In an effort to learn more about the 2011 Buffalo Bills draft class members, Buffalobills.com has launched a new Q&A feature called FOUR DOWNS …
Today, Alabama play-by-play radio announcer Eli Gold shares his recollections on Marcell Dareus' career at Alabama. Gold has been the voice of Alabama football since 1988. Gold describes Dareus as just a genuinely nice kid off the field. On the field, Gold says Dareus is one of the most agile and powerful athletes he has ever seen.
Gold shares more impressions of Dareus in this edition of FOUR DOWNS …
Describe Marcell Dareus in 30 seconds or less …
Marcell Dareus is just a stud. There is no two ways about it. He is big, he is mobile, and he is aggressive. He is remarkably agile for a big man. He is explosive. And he is just a nice young man on top of all of that. Everything you would expect of a player picked in the top three selections in the NFL draft, Marcell is all of those.
What is Dareus' best quality as a football player?
I do not know if I can necessarily limit that to just one quality. Obviously, his size. His explosiveness. His ability to play different positions along the defensive front and in different defensive schemes. There is no way to limit my answer to just one thing.
If I had to say one thing, I would probably say his power and his pass rushing ability. Once again, those are two things.
What is the most memorable moment in Dareus' college career?
When he picked off that football in the BCS National Championship game against Texas (January 7, 2010) just before the half. He started running it back for a touchdown and then all of the sudden standing there was a Texas Longhorn defender and Marcell, at all 6-foot-5, 310 pounds or whatever he was on that day, planted his leg did a complete pirouette to get around this man and score a touchdown en route to becoming the defensive MVP of the ball game. You just do not expect that from guys that size. And that play certainly went a long way to 'Bama winning the national title.
What is the biggest change you noticed in Dareus from the time he entered school to now?
The Alabama approach is as close to an NFL approach as you are going to get because of Nick Saban's background in the NFL and having learned from Bill Belichick when Nick was his defensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns. Even though he has a lot of collegiate experience, the Nick Saban program is run like an NFL program. It is like anything else, the defensive playbook is thick. It takes everyone a while to get comfortable and learn it and be able to react instinctively without having to think about it. It sounds silly, but Marcell just got better. He got more confident.
As a sophomore, in my mind, he was already the best defensive end on the ball club. As a junior he was all-everything. So I guess it was just getting more comfortable with the system, with the terminology, with the phrasing.
And when you come out of Huffman High School, as fine of a high school program that is, you're lining up against other kids. We all know the transition from high school to college is huge. You're going against young men, not kids. So I think it just took him some time, like anybody, to get comfortable with it. But he got comfortable in a hurry that is for darn sure.
What will Dareus bring to the Buffalo Bills football team?
I must admit, I do not know all about your roster so I'm coming at it blindly … But I will say this guy will be one of the best defensive ends (or however the coach is going to use him) around.
He has the dedication to the game. He wants to do the very best all the time. His motor never stops running. When he is out there for games or when he is on the practice field, he is going to give you the very best.
What will Dareus contribute to the Buffalo community?
He is a wonderful young man. I was with him on Thursday night at a function in Birmingham (Crimson Caravan Banquet on Thursday, May 5th). Nick Saban was the guest speaker and I was the master of ceremonies. Demeco Ryans (former Alabama and current Houston Texans LB) was one of the guys who was supposed to be there. Demeco's schedule got messed up so he could not attend. Someone said Marcell was in town and got a hold of him. He showed up virtually unannounced.
There was a table set-up at this function asking guests if they had an extra dollar or something to donate for disaster relief. This was a banquet for 1,100 people. Marcell said he was going to stay after the banquet and sign autographs as long as people were putting money in the bucket.
He is just a genuinely nice young man. All the money raised was donated to the Red Cross or the University of Alabama, who established a foundation called the UA Acts of Kindness Foundation to support victims of the tornado disaster.
What is Dareus' best quality off the field?
I would lie if I said we spent a lot of time off the field with him. I would see him on the practice field often. I would see him at events but that is about it.
From what I heard, it would have to be his willingness to help people. They would have appearances at schools and stuff like that and he would always be one of those who would volunteer. He is a very pleasant guy. We would have him on occasion on our postgame show and we would talk to him after a big performance. He was always kind and very respectful. He is also very big into family, I know.
At the event last week, I joked with him and said they only have two seasons up there in Buffalo 'winter and July 4th.'
He replied 'I can play when it's hot, I can play in the cold. These people are going to find out that when they get Marcell they are going to get a full-time commitment.'
He is just a nice kid. He added 'I'm going to show Buffalo that they drafted the right guy.'