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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 27, Digital 5

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 27, ISSUE 5 28 Holt broke his linebackers into individual periods, Bailey execut- ed his reps with an eye-opening intensity, with discipline, with efficiency. But that wasn't even necessarily what stuck with Holt. It was how Bailey approached the reps that weren't his. The practice looks Bailey gave his teammates were performed with equal pas- sion, no matter the drill. When he was faking it as a tight end/lineman during a cut-block, low-shed defeat drill, Bailey was torpedoing his body at the legs of teammates, forcing them to reach low and really smack his head into the ground or risk getting actually cut-blocked. When he was stand- ing in as an offensive tackle in a blitz-off-the-edge drill, Bailey's kick slide was one an actual OT might have been proud of. When he was a "lineman" again in another drill, Bailey's fire-out pop with his hands sometimes made it rough for the linebackers to actually get their hands into the V of the neck to shed and rip across. Bailey doesn't take it easy going against actual offensive teammates either. Former Boilermaker Ja- son King said on Bailey's first day in pads as a rookie, Bailey hit him as hard as he's ever been hit during an inside run drill. The ferocity of the collision left King "a little confused" as to why a first-year guy was going so hard. King — and everyone else — soon found out: Halfway isn't an option. That approach can frustrate teammates. And it certainly can encourage coaches. "You can just see it, the way he goes about his business," Holt said after the spring. "He's got a light in his eye. He's got something about him. He's got a pulse. He's got it. You know what I'm saying? He passes all those tests as far as the intangibles, is what I'm learning as I get to know him." Having been a linebacker alongside Bailey for two seasons, Danny Ezechukwu already knew it. But it doesn't necessarily make it any easier to go against. "He comes at you so hard," Ezechukwu said. "It's to the point where it gets you upset, riled up and gets your adrenaline running like you're in a real game. That's how good of a look he gives. It only makes us better. I had to realize that when he first got here. At first, it was like, 'Man, Markus, you're just doing the most.' But, nah, he's making us better. Getting a rep against him in an individual drill is something that more guys need to take advantage of. He definitely makes us better." Bailey says he goes so hard for a couple reasons — to prepare his teammates for games is No. 1. But he also takes it as an internal challenge "to see if I'm good enough to do it." Even though he never will play offensive line, he wants to look legit in pass protec- tion. Even though he'll, likely, never play tight end, he wants to blow up rushers like he could. "I just like to push myself as much as I can," he said. "I want to be the best I can be at whatever I can do, to continuously try to improve my skill set as a Tom Campbell Though Bailey can make plays in the passing game, he knows his first responsi- bility is to play physical and stop the run.

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