Sept. 9, 2001
ATLANTA – Nothing breeds success like experience, just ask Georgia Tech’s Jeremy Muyres.
A key part of the Yellow Jackets’ maturing and continuously improving defensive group has been the junior free safety from Stone Mountain, Ga. He was one member of a talented group of true freshmen that made up a large part of the 1999 Georgia Tech defense that struggled at times as the group showed its youth and inexperience throughout the season. Now two years older and much wiser, the Yellow Jacket juniors on defense will get a chance to see how far they’ve come this week when Georgia Tech travels to Tallahassee, Fla., to face Florida State in a nationally-televised game on ESPN beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Much of the same Tech defensive unit from two years ago that allowed an average 30 points a game and improved that number to 19 a game in 2000 is allowing just seven per contest through three games in 2001. Muyres says that continuity has benefited the Yellow Jackets.
“It’s nice that those of us that were freshmen two years ago are still playing together on defense,” said Muyres. “We’ve been playing together for so long now that we really play for everybody and not just for ourselves. I think what makes our defense so good is that we all play for each other, and we worry about not letting everybody else down.”
Muyres has certainly not let anyone down over his career on the Flats. He has played in every Georgia Tech game since he arrived on campus in the fall of 1999 and started every game in 2000, while assuming starting duties in each of the first three games this season. Currently Muyres ranks fifth on the team with 11 tackles this season, and he has 123 in his career. His 43 tackles and four interceptions in 2000 were good enough to earn him second-team All-ACC honors as a sophomore.
With all of the experienced he has gained in just over two years at Georgia Tech, Muyres feels that being able to get so much time on the field as a young player has benefited his career the most.
“What’s really helped me grow as a player has been the experience,” said Muyres. “Just being out on the field and realizing what’s going on and what’s happening. You learn a lot as every day and every week goes by. You learn something new all the time and with all of that built up, it’s helped me the most. The experience has been my biggest improvement.”
Improvement has been the theme for the Tech defense over the last couple of years, and now the defense is being praised as a key part of the team’s success. While the defense has allowed opponents an average of just 220.3 yards of total offense per contest this season, Muyres knows that this week’s opponent, Florida State, will provide more offensive weapons than the Yellow Jackets have seen so far this year.
“It will be nice to take a step up in competition level this week,” said Muyres. “As a competitor you always want to play against the best. It’s going to be an exciting week and we’re really looking forward to being on the field the whole time and giving it everything we’ve got.”
While the Yellow Jackets will keep the same game week schedule they normally have, Muyres says that it is a relief to have the FSU game at hand and be able to put all of the team’s attention toward the Seminoles.
“It really is a relief to be able to think about Florida State now,” said Muyres. “Throughout the first couple of games, we had to concentrate on those games and you always knew that Florida State was coming up, but you had to concentrate on the game at hand. It’s a huge game and it’s one that can help decide how our season is going to go. It’s always good to play the best team out there, and it’s always a fun game to play.”
While his freshmen and sophomore seasons proved to be learning experiences for Muyres, he feels that with a great deal of playing time under his belt he is now able to enjoy his time on the field even more than ever.
“It’s a lot more fun now. With all of the experience that you have, you know more about what you’re doing and you feel more confident out there. I think that helps a tremendous amount.”
As the defense continues to mature and gain confidence in 2001, it looks as though plenty of fun and good times are in store for Jeremy Muyres and his Yellow Jacket teammates.