Secondary Versatility

The move of senior cornerback Andru Stewart to safety seems to have firmed up the Razorbacks' secondary.

It's kind of late in preseason practice to be switching positions, but it certainly helps if you've been there before.

University of Arkansas senior Andru Stewart (6-1, 190), who has been the biggest ballhawk of the cornerback in camp, was moved to safety over the weekend.

It is a spot where Stewart, who started four games at CB last season, played while at the College of Sequoias.

"It's been going great," Stewart said Wednesday after his second practice at safety. "I played safety back in junior college and I feel comfortable back there."

One of the reasons is that Stewart – the son of former 10-year NFL player Michael Stewart - loves to come stick his head up in the box and that is something he gets to do more at safety.

"I love it, I love seeking out contact," Stewart said. "Now I get a chance to make a couple of more interceptions, too."

Stewart, a high school teammate of former Notre Dame and current Carolina Panthers quarterback Jimmy Clausen, is getting help from the players around him.

"When I have questions, I can always ask the guys that are already playing safety," Stewart said. "We are just communicating and helping each other out.

"…All the guys have been great – safeties, corners, linebackers," Stewart said. "Everybody kind of realizes that it is kind of late to be moving and stuff like that. Everybody is pitching in and helping me out."

Part of the reason to move Stewart is to help a defense that gave up far too many big plays last season.

"It was definitely frustrating," Stewart said. "Anytime you are a defense, the one thing you don't want to do is give up big plays. If you watched the games last season, you know that in our losses that kind of played a big role."

Stewart points to one thing that was the biggest culprit in those big plays.

"It was just lack of communication," Stewart said. "Any time you are out there, that's the biggest thing – to communicate and make sure all 11 guys are on the same page. All it takes is for one guy to be out of position and a play could go 60 or 70 yards."

Certainly it was a point of emphasis in the off-season.

"That was one of our goals this off-season and this summer coming in – to work on our technique, get an idea for the scheme and that way we could limit big plays and force turnovers," Stewart said.

Stewart thinks this year's secondary group has succeeded in doing that in practice against one of the nation's top offenses.

"We have definitely cut down on them," Stewart said. "Every day we're talking and coming out with an agenda to not give them up."

Stewart also thinks the group has bonded off the field and that will help on it.

"We have spent a lot of time hanging out, workouts and things like that," Stewart said. "It's just the camaraderie and guys getting closer and that definitely helps out."


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