Wadood making his performance count

Like the vast majority of true freshmen for the Sun Devils, Rashad Wadood began fall camp with his fair share of growing pains. Nonetheless, in a matter of just of a few weeks the cornerback has improved so much that he's now a strong candidate not to redshirt in the 2011 season and lend a hand to a position in need of depth.

"I'm just getting better everyday," said the 5-10 170-pound Rashad Wadood. "It has been a big adjustment and it's not high school anymore. It's big time college football and I just know that the harder I work the better I will get. I'm watching film, getting together with the coaches and having older guys help me.

"The speed of the game is what hits you right away. It's way different than high school. The mental part is the biggest adjustment because once you know what you're doing you can play faster."

Any practice observer cannot but help notice the guidance senior Omar Bolden is giving the cornerbacks group, while he's sidelined recovering from his ACL surgery. Wadood stated that he has been one the biggest beneficiaries of Bolden's teachings.

"Omar has shown me a lot of love," Wadood said. "He's always giving me words of wisdom and advice. He's helping me get better every day and helping me get adjusted to the collegiate level. We both were running backs in high school so he knows where I was coming from.

"He helps me ‘cheat' the system a little bit by watching how the receivers line up, signs they give off…he even gave me his notebook that he studies with to help me catch on. Everything he knows he's throwing it into my brain. He's been a big help."

Head coach Dennis Erickson stated last week that he felt Wadood was one of a few true freshmen that would probably not redshirt this year. "We have to have a fourth corner," Erickson said, "and there is a good possibility it will be him (Wadood)."

"The coaches are working me to play, not to redshirt," Wadood remarked. "I'm getting reps with the 2's so they think I'm going to play this year. I just have to keep on working hard everyday and getting better. We'll see what happens from there."

While Wadood has certainly earned his status on his own merit, he is cognizant of the fact that injuries to fellow corners Deveron Carr and Devan Spann have naturally helped him to elevate into the position he now sits in.

"That helped me get more reps and prove myself," Wadood admitted.

The true freshman pointed out that his knowledge of the game has greatly improved since the beginning of fall camp and is a major factor in his progress in the last three weeks.

"Learning how to read the quarterback – that's key right there," Wadood remarked. "Read receivers…not just go out there and play. You can't succeed like that. You have to know what's going on. (Cornerbacks) Coach Burns helps me with route concepts and how to jump routes, take chances but play smart at the same time."

Aside from the challenges of learning the nuances of the position as a true freshman, Wadood is also faced with the daily task of going against a very formidable ASU offense which for most of fall camp has performed at a high level.

"It forces to get good really fast," said a smiling Wadood. "You get tired of getting beat so you try to get better. All the wide receivers are good. There are all across the board fast, talented and have skills. They know how to switch up their routes, getting you to think one way and then doing the other.

"These wide receivers are really getting me prepared because nobody that we will see this season will be as good as them."

Wadood feels that the cornerbacks group as a whole didn't have a good scrimmage last Saturday and should strive to be a game changing unit.

"It's one thing to do your job right," Wadood said, "It's another thing to make plays. If you did your job but didn't make plays, you didn't play that well. We didn't make the plays when we should have made them, so I feel like we have to get better.

"We did good work in the secondary. But I feel that we should be making plays every time the play comes to us so we can be what we want to be. We don't feel like we are there yet."

With the prospects of him playing as a true freshman a virtual certainty, Wadood wants his time of the field to also count for something.

"I want to contribute any way possible to help the team," Wadood stated. "If that means running down on kickoffs or covering somebody, it's not about me personally but about helping the team.

"Doing anything I can to get that Pac-12 championship and get to the Rose Bowl."


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