Last year, freshman Marquis Flowers was the highest rated prospect coming in from the 2010 class. He was one of the top high school safeties in the state of Arizona and figured to arrive and make an impact early in his college career.
Flowers spent most of his freshman season on special teams while two seniors started at safety in front of him. Flowers did see spot duty in the defensive backfield and ended up totaling eight tackles on the season.
Flowers hopes to improve enough this offseason to earn a starting job in 2011. With a full season under his belt, the safety is admittedly more acclimated than he was when he first arrived on campus last summer.
"Its going good," Flowers said. "The second time around, I am more mature and I understand the defense a lot more and I am studying a lot more. I understand what I need to do to get on the field and be prepared. I am feeling a lot more comfortable out here and I am starting to play better but there is still room for improvement."
Flowers is also adjusting to a new defensive backs coach. Gone is 2010 coach Greg Brown and in his place is rookie coach Ryan Walters. Flowers believes the transition from coach to coach shouldn't be that tough considering the similarities between the coaches.
"It's good, Flowers said. "Coach Walters is a good coach and he cares about all of us. I can call Walters and talk about anything. He's just like coach Brown, a real student."
Flowers will be entering his sophomore campaign, where he will be asked to shoulder a larger load of work. He has spent a lot of time studying the defense this offseason and he believes it's already paying dividends.
"I am a lot more comfortable," Flowers said. "I know schemes, motions. The older guys help me and I am asking a lot more questions and I'm studying a lot more. I am definitely in the playbook a lot learning plays and I just want to help the team a lot."
Another big reason why Flowers will see a significant increase in playing time is the injury to fellow safety Adam Hall. The injury has been tough on the defense, but Flowers believes others will rise to the occasion.
"It hit us kind of hard," Flowers said. "Adam is like a brother to us. We are a close secondary group. When it happened it was very hard on us. But we have to play through it, other people have to step up and we're going to play for Adam. We are hoping for a fast and quick recovery."
The injury to Hall was an obvious setback for the defense as a whole, but Flowers believes it will make everyone step up and the competition will make everyone better.
"We're all striving to work harder," Flowers said. "The defensive back group is very special. Everybody is working hard. Everybody is doing good. We are all stepping up, we're all studying and we're all taking it very seriously. All of us."
Flowers adjusting well
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