On pre-season media day, we had the pleasure of talking with Bud Noel and asked him several questions about this year, and specifically what game he was looking forward to. He quickly blurted out "Florida State", and gave a Bud-like smirk with his answer. This should come as no surprise to anybody really, because he was once committed to FSU, much like another Pahokee native was committed to Pittsburgh before he switched to Wake Forest.
As Bud has been huge for the Wake Forest secondary so far this year, let's take a look back on this interview (which I got typed up, but never published for some unknown reason, even to myself). Enjoy! It was a pleasure talking to Bud, and I hope to catch up with him at some point in the next couple of weeks to do a follow-up/mid-season review on the football season.
Today will be known as Bud Wednesday in honor of his play last weekend, and upcoming game against the school he was once committed to.
BSD : Where did the nickname "Bud" come from?
Noel: I had plenty of nicknames growing up. From Merrill they used to call me "Lil" Rill, because I was named after my dad. Then I had Antonio, which is my middle name, but that didn't fit, so they started calling me Bud and that was right. My granddad actually first gave me that name.
BSD: What prompted your de-commitment from FSU to come to Wake Forest?
Noel: I had a really good connection with the guys here when I visited. I had a good connection with FSU guys, but I was always a guy that wanted to beat the best, so I came to a small school to beat the best of the best. It feels good to overcome and get a shot at the king.
BSD: What have you learned from Alphonso Smith and the other guys on the team so far?
Noel: Staying focused is the biggest thing. Don't let something like a guy making a catch throw you off of your game. That's the key to playing cornerback, just forget about it and think about the next play.
BSD: Talk about how this year is different than last year in terms of intensity and mindset going into the season?
Noel: Nobody wants to be home watching everybody else playing in a bowl game. We aren't going to repeat last year, and it's like a big family. Everybody is getting along with each other and pushing each other to be the best this year. We're just trying to make our fans proud.
BSD: How do you adjust your gameplan around the size of the receiver, given your lack of size?
Noel: Going up against a bigger guy I just take my quickness and use it to my advantage. I can get inside of a big guy easier than a smaller receiver. The other thing is knowing how to use my technique that the coaching staff is teaching me. I have to get my hands on the ball, or knock down their hands when the ball is in the air. It's easier to read a big guy than a small guy because of the size of their tells.
BSD: How has the team looked in practice?
Noel: The team looks completely different. There's trash-talking, but it's all love off the field. Sometimes we forget we're on the same team because of how hard we go at it on the field. Everybody is trying to be the best out there and it makes everybody else work harder too.
BSD: How is the 3-4 going to help the defense this year?
Noel: It's going to help us a lot because we are running a lot of stunts and other teams aren't going to be able to pick up on it. Guys are flying from everywhere and we all know our assignments on defense as well. We are all where we are supposed to be, and that's going to help us a lot since we aren't out on an island by ourselves. We won't have to guard the receiver for so long since we are getting more pressure on the QB.
BSD: What game is circled on the schedule for you?Noel: (chuckles) Florida State. Yes sir, it is the biggest game of my life. I want to prove myself, that's why I came here, to prove myself to the best of the best.
BSD: Who do you model your game after?
Noel: I change it up a lot (laughs). Everybody says that I play like Alphonso, but I'm a more physical CB than he is. I jam a lot, like to get my hands on the receiver. I like Deion a lot. I watch his games and film before every practice and game to hype myself up.
It's become pretty clear that Bud has more than lived up to his pre-season hype so far, and he is one of many noticing that Wake Forest is trying to return to the 2006 form:
"Black is back," Noel said after Saturday's 27-19 victory at Boston College improved the Deacons' record to 3-1 overall and 2-0 in conference play.
By about 3:30 on Saturday afternoon, we should have an answer to that, and I wouldn't be surprised at all if Bud has a huge say in why that may come true.