INTERVIEW: Payam Saadat & Chris Smeland PT 4

ArmySports.com continues its exclusive interviews with Black Knight co-defensive coordinators Payam Saadat and Chris Smeland. In part 4 of 6 the two coaches discuss the cornerbacks.

ArmySports.com:  Last year when I interviewed coach Ellerson he said the play of the cornerbacks were a pleasant surprise. Overall the defensive backs didn't have as many matchup problems as he initially thought they would playing in the Double Eagle Flex. How much cover one coverages do you play? (Note: Cover one is man-on-man coverage in secondary except for the free safety who has the deep help.)

 

Chris Smeland: We're still playing a lot of cover one. We're still playing a lot of man coverage no question about it. Obviously the thing that helps in man coverage is how quick the guys up front get to the quarterback. So we put a high priority on that. That's why Payam gets those guys to light their hair on fire and get it up field to make that ball be thrown early.

 

ArmySports.com:  Cornerback is one area of defense that has experience. Coming out of spring who are the boundary and the field cornerbacks?

 

Chris Smeland: We entered spring at the boundary corner position with both Antuan Aaron and Richard King hurt. King wasn't one hundred percent for spring. By the time spring was over with     Antuan Aaron was back 100 percent. He did a nice job for us. We have two senior guys over there at the boundary position that have some playing experience that we feel pretty decent about. At the field position Josh Jackson had some issues early in the spring so we had to hold him [back] earlier in the spring. He has some game experience so we're hoping he'll be able to grow as a young football player. A guy who had a pretty productive spring for us was Waverly Washington at that field corner.

We'll be competitive [at cornerback]; nobody's been anointed [as starter]. That's why I'm excited about where we have a chance to go defensively because we're going to be so competitive at almost every position.

 

ArmySports.com:  Speaking of Antuan Aaron in 2009 he had nice sophomore season but last year he missed the opener with a groin pull. It seemed to cost him half a step that he couldn't afford to lose Aaron then hurt his hamstring and lost his starting spot and confidence. He didn't seem like the same player last year.

 

Chris Smeland: Yep, when Antuan's healthy I think he feels good about himself and we do too. When he's not 100% then he's off. That's always a concern but maybe if we can keep that position competitive and we have some guys who can go in and take a few series. We feel good about that and maybe we can manage Aaron through an entire season so he's feeling 100% down in and down out.


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