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Harry

Post spring football series Part 9 — UNT Cornerbacks

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I have taken a bit of a break from my post spring series on UNT’s roster, but now that I am back from vacation it’s time to get back at it. I started off with some positions where UNT has a lot to be confident about — quarterback and offensive line come to mind.

Today, we take a look at an area of concern, UNT’s cornerback spot.

UNT struggled at times last year at cornerback, despite having some experienced players — Royce Hill was a four-year starter and Steven Ford played two years for the Mean Green. By the middle of the year, freshman Freddie Warner had become a starter only to be lost to a season-ending injury.

The number that sticks out is that UNT ranked last in the Sun Belt in passing defense with an average of 265.8 yards allowed a game on the season. There is no doubt UNT had its problems in the back end. I just wonder how much of them were directly attributable to the cornerback spot. Some of them? For sure. The whole problem? Probably not, especially if you take a closer look at the team.

UNT was torched by Houston’s Case Keenum, Tulsa’s G.J. Kinne and Arkansas State’s Ryan Aplin, three really good college quarterbacks.

But when it came to Sun Belt Conference play, UNT actually ranked third in pass defense with 215.0 yards allowed a game.

Read more: http://meangreenblog.dentonrc.com/2012/07/post-spring-football-series-part-9-cornerbacks.html/

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Could we have two true freshman at the starting corner spots against LSU?

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To an extent, I do not understand this problem. Marcus Trice was the 20th rated cornerback in the country when he committed to Oklahoma. He has the size and speed to play corner yet we insist on playing him at safety. He probably prefers safety but it would seem that our need is greater at CB. If D Q Johnson is anything near what we thought that he was capable of then it would seem that we would be fairly strong at corner with Trice and Johnson and the two freshmen could come in and be the backups.

It seems to me that safety is a little easier to play than corner and if I were to have to trust a true freshman to start then I'd prefer David Busby who I think is a little more touted than Kelly. However we slice it we're going to have some decent talent but are woefully short on experience.

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To an extent, I do not understand this problem. Marcus Trice was the 20th rated cornerback in the country when he committed to Oklahoma. He has the size and speed to play corner yet we insist on playing him at safety. He probably prefers safety but it would seem that our need is greater at CB. If D Q Johnson is anything near what we thought that he was capable of then it would seem that we would be fairly strong at corner with Trice and Johnson and the two freshmen could come in and be the backups.

It seems to me that safety is a little easier to play than corner and if I were to have to trust a true freshman to start then I'd prefer David Busby who I think is a little more touted than Kelly. However we slice it we're going to have some decent talent but are woefully short on experience.

I would argue safety is the more difficult spot in secondary due to having to understand rolling coverages and usually having to be the QB of the secondary

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I would argue safety is the more difficult spot in secondary due to having to understand rolling coverages and usually having to be the QB of the secondary

Seconded, and despite his size he's back there because they know this young secondary is going to get beat by their WR often. They need a sure tackler to stop 20 yard gains from being touchdowns. I really hope DQ Johnson can come on strong in fall practice and win a corner spot. I'm sorry if this is too harsh, but I just don't have much faith in Hilbert Jackson, last season he couldn't beat out Royce Hill or Steven Ford yet Freddie Warner did. In my opinion you get Warner back ASAP, and get him back in to the swing of things rotating with Devante Davis and Hilbert Jackson while DQ Johnson Kevin Maduka and Devante Davis hold down the other spots until one of them proves to be solid. I really hope Laramie Lee is up to the challenge at the safety spot. Unless these freshman can contribute in a meaningful way, it will be a repeat of, oh, the last 7 years.

I think it was 2005/2006 where we had a roster completely loaded with underclassmen, and everyone expected 2007/2008 to be the years we came back. Throwing the kids in to the fire early works out one way or the other. I hope it works out for the better, and continuity with the young secondary players moving in to CUSA will be an advantage. That will be a nice chance of pace.

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Improved DL pressure can cover a multitude of sins in the secondary. UNT will need the DT/DE position to step up their game.

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Mentally, safety may be a tougher position; but corner-back is a much more difficult position to fill. Players with the speed and instinct to play corner are rarer than any other defensive position.

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One thing not mentioned in the article is the position change of Zach Whitfield to corner this season. I am hearing this guy may be the fastest player on the team and they are VERY excited about what he can do for them at the corner position.

On Warner - why give a guy with his proven talent - a half season? Let him heal up, use his redshirt and give us a boost heading into CUSA.

We are going to be very young in the secondary but much more talent and speed than we had from prior years so that is encouraging.

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Still waiting for the second coming of Buckles/Jones. Here's hoping it can happen again someday.

I'm not that greedy...I'd settle for Walter Priestly, Heath Moody and Jeremy Pearl

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On Warner - why give a guy with his proven talent - a half season? Let him heal up, use his redshirt and give us a boost heading into CUSA.

Amen

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Win any/every game you can. If Warner can help win 1 game, play him.

Why? Especially if it means losing a year in which he can help win 13 games.

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Fair to program, unfair to Warner?

If he sits out the entire year, next fall it will have been close to 2 years since he last played in an actual game. Players don't want to sit. Players don't even want only to practice. Players want to play. And seeing some game action will help him be better prepared for the 2013 season.

I'm kind of playing "devil's advocate" here, because I would certainly favor getting the hardship waiver for Warner unless (1) He is available to play for at least half the season; or (2a) We are in contention for the conference title or a bowl bid and (2b) CB is a clear weak spot for the team.

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Fair to program, unfair to Warner?

I bet if you asked him, he'd be on board. Just like D. Thompson was not upset about playing for less than 1/2 of 1 game to burn his redshirt. These guys want to win way more than any of us want them to win. Regardless of how many games he plays, if Warner thinks he can help, and he's cleared to play, I bet he would like to get out there.

I may be wrong, but I doubt it.

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Obviously, whether you play or red shirt Warner depends on a number of factors. Primarily when he gets well and recovered enough to play and secondly how much does NT need his help.

I do hope that if he is not ready until mid-season that the secondary has shown enough for NT to be comfortable red shirted him.

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Obviously, whether you play or red shirt Warner depends on a number of factors. Primarily when he gets well and recovered enough to play and secondly how much does NT need his help.

I do hope that if he is not ready until mid-season that the secondary has shown enough for NT to be comfortable red shirted him.

For sure.

Once healthy, if Warner is just going to be used in dime packages or special teams, then we may as well redshirt him. Unless he just really wants to play...

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Win any/every game you can. If Warner can help win 1 game, play him.

Memories of Derrick Thompson's freshman year (or, should I say one offensive series) come to mind.

Redshirt Warner and let him heal.

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I bet if you asked him, he'd be on board. Just like D. Thompson was not upset about playing for less than 1/2 of 1 game to burn his redshirt. These guys want to win way more than any of us want them to win. Regardless of how many games he plays, if Warner thinks he can help, and he's cleared to play, I bet he would like to get out there.

I may be wrong, but I doubt it.

Todd Dodge would be proud...and unemployed.

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Todd Dodge would be proud...and unemployed.

I think we all know why Dodge is not a college HC anymore... and it wasn't because of his mis-management of redshirts.

Alot of folks are projecting UNT as a bubble-type bowl team.

Do you mean to tell me that if Warner is ready to go for the Houston game (game 6), and would upgrade our pass defense (he went into spring practice as our #1 corner), that you'd rather keep him on the shelf? Houston is going to be throwing the ball. The following week, conf. champion LALa comes to town for a Nationally televised game. 2 games later, Ryan Aplin will be winging it all over Apogee. All 3 of those games (especially the two conf. home games) are games we can win. We need our best players out there.

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