Coach Billy Rolle Miami, Northwestern Sr. High, on Steelers Draft Pick Sean Spence
Coach Billy Rolle:
You’ve had a number of terrific college and NFL athletes come through your program. Who are some of the more memorable players you’ve worked with, and what made them so?
Vernon Carey (Miami Dolphins), Antonio Bryant (Dallas Cowboys/Cincinnati Bengals), Torrie Cox (Tampa Bay) . First off all of these players were in our Medical Magnet Program during their High school days. All hard workers on and off the field and possessed great leadership qualities.
What has made that program so successful?
Basically the pride and passion that our community has for our football program along with generations after generations of student-athletes that has passed through Miami Northwestern. And lastly the overwhelming number of student-athletes that earn academic and athletic scholarships. No matter what the sport is.
You coached Steelers’ third round pick Sean Spence in high school. What stood out most to you about him during his time there?
That Sean was a natural-born leader, an excellent role-model for his teammates and peers.
What other positions did you consider him for before you settled him in at linebacker – and why linebacker, ultimately?
In ever considered him for any other position besides linebacker . But he did play major roles in our special-teams. Sean could play all the linebacker positions and led the team in tackles the two previous years.
He’s been touted as a leader by scouts – what examples of his leadership do you remember – how did he conduct himself on the field with other players?
Going into his senior campaign, Sean along with our quarterback Jacory Harris (UM) and DT Marcus Forston (UM) led the team through summer drills without any coaches around. He conducted himself real well, you could always see him counting the players to make sure we had enough or simply getting in someone’s face when he had to . I called him “Coach Spence” ! (smiling)
What did you feel he needed to adjust to most at the college level – and did you follow him and his career at Miami to see how he did so?
What all high school kids need and that’s proper weight training. In college I watched him go from 205 to about 225 in muscle alone.
The obvious question some had on him is his size. How has he made size a non-issue in the past and do you think it becomes an issue for him in the NFL? Why/why not?
His quickness and instinct is second to none, he’s always had a nose for the football! I don’t think it will be a major issue but the NFL is the NFL.
When the Steelers spoke with you about Sean Spence, what did see were their biggest concerns they asked you to address, and how were you able to do so?
Again it was mainly about how physical he could get. Which is no problem if he’s given the right and best program to train!
Describe his coverage skills – can he help neutralize guys like Ray Rice or does he still need work in coverage?
Sean has the ability to cover any back. His cat like quickness gives him the ability to get under a tight end as well as to close on any back.
Some thought he may be able to play safety at the NFL level. Any thoughts on this?
Sean is capable of playing safety if he had to, however he is a bona fide LINEBACKER.
Any other thoughts for readers?
Coach Billy Rolle and the staff along with the Miami Northwestern Community Sr. High and Family would like to wish Sean and all of his former high school teammates Jacory Harris , Marcus Forston, Tommy Streeter, Lavonte David, Brandon Washington, Aldarius Johnson, Terrell Killing and Brandon Drayton good luck in the NFL and to represent the Bull Family with “BULL PRIDE” !