IT’S NOT AN ACT : Despite Name From Big Screen, Greer Doesn’t Shy From Reality

Times Staff Writer

‘When you’re playing, you get more tense than you normally would be.’

Valley College’s Alain Greer

Alain Delon Greer, the mammoth tackle who anchors the defensive line at Valley College, was named by his parents after French actor Alain Delon.

John and Daisy Greer weren’t particularly fond of Delon’s work. They just liked his name.

Their son hates it.

He calls himself Alan, and that’s what everybody else calls him, too.

Who’s going to argue with him? He’s a shade under 6-2, weighs 265 pounds, runs a 4.7 40-yard dash--exceptional for a man his size--and, while taking on two or three guys of equal size every Saturday night, usually gets the better of them.

Recruiters just call him, period.

He’s the No. 1 player on the No. 4 defense in the state. Valley (8-1), which meets Pierce (7-2) for the Southern California Conference championship and a Brahma Bowl bid tonight at Pierce, has shut out two of its last three opponents and has given up fewer than eight points a game. The Monarchs have allowed only 213.7 yards a game, including an average of just 75 on the ground.


Greer, 19, is the catalyst.

The sophomore from Polytechnic High in Sun Valley leads the Monarchs with 11 sacks. A team-high 42 other times, according to Valley College statistics, he has forced quarterbacks to hurry their passes. And his pass rush, the coaches say, is the weakest part of his game. Against the run, he is a stone wall.

“He’s a totally dominating figure on the field,” said Valley Coach Chuck Ferrero. “He’s very physical. He’s quick. You can’t knock him off his feet. He’s very strong. He has all the qualities that go into being a good defensive lineman.”

Some would say great.

Syracuse assistant coach Dave Uyrus calls Greer “an exceptional defensive line prospect.” Uyrus said Greer is the Orangemen’s No. 1 choice to replace All-American Tim Green, an Outland and Lombardi trophy candidate who will graduate next spring.

Dick Lascola, director of the Scouting Evaluation Assn., said Greer has the “ideal build for a college nose tackle.”

The unassuming Greer seems unfazed by such talk. He thought he should have been in this position three years ago. “I’ve gotten a lot of letters,” he said, “but I think I learned in high school that letters are nothing but paper. I got a lot of letters then, but no scholarships.”

A running back in youth flag football leagues, Greer was reluctant to even go out for the team as a sophomore at Poly. “I guess I was scared,” he said. An assistant coach who lived across the street eventually talked him into playing.


By the time he was a senior, Poly was 9-1 and Greer was a three-year starter. An offensive guard and linebacker--”He had unbelievable speed for a big man,” said Poly Coach Dick Windham--Greer was co-most valuable player in the Pac-8 League. From the time he was a 5-11, 190-pound sophomore, he had grown into a 6-1 3/4, 250-pound senior.

But nobody recruited him.

“A few scouts came around,” Greer said, “but I’m not sure what happened. Maybe they weren’t impressed.”

Neither was Greer. He didn’t want to play anymore. In his first year at Valley, he sat out, but found himself going to all the games.

Last season, he started alongside All-America tackle Kelvin Harden for a Valley defense that ranked fifth in the state.

“I just missed playing,” Greer said. “It’s fun to play and it’s exciting to be part of a team.”

This season, despite his quiet manner, Greer is the Monarchs’ defensive captain.

“Rather than lead with his mouth, like a lot of kids try to do,” assistant coach Dan Brown said of Greer, “he kind of leads by example. The coaches named him captain, and I don’t think any of the players objected to it. The kid’s a stud on the team.”


Brown coached nose guard Chris Block a few years ago at College of the Canyons before Block went on to become a two-year starter for bowl-winning UCLA teams. Comparing Greer with Block, Brown said: “I don’t see a nickel’s worth of difference between the two.”

Greer may be passive off the field--he says his favorite pastimes are watching television and riding a motorcycle--but his personality changes during a game.

“You’d never know he’s a defensive guy until he steps onto the field,” Ferrero said.

Said Greer: “When you’re playing, you get more tense than you normally would be. You get more aggressive. You get more outspoken.”

That aggressiveness ends when he leaves the field. His mother says he’s not a big eater, despite his size. As for her son’s personality, Daisy describes the youngest of her four children as “sweet.”

“He’s quiet,” she said, “but he seems to get along with everyone. He says what he has to say and that’s it, and that’s just the way he’s been all his life.”

Daisy said Alain has “always been fat,” but strong.

“He’s almost a natural,” said Brown, gesturing toward Valley’s weight room. “When he came here, he hated lifting, and yet he goes in there and benches 350 pounds.”


Greer’s other assets include quickness--he returned an interception 54 yards two weeks ago against Harbor--consistency and resiliency.

“You’re going to get blocked in the game of football,” Lascola said. “He recovers very quickly from that, which is a good asset for a defensive lineman. He has good reactions.”

Brown has been working with Greer on improving his pass rush.

“He’s quick off the ball,” Brown said, “but he needs to be more intense. He’s getting double- and triple-teamed all the time, so it gets a little discouraging. He’s trying to back up 700 pounds and if it doesn’t go anywhere, he kind of loses interest in it.”

Despite that one flaw, colleges haven’t lost interest in Greer, who said he has “no idea” where he might wind up and tries not to think about it. He’s not sure what he wants to study, either, although eventually, he said, he wants to be a cameraman.

For the time being, the football player with the actor’s name will remain in front of the cameras. When scouts and opposing coaches watch films of Valley’s defense, Alain Delon Greer is the star.