Sprintin’ Quentin queues up interceptions

Colin Becht

As a linebacker and a defensive captain, senior Quentin Davie is a lot like the quarterback of the defense. It’s a role that should come naturally to him considering he played quarterback in high school.

With the way Davie has picked off passes recently – he has three in the Wildcats’ past two games – he still seems capable of accessing the mind of a quarterback.

“As far as instincts, whether the quarterback’s going to flush this way or flush some way, it helps me out,” Davie said of the effect of his past playing time at quarterback.

Defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz said Davie, like others, can use what he learned under center to read offenses.

“Defensive players that have been quarterbacks, just as a general rule, have a little better understanding of what offenses are thinking,” defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz said.

Davie is drawing the attention of more than just Northwestern’s upcoming opponents, but the entire Big Ten conference. He was named this week’s Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in the Cats’ 30-13 win over Rice on Saturday.

Davie had a game-high 10 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for a loss. He also added to the Cats’ point total, scoring the first touchdown of the game on an 11-yard interception return.

“I’m better in my drops,” Davie said. “I credit that to (Linebackers) Coach (Randy) Bates..”

Coach Pat Fitzgerald agreed that Davie’s read on the quarterback when dropping into coverage has put him “right where he’s supposed to be.”

Beyond anything he does himself, Davie said the intense pressure the defensive line has put on quarterbacks has helped lead to his plethora of picks.

“He (the opposing quarterback) is having to make some quick decisions,” Davie said. “I’m 6’4″ so I know he sees me.”

Davie is NU’s first Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week since Kevin Mims won the honor on Nov. 24, 2008.

“It means a lot to me, but obviously I want to keep consistently getting better and better,” Davie said. “When I heard it, it was good but the next day I got over it.”

Davie said he wants to one-up himself by earning the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year award. That’ll require some regularity in his performance.

“In the past, I haven’t been that consistent. I would be here one game, and then kind of go down another game,” Davie said. “So I want to consistently get better. By the time we get to Big Ten play, I want to be playing at my best.”

The ability to catch the ball shouldn’t be an issue for a player who, in addition to quarterback and linebacker, played receiver in high school. Several schools recruited Davie to play receiver, which didn’t catch his interest.

“I didn’t want to depend on anyone to give me the ball and I knew I wasn’t as fast as all the receivers out there today, ” Davie said.

Instead Davie chose NU and linebacker, beefing up from 205 to 230 pounds, Fitzgerald said.

With his recent string of interceptions, Davie is putting past him a running joke between him and Fitzgerald.

“I make fun of him for the (passes) he dropped just because I had two (interceptions) in my career and dropped about 12 so I can’t forget those drops,” Fitzgerald said. “What goes around comes around.”

Davie said jokingly that Fitzgerald’s teasing has motivated him to not drop any passes.

“That’s why I just try to catch them from now on, and he won’t be able to kid me,” he said.

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