It’s difficult not to be impressed by the speed and the quick rip of Albert Presley to beat the offensive lineman assigned to take him on in one-on-one drills. That’s even more the case when you see him consistently pressuring the quarterback in a scrimmage.
What proves more challenging is reconciling the soft-spoken voice and nature of Presley, a junior college transfer from Dean College in Boston.
“All my life I’ve been taught to be humble and I’ve never been super outspoken. If I were a leader, I’d be someone that you see instead of someone you hear,” the Marietta, Ga., native said after Tuesday’s spring practice. “Some people might need a mean streak, but I just need to have fun and I like to play the game.”
The rest of it all appears to flow naturally for Presley, who is 6-foot-2, 220 pounds and has been clocked at 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
There are times when he blows by offensive linemen on his way to making the quarterback’s practice session a bit uncomfortable.
“I definitely think my strength is speed rushing off the edge, because I’m quicker than most [linemen] because I’m smaller than most [linemen],” he said. “I like to go inside; I like to play with the lineman’s head a little bit.”
He has a sense of self-awareness regarding his play and potential. He knows that speed and inside moves are an advantage and so do his coaches.
“It’s Division I, so people catch on to what you’re doing,” Presley said.
Associate head coach/defensive coordinator Chuck Amato agreed.
“The first time they watch tape and they see that inside move, they’ll send him all the way down to the other tackle,” Amato said.
The willingness to learn comes to the forefront when speaking with Presley.
“I’m just trying to get better, get better at the bull rush,” he said. “We got good coaches teaching us so I’m going to get better at everything.”
Initially recruited by former coach Rob Ianello, Presley was recruited by some bigger schools, but they wanted him to move to linebacker.
“Of all the schools I looked at, I wanted to come here because they wanted me to play what I wanted to play,” he said.
To justify that, he’s going to have to continue to improve. Amato doesn’t seem to appreciate one-note players, including defensive linemen.
“They have to have [a move] they can count on and one they can counter and stunts will do the rest of it,” he said.
Presley has shown his talent in practices but is not satisfied.
“I believe I have raw talent,” he said. “I believe that. I also believe I have a long way to go and a lot of things to improve in, so I just have to work and improve that.”
Defense was one of many problems for the Zips, so that’s something the coaches want to hear from those new to the program.
“He’s got to be disciplined, but he does have the ability. That’s what we’re looking for,” Amato said.
George M. Thomas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Zips blog at https://ohio.com/zips. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/GeorgeThomasABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.