UNLV senior defensive back Sidney Hodge doesn’t want to hear a thing about losing

Posted: September 7, 2013 in NCAAF
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By W.G. Ramirez

Sure, nobody likes to lose. Who does?

But for UNLV senior Sidney Hodge, an Interdisciplinary Study major who is scheduled to graduate in December and plans on going into the OCS Navy after college, he doesn’t even want to talk about it.

And you can’t blame the 22-year-old defensive back from Palo Verde High School, where he lost twice in as many years with the Panthers – once to Bishop Gorman and the second by one point to Reno’s McQueen in the 2009 state championship.

“He wasn’t a real vocal kid, but I know he really hated losing,” Palo Verde coach Darwin Rost said earlier this week. “He only lost two games with us, and he took them both hard. He’s not a losing type kid. I think maybe it’s wore on him a little bit.”


Palo Verde-graduate Sidney Hodge, a senior, is one of UNLV’s defensive leaders this season.

Yeah, probably, as he enters Saturday night’s game at Sam Boyd Stadium against Arizona as part of a UNLV program that has lost more than five times the wins it’s accumulated during Hodge’s time in the defensive backfield.

There’s a big difference in going 27-2 with a Palo Verde program that is the last team in the state of Nevada to knock off Bishop Gorman, and being part of the hometown college team that has gone 6-33 since stepping on the field for the Rebels. Hodge grayshirted after signing with the Rebels in 2009, and didn’t earn his first letter as a Rebel until 2010, coach Bobby Hauck’s first season at the helm. And he quickly learned the differences after his first spring camp.

“At Palo, the only thing that was on our mind week-in, week-out was winning; ‘Who are we gonna beat down next?'” Hodge said. “I came into the spring bug-eyed, bushy-tailed all ready to go. I learned it was a more patient game. This game, if you take it slow, you’ll pick up a lot of things quicker, quicker than most instead of trying to rush in and jump straight into it. From freshman year on, it’s been a pretty good experience; I wouldn’t change it for the world. Division I college football is probably the best experience you can have.”

Except, of course, the losing. Rost said his former defensive standout won’t let on about it either, as he’s always been a player who is going to keep quiet and simply do his job.

“He’s gone through a lot, I’m very proud of him he’s stuck it out,” Rost said “He’s really done well with the frame and body he has. He’s really worked hard to be a starter for them. I know the coaching staff really likes him. He gives 100 percent for them on the field and it seems like he always comes up with a play. I know we’d love to have him back.”

Asked about his team’s progress and any frustration in searching for the team’s first win during the weekly press conference last Monday, Hodge came across as professional as they come, saying: “Guys are getting in the film room, we’re getting together and studying up and trying to make plays we need to make. We’re getting more physical a lot.”

Sounds programmed, right? Maybe it was, but in person, after practice at Rebel Park on Wednesday night, Hodge was even more business-like refusing to discuss anything negative, other than to say: “Our biggest emotion is probably being anxious to win ball games.”

Said Hauck: “We all want to be positive. Negativity doesn’t get you anywhere. No one goes through every day or week or year, without some negative things happening to them. That’s how you handle adversity, with a good attitude and positive outlook. All of us have been faced with some adverse situations and everybody’s come through it with a great outlook.”

Last week after two quarters it not only looked as if the Rebels could pull off a season-opening win, but they would have also ended a 22-game road losing skid. But a disastrous start to the second half ruined all that when Minnesota’s Marcus Jones returned the second-half kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown and Ra’Shede Hageman blocked a field goal that Martez Shabazz picked up and raced for a 78-yard touchdown later in the third quarter.

“Minnesota went after him and he held up really well,” Hauck said Wednesday night. “Sidney is a solid guy. He’s got a family. It’s a unique situation for a college kid to be in that boat. He’s a guy that his teammates all admire because he’s a guy who has lived up to that responsibility. He’s a good family guy and he’s a good teammate and he’s done a nice job playing too.”

So with his wife Natiyah and daughter Cameron in the stands tonight, the focus has shifted to Arizona, as Hodge and the Rebels will try to steal a win in the home opener.

“For a lot of people this is the last (season) they’ll play college football in their life,” Hodge said. “There’s a lot of words you can put into it. Every week you get a chance to go out and show what you’re made of no matter what conference the (opponent is) from.

“It’ll be pretty exciting, especially with a Pac 12 team coming in. Hopefully Sam Boyd is pretty packed for it.”

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:34 p.m.


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