point on the field, and he’ll have to back up his claims away from it.
Jacksonville University cornerback guarantees a win in the team’s opener
By Jeff Elliott, The Jacksonville Times-Union