Marty Mohamed led the Mustangs with 93 tackles as a junior last season and currently leads the team this season with 50 tackles. Nha Ha – Mustang Daily

As the pain of workouts sets in, Cal Poly linebacker Marty Mohamed always seems to have the strength to dig deeper.

Some call it genetics, some say it is his temperament, but it is none of that. Marty says it’s his brother, the one who makes him tick. When the workouts are just too much to bear — and all he wants to do is stop — he turns to his brother and teammate, Kyle Mohamed, to steer him back on course.

“A lot of times I’d say if he wasn’t there I probably would have stopped and slacked off a bit,” Marty said. “He has been there right by my side pushing me when times get tough and I don’t want to do things. I’ll start getting tired and he’ll tap me on the back to remind me to keep going.”

Kyle has been pushing his brother his whole life. For as long as they can remember, the two have always wanted to be better than the other. Call it sibling rivalry. Everything the two did — along with their two younger brothers — was a competition growing up, Kyle said.

“We kind of push each other to the limits,” Kyle said. “It’s more that I want to push him so he can do better.”

Big bro never wanted to lose. In whatever they did, there was no way Marty was going to let Kyle, or his other brothers, beat him, he said.

But that didn’t push the two apart. Since birth, Marty and Kyle’s bond quickly developed — the two have been best friends since as long as they can remember, Kyle said. Workouts, schoolwork or just hanging out, the two can always be seen together, helping each other out.

Like in games, Kyle is Marty’s watchdog. Every Saturday, he is the one person constantly shoving Marty’s game under a microscope. A missed read here, a missed step there — Kyle takes notes. When Marty runs off the field, Kyle is there to give his big brother pointers, he said.

“I am always there to constantly help him do better,” Kyle said. “I know if the situation were reversed, and I was the one playing and he was on the sidelines, it would be the same.”

Kyle has yet to see as much playing time as his older brother but there is no jealousy in watching his brother compete while he sits on the sideline. It will take something a lot bigger than that to break their bond.

“There is not a thing in the world I wouldn’t do for him,” Kyle said. “We kind of joke around about if one of us came home and said ‘Hey, I just killed somebody.’ The response from the other one would be ‘Hey, do you got trash bags and a shovel?’ … we have each other’s back no matter what. There are no questions asked.”

That bond helps Marty in most aspects of his life, including the football field. With motivation from Kyle, he was able to push himself to earn 10 starts in 2007 and tallied his first career sack against Wisconsin the following year.  A season ago, Marty boasted a team-high 93 tackles.

This season hasn’t been much different. Through six games, Marty has tallied a team-high 50 tackles — 16 coming in a career-best performance against Old Dominion — and a team-leading three interceptions.

“He has been doing it for a while now,” fullback Jake Romanelli said. “He is a great player, he is a great tackler, he knows the reads, he is a leader on and off the field and on the field he is a good linebacker.”

His success on the field is parallel to his strong work ethic off it — which he said Kyle has helped him form. Film study, heavy lifting, position drills, you name it; Marty does everything he can to prepare his body for the rigors of the 13-week college football season.

“You have certain individuals who are afraid to push themselves in the weight room,” strength and conditioning coach David Wood said. “Sometimes they leave something in the tank. Marty is one of those guys that never leaves anything.”

It doesn’t come easy. The constant memories of dumbbells, artificial field turf and television screens can all seem to form an overwhelming blur at times, but for Marty, he trains hard because he has high self expectations.

It may not be easy to play linebacker at a school which has celebrated names such as Chris Gocong, Kyle Shotwell and Jordan Beck as alumni. However, it’s a task that Marty said he is ready for. He said he is ready to bring another Buck Buchanan award — given to the best defensive player at the FCS level — to Cal Poly and its fans.

“That’s been my goal. I think it can be achieved and I think it can be accomplished, but it’s obviously going to have to come with a big season and it’s going to have to come with help from my team and the coaching staff,” Marty said. “I’m ready now.”

It doesn’t stop there.

Marty doesn’t want to call it quits after college. In fact, he never wants to go back to a normal life without football, he said. He wants to play professionally. While there have been just a handful of players who have moved from the FCS ranks of Cal Poly to the NFL, as opposed to the FBS which consists of schools such as USC and Cal, some people like Wood see Marty punching his ticket to becoming the next of the chosen few.

“I have never been up to (NFL), but I have worked with NFL athletes (in private sessions) and I have seen their type of intensity in the workouts that they do within those training sessions,” Wood said. “I would feel comfortable saying that (Marty) would fit right in with those sessions.”

If it happens, it’s hard to believe Marty could have seen it coming. Brawley High School has never had an NFL athlete, Marty said, and to be the first would be quite the experience.

He would want nothing more.

When, or if, he makes it to that NFL podium on draft day, there will be one person in particular he would like to thank.

“(Kyle) knows the hard work I put in,” Marty said. “He knows the dedication I put in and I just want to thank him for being there, pushing me as hard as I can.”

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