Q&A With Cornerback Omar Bolden

One of the more fascinating stories in 2010 was the development of ASU's offense, which showed marked improvement from the previous year. Now the defense looks raise the stakes once again as they did the previous year. Sun Devil defensive specialist, Omar Bolden, talked with us Saturday after practice about the team's development, goals and his decision to come back for his senior season.

DD: So three sessions are officially in the books. How do you feel about the first week of spring practice?

Omar Bolden: "It was okay. We still have a a lot of work to do though."

DD: How did it feel to put on the pads and hit each other a bit this morning?

Omar Bolden: "To be honest, with the heat and the first day of being in pads, it kind of slowed us down a little bit. But that's just how it is being the first day in pads. We'll get adjusted."

DD: At the conclusion of last year you had Sun Devil fans pretty nervous when there was speculation of you possibly entering the NFL Draft. How close were you to leaving and what sort of factors influenced you to return for your senior season?

Omar Bolden: "I was so close that I actually packed all my stuff when I went home for Christmas break. And to be honest, I was actually leaving to go workout the next morning and I made my decision not to go; I felt it in my sleep. I just woke up and I didn't feel it. It was a gut feeling. I've got some unfinished business here."

DD: Last season had its share of highs and lows for you guys, with the close losses to ranked teams, missing out on a bowl game once again, but then also finishing the year with wins in your final two games to build momentum going into 2011. How has everything that transpired helped to motivate you to workout this offseason?

Omar Bolden: "A lot, honestly. It showed us that we can compete with anybody. It showed all last season, we just weren't finishing. The last two games of last season we really figured out how to put it all together and come together as a team. And I'm just really excited for this season, because I know that we can do it all year now."

DD: What sort of things are you working on this offseason to better prepare yourself for a strong senior campaign and for the next level?

Omar Bolden: "I'm doing a lot of work technique-wise. As far as talent and athletic ability, I feel like I'm already there. I feel like I can compete with the best of them. But it's the little things that get me beat. As for as my eyes looking back at the quarterback when I should be looking at the receiver. Things like, staying in my back-pedal longer. Just the little things that kind of go unnoticed but they're the reasons why I'm getting beat."

DD: Your Twitter handle, for those who don't know, is "O's Island." Tell us what it's like on "O's Island." Is the feeling of being matched up with arguably the opposition's best receiver one on one with little and sometimes no help a feeling that you relish?

Omar Bolden: "I love it! It's like you land on my island, man, and there's no food and no water. So you're gonna starve. It's a struggle to find a meal out there."

DD: Aside from the obvious team goals of winning the conference and participating in a BCS game what sort of goals have you laid out for yourself this year?

Omar Bolden: "I want to be talked about as one of the best corners in the nation. I want to compete for that Thorpe Award, personally. Besides making first team All-American, I really want that Thorpe Award! I printed a picture of it and taped it in my locker, so I see it everyday when I get dressed. I'm chasing it."

DD: Statistically, the defense overall took a small step backwards compared to the previous season. What do you guys need to do to get back to that level of being the premiere defensive squad in the conference?

Omar Bolden: "Can't pay attention to the hype. Don't buy into the outsider talkers coming in saying we're going to be this and be that. We've just got to focus on what we're doing here and forget about what everyone else is saying. Last year we kind of bought into the number one defense. As coach would say, we drank the kool-aid. We drank the poison. They put it out there and we drank it and it was all bad for us."

DD: You guys return nearly everyone from last year's starting unit on defense (except for Lawrence Guy) and will hopefully have Deveron Carr back soon to help boost the secondary. As one of the leaders on this team, what are your expectation for this unit?

Omar Bolden: " I have high expectations for us (secondary). I feel like we have playmakers back there. Guys that are actually ballhawks. And that's what we want. We don't want pass break-ups, we want interceptions. I think we have the right guys in place once everyone gets healthy. When we get it all together, we're going to be pretty special."

DD: The conference will have a new look this year with the divisional split and the additions of Utah and Colorado. How excited are you for these changes, the chance to play new conference foes, and the possibility of playing in a conference championship game in this your final season in Tempe?

Omar Bolden: "I'm very excited. I've always wanted to play in a conference championship game. I've always watched like the SEC championship game and thought that was really cool. I'm glad and blessed to have a chance now to play in it in it's very first year."

DD: The Pac 10, now Pac 12, is generally a pass-happy conference that produces quite a few elite quarterbacks and powerful offenses. As a defensive back, how do you prepare for that sort of challenge each week?

Omar Bolden: "This is why we play in this conference. This is why guys like us chose to come to schools in this conference. We not only get to go against pass-happy offenses, but always get to showcase our skills as defensive players. When that ball goes i the air, while we might be on defense, at the same time we turn into receivers. It's just exciting to make plays, and we get the opportunity to do that because offenses out here throw it so much."

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