“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do,” John Wooden, a legendary basketball coach, once said.
Davonte Anderson was getting ready to do what he does best in the spring of 2013, keeping the aerial assault of opposing offenses to a minimum.
The defensive back was getting ready for one more big run at glory for his team, as they entered the Colonial Athletic Association after he earned the honor of recognition on the 2012 All-Big South second team.
That was before Anderson hurt his shoulder.
Ahead of the biggest challenge yet for the Seawolves, when they were heading into a newer and tougher conference, arguably one of their biggest defensive assets could do nothing to help on the field. That did not stop the Corona, Calif. native.
“I was still very, very involved,” Anderson said. He was not kidding.
To Anderson’s disappointment, he did not have a chance to jump in between the sidelines to take part in the action. But, anything he could do to help he did.
“I was pretty much the coach on the sideline,” Anderson said. One of head coach Chuck Priore’s defensive stars did more than just that, though. He was, “coaching the young guys,” as well.
Coming off of a season in which as a junior, Anderson snatched passes away from opposing quarterbacks six times, the interceptions came when it mattered most. Against Villanova in the 2012 Division I Football Championship’s first round, Anderson came up with not one, but two huge picks to help the Seawolves to their 20-10 win. It is fair to say that Anderson proved his worth at defensive back, but he was still not satisfied.
“I was getting a lot of mental reps learning [on the sideline],” Anderson said in discussion of when he was injured last season. “I still felt a part of the everyday success and failures.”
Michael Bamiro, who was a star offensive lineman for the Seawolves before signing with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he was on the practice squad for a year, saw Anderson’s effort.
“What I saw in Davonte everyday during practices or training is his want and desire to do better,” Bamiro said. “He was always a guy who led by example on and off the field.”
The transition from the Big South to the CAA was not the smoothest for Stony Brook, but one constant was Anderson chomping at the bit to get back on the field
“I would always wake up and think man, ‘I wish I can be out there with my team, I wish I can be out there on the field and help them win,’” Anderson said. “It was an everyday thing.”
The hard work to be ready for his final shot in Seawolves red has paid off so far this season for Anderson.
Coincidentally enough, Anderson, No. 2, entered the year with the second most interceptions in the school’s Division I history. It only took until the team’s third conference game of the season against Maine for a new name to top the record books.
When Dan Collins dropped back and threw up a jump ball down the near sideline, it was the shorter Anderson who outleaped the receiver he was covering to tie Stony Brook’s interception record of 15 at the Division I-level.
“It’s a great accomplishment,” Anderson said. “I try not to think about it too much, though, I’m just trying to focus on doing what I need to do to help the team win.”
To Anderson, leading is more important than individual accolades.
“It’s a great accomplishment that people see me as a leader and want me to step up and lead a group of men,” Anderson said.
“I’ve always seen myself as a leader my whole life, my dad’s always preached me to be a leader not a follower.”
Although he is not an official captain, Anderson acts just like one, doing whatever he can to help his teammates, especially his defense, which has stood out during this campaign.
“Last year was tough,” Anderson said. “But it was a big learning experience for us.”
With Anderson’s inventory of knowledge gained from taking in the action on the side in the team’s back pockets, the Seawolves have cut the number of yards they give up per game by over 100 yards and now lead the Football Championship Subdivision.
As the Seawolves look to finish strong despite missing out on a chance to qualify for the playoffs, Anderson is confident that the defense will not let up.
“If we just keep working hard and doing our job, we’ll be all right,” Anderson said.
After nearly five whole seasons on Long Island, the cornerback’s time in college is nearly at its end.
“I’m honestly just taking in every single moment,” Anderson said. “This is probably one of the greatest moments I’ll have in my life so every single moment waking up for practice and games, getting ready, putting on cleats, just every single thing I’m just trying to take in a picture in my mind and keep it in there as long as I can.”
One thing is for sure, those pictures will be of one of the most successful careers of a defensive back in Stony Brook history.