Cougar corners ranked nationally

The secondary is one area the Cougar coaches have found very difficult to recruit for, but they have found much success over the past couple of years with the players they've developed. This year's cornerback tandem of Corby Eason and Preston Hadley have been a very productive one ranked among the nation's best in pass breakups.

Many may not know this, but BYU's cornerbacks Corby Eason and Preston Hadley are ranked sixth in the nation in pass breakups.

"It feels good to know that," said Hadley. "We put in a lot of work here and our position coach, Coach Howell, really works us a lot. He really puts a big emphasis on technique and making sure our technique is perfect, and I just think it's paying off. Things like that come from hard work and great coaching.

"It's cool and all, but in the end I think what's most important is if the team is winning. I think that's what's most important, so as long as we're winning games and not giving up touchdowns I think that's what's most important more than anything."

For Hadley to be ranked among the nation's best in the pass breakup category is pretty amazing given the fact he didn't get a chance to start at Pleasant Grove High School until his senior year. Then while walking on at Snow Junior College, he was cut after his first attempt to make the team.

"Coming from Snow J.C., I've learned a lot about route concepts and how the concepts work with each other," Hadley said. "When you understand route concepts, you know how they're trying to attack you. Coming from Snow, we really didn't know much about those things.

"We were just taught to take out number one or do bump and run coverage. I've had to really learn route concepts and how those might be used in certain situations. Corby [Eason] and Travis [Uale] have really helped me out with that a lot with becoming a student of the game.

"Corby and I talk all the time. He and I usually ride home together, and there have been a couple of times when we talk about specific plays and how he knows what play is coming. I think once you get to this level, there are so many guys who are big and fast but lack the mental part. Corby has helped me out a lot in that aspect.

"Corby is so smart and is so well prepared that he can take some of what the other guys might bring to the field away. A lot of that comes from the mental side of the game and through preparation, so that part of the game I try to have too, as well as be solid with my technique."

Hadley also credits the Cougar coaching staff for his development.

"I think a lot of our success comes from our coaches and the expectations and preparation they've give us," Hadley said. "I think a lot of the success that's done on the field comes from what happens off of it. We do a lot of film studying and analyzing players, route combinations and understanding what our opponents are going to run."

That same never-quit, never-say-die work ethic that eventually got him noticed by college recruiters is now paying dividends for Hadley. But, he isn't going to rest on the success he's had so far.

"I don't really know what to say other than I'm not going to let that go to our heads," Hadley said. "Me and Corby work really hard and want to turn those pass breakups into interceptions. That's what we want to do, so hopefully we can start to turn that around and be ranked among that category too.

"We have to continue eliminating big plays. If you look around at some of the best DBs in the country, they might not always be the biggest or fastest guys on the field but they have great technique and great footwork. This is something that we've been working on a lot over this past bye week to really get ready for Hawaii and stuff."

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