Wanted: Fleet of Foot, Nerves of Steel
In 2011, a lot will be expected of the Bobcat cornerbacks in the 4-2-5. There will be many situations in which the corners will be locked up with a receiver mano y mano style. Multiple thousands of fans in the stands, all eyes locked on you, in the hip pocket of the receiver, here comes the ball…rinse…repeat. Sounds like a pleasant way to spend a Saturday? Oh, and by the way, in your “free time”, on occasion you will be expected to come up and take on a running back as he enters your real estate. Timid and passive need not apply.
Of course, Darryl Morris returns at corner after earning All-SLC 2nd Team honors in 2010. Pass defense, run support, Darryl does it all, along with being on the all-interview team. In part, Fall Camp 2011 was dedicated to identifying the other side along with cultivating the requisite depth. Corner, like most positions, requires a quality rotation to keep everyone on the hop. Even if you’re a Darryl Morris.
Others who project to contribute at corner are Derek Lopez, who saw significant action in 2010, and Craig Mager, a redshirt freshman who has surely impressed. Do you remember, wide receiver, Cedric Alexander? Now I present to you, cornerback, Cedric Alexander. Back in 2008, Mo Crosby converted from receiver to corner and it resulted in all-conference honors for the senior. Phillip Benning, who saw time last season, will also be a part of the equation. There are others who battled in Camp 2011 and could propel themselves into a role as the festivities move along.
Jason Washington, once upon a time a Bobcat who prowled the secondary with authority (when he wasn‘t manning centerfield for the baseball team), returns to Texas State to lead the cornerbacks. You recall that “J-Wash” was our cornerbacks coach from ‘04-’06.
Coach Washington likes what he sees in the CB group, “All those guys are doing a great job. We talk about being trustworthy, accountable…working and competing each and every day.”
He likes the leadership in his group, “Seniors Cedric Alexander and Derek Lopez have taken the reigns and have really emphasized the opportunity to work. They make sure every guy is giving their full one hundred percent each and every day.”
Coach Washington agreed that Darryl Morris is very good and added he has high standards for the Bobcat Junior, “I require of him to do more. We talk about win every drill…win every one on one that you do. Darryl has been focusing on that every time he is out there.”
We talked about corner responsibilities in run support, “You can’t just be a cover corner. You have to be physical and get involved in the run. We will blitz our corners, get them involved, stick their noses in the action.”
On Craig Mager, “He has done an unbelievable job. He’s taken great pride in his technique and just takes steps forward to be successful.”
Speaking of Craig, how valuable is a redshirt year? In my opinion, it is quite rare when you would suggest that a redshirt year is a bad thing, particularly at a position like corner, where one misstep in a thirty yard route can be costly.
Mager, from nearby Luling, talks about the value of his year off of the game field, “Definitely, the redshirt year was a good thing. I put on around ten pounds by working out in the weight room. My footwork was horrible, because I played offense before I came over here. It gave me a whole year to work on my technique.”
Craig chuckled and added how it helped with the books, “Ah, school!!! It’s good to have a redshirt year just so you can get used to the transition of going from school to football practice.”
Craig is playing for more than himself, “I’m really family-oriented. I have three little sisters, so I’m out here trying to “get it” for them.”
Of course, Fall Camp 2011 is now a memory. Brant and I joined Coach Fran to wrap up camp and discuss the building of the Bobcats, version 2011.
In the next blog, we review the other third, the Special Teams.
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Eat 'Em Up!