Linebacker Spencer Paysinger began his collegiate career at Oregon as a red shirt freshman before helping his Ducks go 12-0 in 2010 on their way to an appearance in the National Championship. In 2011, as an un-drafted free agent, he helped the Giants win a Super Bowl as a rookie. Working his way up has been a pattern.
"I was once the star of my team in college, but coming into the pros, like many other rookies, I was back at the bottom of the barrel [having to earn a spot]. Same thing coming out of high school where I was a star; I came to Oregon looking to make an impact."
Now in his second season with New York, Paysinger is looking to play a major role in Big Blue's defensive scheme. And he believes his success will come in small increments. He says it's always been the "little things" that have brought him this far.
"Make sure you finish your breakfast. It's a line in a Jay-Z song and it's also something my mom always told me growing up. It all goes back to taking care of the little things. Before I get ready to go about my day, first things first, I make sure I finish my breakfast and then I take on the world."
His time at Oregon echoed his upbringing; the program was heavy on detail. "Winning the Day," the creed of Oregon Ducks football, became his mantra, and it was born out of loss. In 2006, Paysinger's first season, the Ducks lost to BYU in Las Vegas Bowl, 38-8.
"The coaches texted all the players to meet […] at some camp in the middle of nowhere. As a team we went to the cafeteria, locked the door and agreed we wouldn't leave until everything was out on the table. There were markers and posters and everybody just wrote down everything they had a problem with within the organization. Guys from each table presented what had been written down and, at the end, the offensive line coach, Steve Greatwood said it all comes down to ‘winning the day.‘"
Ducks head coach Chip Kelly heard those three words, and they've since come to define Oregon football. For Paysinger, they hit close to home.
"Everyday Chip asked us: 'Did you make your bed?' or 'Did you guys touch the 'O' in front of the stadium' before we walked in? [Just like my mom used to say] it's all about the little things. Once we take care of the little things everything else falls into place."
Paysinger didn't get wrapped up in being the hero of the game or making the game-winning play on defense. He kept expectations realistic, stayed focused, and has since seen on slow, steady improvements. As an underclassman he played special teams. By the time he was a senior, he became the Ducks' second leading tackler, averaging 5.7 per game, after Casey Matthews' 6.08.
"I always kept my ego in check wherever I was. I didn't expect anything [beyond the moment at hand]. I was happy to be an extra guy on the scout team with a chance to learn from the veterans. The more I learned the better I got. I kept it simple and allowed my skills to grow [organically]."
Paysinger is now committed to the task at hand: the Giants' future. The team will need to avoid a Super Bowl hangover and enter the 2012 regular season with the same passion that they had during the 2011 playoff run.
"We have a good group of guys that won't allow us to get comfortable. We always have our minds on the next prize; winning a Super Bowl is great, but a better reward is to back it up."
According to Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, Paysinger, along with other second players like Mark Herzlich and Jacquian Williams, will benefit from a year's worth of experience and a complete offseason training regiment. Fewell puts it this way:
"Our linebacking corps a year ago was young and inexperienced. They were talented, but there was an area of concern because there was no OTA's [or] mandatory mini-camp. With a year under their belt, with some playing experience, they look bigger, they look stronger, they look faster [and] they're more knowledgeable."
In fact, Fewell is so pleased with how the linebackers look thus far that he's confident in putting three LBs up front this season, instead of just two and playing three safeties, like he did last season.
From water boy at the age of two, to a 203 lb. wide receiver from Beverly Hills High School, to a 240 lb. linebacker for the reigning Super Bowl champions, Paysinger is on a roll.
Though he didn't see a lot of reps in the 2011 regular season, Paysinger was vital during the Giants' Super Bowl run, recording two tackles in the final game of the season. Paysinger will face stiff competition from the other backers to get snaps on defense, not just special teams.
Part of Paysinger's secret for getting faster and stronger was weeks of intensive yoga practice. He notes vastly improved flexibility, strength and his ability to hold a handstand in the middle of the room for upwards of 30 seconds.
It will take more than a headstand to become a regular defensive player, but given his track record, and with a strong showing in the preseason, look for Paysinger to make his mark on this year's defense.
Fan Hub Action
Michael T Carr May 16th
Another good article, Craig Lowell.
Charlie Lobosco May 1st
This is a very compelling story because Mr. Collins is a very passionate, tough, intelligent, athelete taking on some additional responsibliity to help others as…
Scott Cohen May 1st
Charlie.. very well said.. he does have guts
Scott Cohen May 1st
but it shouldn’t require guts. .like you said it’s nobody’s business but his own
Hisham Zameeth April 30th
best player ever…..
Kareem Musa Mayowa April 29th
We don’t need to be hopeless about the situation bryant his. Because even david villa situation also up to the level of his own to…
Maritess Lim April 28th
I still believe in KOBE’s power…… He is still the best…… He will make it possible no matter what……
mimi_aragon84 April 28th
I feel no pity for him. First of all, it is EAGLE, COLORADO, not Eagleton, secondly he enjoyed success and adulation from fans from 2003…
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