Oct. 22, 2004
My first two years at Notre Dame, I played at cornerback and on special teams. Last season, I moved to free safety and have been there since. Making the change in position last season really wasn’t that big of adjustment for me, because I played both positions in high school, so I knew both of them pretty well.
At corner, you have to rely on your technique, because you are out there on an island, going one-on-one with another player. Playing at safety, you have to come up a lot for run support. It can be a burden sometimes to make the adjustment, but for me, it was easy since I had experience playing both positions.
Right now, I am just trying to focus on my technique in every play, especially when I get tired during a game; I tend to lose concentration on my technique. Playing at free safety, I also am concentrating on staying low and covering my breaks faster. When things happen in the game, people tend to zone in on the secondary and the plays they make because we are the last line of defense. The secondary always sticks out, so I am constantly working to improve all aspects of my game.
The main strength of our defense is definitely our linebacker corps. We have a bunch of veteran senior leaders that really help all aspects of the defense with the way the play, so I really want to acknowledge the leadership and experience of the linebackers.
For us to be successful every game, our secondary has to concentrate on discipline and the linebackers and defensive line need to maintain control. The main thing is for us all to execute and stay in our playbook. When we do what the coaches ask of us, we’ll be fine.
Every game brings a different challenge for a defensive back. If we play a passing team, it’s more of a strain on the secondary because they are passing the ball over the defensive line. When we face a running team, most of our opportunities come when they break through the defensive line and the linebackers. There is more to worry about and concentrate on for the secondary when we face a passing team.
It’s important being a defensive back to go into a game being calm, relaxed and prepared. The way I get ready is with music. The night before a game, I try to listen to some nice R&B music to calm me down. On the day of the game, being from Atlanta, I like to listen to some upbeat rap music to get me going, to get fired up for the game.
Today’s game versus Boston College will be no different. I know that if we do the things we prepare for in practice during the game, not only the secondary, but also the entire defense will have a good day.
Enjoy today’s game versus Boston College – GO IRISH!!!