For LSU cornerback Jalen Collins this season has been one of learning experiences.
The 6-2, 195-pound redshirt freshman from Olive Branch, Miss., has accumulated 28 tackles and two interceptions. While he explained that his play on the field lacked consistency, Collins believes the experience he gained on the field is something that will be extremely helpful for him in the future. Playing early and often has also allowed Collins to become more comfortable when he steps on the field.
"The game experience has helped me a lot this year," said Collins. "I remember in the first game when I was really hesitant and unsure of what was going on. Now, I just go out there and play."
Collins explained that he has been very lucky to play with, and learn from, the older players on the LSU defense. In addition to learning from players, Collins also said the coaches have had more one-on-one time with him recently, always preaching the importance of getting in the film room.
"All of those guys are very helpful," said Collins. "Like I've said, we are all just here more to work and watch film. Recently, Coach [John] Chavis has had a lot to say to me, personally, which has helped me out. Coach [Corey] Raymond has been saying a lot more. He's been pushing us to get in the film room a lot more."
One thing that Collins said the coaching staff has really helped him do is improve his man coverage. Collins explained that he had to learn everything about it from scratch because of a lack of experience playing in man coverage.
"My man coverage has improved the most since I've been at LSU," said Collins. "It's because we didn't really play much of that at my high school. Since I've gotten here, it's gotten a lot better."
While he will only be a sophomore, Collins said he is already preparing to become a leader in the secondary next year.
"I do feel like I'm ready for it," said Collins. "I'm going to have to step up because I'm going to be one of the older corners, actually the oldest corner. I'm going to have to help the younger guys a lot more and things like that. I feel pretty good about it."
While school is not in session, Collins said he is taking full advantage of the extra work he can put in on the football field. Aside from extra practice time, Collins said he has spent his free time watching film. Collins also explained that the practices have been very similar to the regular season practices.
"It's really helpful. We have all of this extra time to work now that we're not in school," he continued. "We have plenty of time to get rest and watch film in advance. It's really good.
"Not much has changed in terms of what we're doing in practice, but they're just focusing on certain things that they feel we should get back to, since it's been a while."
Collins admitted that he hadn't seen very much film on Clemson at this point, but he's already seen enough to know speed is not something they are lacking.
"As a whole, we've seen a little bit of film on them," said Collins. "All I can say is they're fast."