By Otis Kirk
Senior linebacker Dre Greenlaw has 60 tackles this season despite missing two complete games and the vast parts of another pair.
It’s easy to see the difference in Arkansas’ defense when Greenlaw is on the field. In the season opener, Greenlaw had 10 tackles, two tackles for loss and a pair of forced fumbles despite only playing the first quarter.
The former Fayetteville High School standout will be playing his final home game on Saturday. Here’s a Q&A with Greenlaw.
Q — How is the ankle doing?
DG — It’s sore. Luckily, the bye week came just in time. I was able to heal up a little bit. It’s on the right track of heeling up. I’ve just got to keep pushing it and keep playing.
Q — You good to go for the game?
DG — Yeah, I am. Most definitely.
Q — Senior night in your hometown, what’s that going to mean to you?
DG — It’s going to mean a lot. Just the amount of time I’ve spent in Fayetteville, the upcomings and the downfalls and everything that comes with it. But at the end of the day Fayetteville is home. It’s been home for me for a while. I’m blessed to be able to play in front of my friends and family, the love and support I’ve gotten from the University of Arkansas. I’m blessed to be called a Razorback.
Q — What do you think your emotions will be like Saturday night during pregame ceremony?
DG — The emotions are going to be pretty high, man. I’m going to try to hold everything in, but you’ve got to wait until Saturday to see how you’re really going to feel. It’s one of those lifetime type things. You don’t really know how you’re going to react until you’re there.
However it is, healthy or not healthy, I’m going to go out there and play as hard as I can.
Q — Been a tough year, so what would beating LSU mean to you guys?
DG — It would mean so much to get that SEC win versus a quality opponent and get that Boot back and bring it home. Credit to LSU they’re a good opponent. For us to go out there and battle and compete and try to go get that Boot, man, it would be huge.
Q — What’s this week been like for you and Cheyenne O’Grady playing together with each other a long time. Emotions you’ll be feeling?
DG — C.J. has one more year, so he’l be able to come back for another year. But a couple days ago, we talked about, ‘Dang, man, this is it for me. I only have a couple more games.’ … It makes you back to when we first started playing at Ramay. First started playing on the same team. Just meeting him and seeing this big, ol’ dude.
Me and him, we actually both competed at quarterback at Ramay. He definitely won the job. He was a lot better quarterback than me. It’s always been fun competing with him all the way from junior high through high school. He’s got a big future ahead of him. I just want him to know that. He’s got some big things planned for him. I wish him all the luck and I’m going to be there for him all the way.
Q — Lots of ups and downs at UA?
DG — I kind of look at this as a game of life. In life there’s going to be a lot of downfalls. There’s going to be some days that aren’t as good as others. There’s going to be some ups, some days you’re feeling good and you feel like you can beat the world.
But life is going to hit you with obstacles, ups and downs, like a roller coaster. But at the end of the day if you keep moving, you’ll be alright.
I know this season hasn’t been what we planned, but as long as I keep moving and keep being strong and moving forward then I’ll be alright.
Q — How has what you went through personally helped you get through tough season?
DG — If I hadn’t gone through what I’ve been through and got some understanding and knowledge out of that situation, it definitely would have been a tougher ride for me.
Some of the things I’ve learned growing up, impulse control and different things from being in the group home, the shelters. You’ve been around a bunch of different type guys. You kind of get adjusted and you learn to deal with things that are out of your control. Because sometimes when you’re in those situations, a lot of things are out of your control. So with football, a lot of things are going to be out of your control in a game. So you’ve just got to deal with what you can deal with and make the situation as good as possible.
Q — You came in same class what Hjalte Froholdt, what have you thought of the Great Dane?
DG — Hjalte is a guy that you’re going to see in the film room putting in the extra work, being in the treatment room. He understand the game of football. He understands his assignment. Hjalte has just always been one of the guys you can count on. He’s going to do his job, he’s going to be where he’s supposed to be. He’s a great leader. He’s a great captain. To have somebody beside me, a captain like that, he’s the guy you want to look and go, ‘OK, this is how I’ve got to do it. This is how it’s got to be done.’
He just does a really good job of leading. I’m a captain, but at the same time, you’ve got to learn from other people. So I learn from him at the same time. The way he does things, how dedicated he is. He’s the same person every day. You can’t really beat that.
Q — What about the LSU offense?
DG — They got two really good running backs. They’ve got a big offensive line. They can move a little bit. They’ve got some really good receivers. They’ve had a great season so far. Really what I’ve seen from them, they’ve always been the same LSU. They’re not much different in the play-calling and style of the offense that they run. They play hard, so we’ve got to go out there and not match, but be even greater as far as our energy and effort. We’ve got to go out there and lay it on the line.
This is the last home game for the seniors, so we want to leave out of Fayetteville on a good note.
Q — Night game in Fayetteville for once, but gonna be in 40s, 30s, does that favor Arkansas?
DG — Regardless of the temperature, I know the fans are going to show up and show out. We’re going to have their full support. We just want to go out there and make them proud, make the state proud. Regardless of the weather and the temperature, it doesn’t really make any difference. I mean, yeah, it’s going to be cold and we’re going to be feeling it, but at the same time, it’s the last home game. I’m just going to go out and leave it all on the field.
Q — What’s it been like playing with Santos Ramirez?
DG — Santos is a passionate guy. He loves the game of football. He’s definitely one of those guys that practices the way he plays. He practices hard and does some really good things. He’s just a good captain, a great guy to talk to. He’s real passionate and genuine about the game of football. His love for his family, he’s just a great guy.
Q — This is a trophy game along with Texas A&M and Missouri, some people think those might be big rivalry games, some say LSU or Ole Miss, who do you think is Arkansas’ biggest rival?
DG — Oh, it’s definitely LSU. In my eyes, when I hear LSU, it’s time to rock and roll. So it’s going to be a fight. Hopefully, if we go out there and give that 100 percent effort, and have that attitude with it, we’ll come out on top.
Q — What makes LSU biggest rival to you?
DG — From when I was young, Thanksgiving games, all that. You hear Arkansas versus LSU, it doesn’t matter what the record could be. You know it’s going to be a good game regardless. Everybody knows Arkansas is going to go out and give it their all, and you know LSU is going to be bring it.
From being young and watching the games on TV on Thanksgiving (or Friday after Turkey Day), the rivalry, the history between the two. Then the boot, being a trophy game, it’s definitely a rivalry game for us.
Q — What LSU game means to Hogs from Louisiana?
DG — I think it’s huge, man. … To get to play your home state, they’re pumped. I know every single one of those Louisiana guys, they’re going to go out and give it their all. And I’m going to be right beside them the whole way.