A new horizon for Comer

BYU's secondary is thin. And with the sad and unexpected season-ending injury to Trent Trammell, along with Mike Hague now being banged up, the urgency for someone to step up and compete at the boundary position has become ever so apparent. One player has answered the call, and he's going to make the most of it.

At 6 feet and 192 pounds, junior Cameron Comer looks physically molded for the boundary side cornerback position. He's big, rangy, physical and has a lot of natural ability that Coach Howell can work with.

"He needs a little more time but he's coming along," Coach Howell said. "Cam has a lot that can be worked with and he has a lot of potential we can develop. He just needs more reps and more time to get that part of his potential to where we want it."

On the first day of spring camp Comer picked off a pass and ran it back, all to the cheers of his teammates standing along the sidelines. He made a great play by cutting inside the receiver and, with outstretched hands, intercepting the pass. Since that first day his reps have increased, and now's he's getting that valuable rep time Coach Howell spoke of.

"I feel good but I'm a little tired," said Comer with a smile. "I just have to get back into the swing of things and dust the rust off a little more to be the old corner I used to be. I don't [care] what you do, it's always hard to prepare for BYU football."

Comer stepped aside last season to take care of some family matters, but with the recent rash of injuries to an already thin Cougar secondary, his return for spring ball is a welcomed sight.

"I'm happy to be back and with the team," Comer said. "I mean, it's been tough because of the way our new offense is running things now, but I'm glad to be back running around out there. It was tough when Robert [Anae] was first here with us, but now that he's back with this new up-tempo offense, it's even harder. You have to constantly run and that's what we're seeing on both sides of the ball. It's good."

Comer rejoined his teammates following the 2012 season. Once back at BYU, he jumped right in and went to work during the winter semester to prepare himself for spring camp.

"I think I was able to get my strength back up when I was working and lifting during the winter workouts," said Comer. "I think I just have to get back into football shape and really push myself. One thing is for sure: with this new offense we're running now, it probably won't take long because of all the running we're doing now."

Having been in BYU's program for a number of years now, Comer has faced the different Cougar offenses led by different offensive coordinators. He shared why he believes BYU's revamped offense will be more effective than in the past.

"I think they just try harder and there's more expectations and accountability now," Comer said. "I think those are the biggest differences along with the new offense and tempo that Coach Anae is bringing. I think what's going to really make this offense great is now the level of talent that we have here will match the level of effort and expectations.

"I think the scheme is great and it's really tough to defend because of how the players play in the offense. We saw what Coach Anae did down in Arizona and it worked really well. I don't see why what he was involved with doing down there can't work here. I think our offense is going to be really good."

Coach Anae has stated that the offense isn't quite where he wants it to be, and rightly so. A brand new offense that is fast-paced takes time to fine-tune.

"I think this type of offense has its pros and cons," said Comer. "It really all depends on how well the coaches can get the players to run it effectively and things like that. Right now they're trying to get used to the offense and so they're not as comfortable running it right now, but you can see how the offense is starting to take shape. I think when you add tempo to that, it makes it that much harder to execute.

"At the same time the offense is running a lot of plays and getting a lot of snaps off. That means they're getting a lot of reps and putting a lot of pressure on us as a defense because we don't know what they're going to do. We don't know what their tendencies are or even have an idea of what kind of plays and routes they're going to run. Usually we're a little used to what the offense is going to run, but that's not the case right now and so it makes it tougher on us."

Not only is the defense facing a new scheme, but according to Comer, it's a scheme that's harder to read anyway because of the tempo.

"What I think is happening is our defense doesn't have time to recognize what the offense is doing because there's no time to think," said Comer. "They know what they want to run as an offense whereas we don't, so they just line up and go and that makes it harder for us to get our keys to know what might be coming.

"Then what they do is they run different plays out of similar formations, but they do it so fast you don't get a chance to recognize, ‘Oh, when they lined up in this formation last time they ran this or that play.' Instead it makes you think, ‘Okay, I have to line up and cover this guy.' It makes you think of your assignment versus having time to gather yourself and get your keys."

When Comer stepped away from BYU, it was then that he learned what he truly had. It all became as clear to him as the rays of a new day's sun rising up over the horizon.

"I'm happy and it's good to be back playing football," said a smiling Comer as he looked out over the practice field. "It was tough but it really helped me to realize what I had. I really learned a lot by being away. I learned how much I really had and that's why I'm happy to be back.

"I also learned that just because you show up to play football doesn't mean it's going to make you a better football player. I kind of took that for granted in the past and just kind of went through the motions. When you really focus and put in hard work, that's when you become better. It kind of helped me to realize how much I had and that I have a lot of potential. I know I can accomplish a lot of things and that's what my focus is now."

While Coach Howell is happy to have another talented corner to mold within his secondary, Coach Mendenhall was also very happy to him back with the team. In the private confines of his office, Coach Mendenhall spoke caringly about him and openly expressed his joy of having Comer back.

"He was excited for me and saw that I came a long ways," Comer said about Mendenhall. "He knew that by me coming back it would be a stepping stone to helping me to grow as a person by being a part of the program. He's right and I've learned a lot and have grown so much. I have a little more time left so now my goal is to take advantage of what I have and make the best of it."

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