Little big man on D

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At his weekly press conference Monday,
Urban Meyer was talking about strong safety Ahmad Black and how
strength and conditioning coordinator Mickey Marotti has to stay on top
of him. “He’s 188 pounds, but he’s one of those guys that could be 178
tomorrow if Mickey doesn’t watch that,” Meyer said.

The slightly built Black has a tendency to go light quickly.

Whether
he’s 188 pounds or 178, Black does not look like your prototypical
college strong safety. He’s not real big, not real strong and not very
fast. But the kid is a player. He’s shown us that since he started
making plays last spring. He’s showing us again early this season. I
don’t know how the coaches feel about this, but to me, Black has played
as well or better than anyone else on the defense so far.

He’s
covered receivers, he’s been a sure tackler and he’s made plays. He’s
been steady, reliable – and a big hitter – in what appears to be a
much-improved secondary.

Despite his size, Black never seems to miss a tackle.

“He’s an unbelievable tackler,” outside linebacker Brandon Hicks said. “His form is always perfect.”

A
year ago, Florida coach Urban Meyer wasn’t very impressed with Black, a
true freshman cornerback at the time. Meyer said Black was too slow to
play cornerback at UF. He’s obviously not too slow to play strong
safety. Meyer has a different opinion about Black now.

“He’s a
great tackler, he’s always in football position. That’s why we have
confidence in him,” Meyer said. “He’s built from the right stuff. You
develop trust in people when you know their background, you know where
they’re from, what they’ve done, and their family. Ahmad is all of the
above.”

Black will be facing his toughest test of the season
Saturday in Knoxville. The Vols have a big, strong offensive line and a
star tailback (Arian Foster) who outweighs Black by 27 pounds. As the
strong safety, Black will be playing a pivotal role in run support.

But he doesn’t think he’ll be getting run over by anybody Saturday.

“No,” he said. “I’m pretty tough.”