Howard Toughens Up

After patiently waiting his turn, Brandon Howard is waiting no more. Howard wants to see the field as a mainstay at the field cornerback position. Having adjusted to the defensive side of the ball out of high school, he feels he now has the goods to be a regular contributor on defense.

"I'm just working hard. It's all about hard work," said Howard. "I have the opportunity to start and I need to hold on to that, to keep it and secure it this spring. I'll be getting a lot of reps this spring and I need to do everything I can to show coaches every day that I can get it done."

Howard came to BYU with a set of very lively and capable feet which have consistently shown well during defensive back drills. Having good ability to change direction and burn with said feet is a must for any Division 1 cornerback. Mission accomplished in that regard with Howard.

"I'm confident in my coverage ability," said Howard. "I can change direction as well as anyone and keep up with anyone. I now feel comfortable in every drill we run."

What Howard has lacked since arriving at BYU is a good defensive mindset, having played next to no defense during his high school years. Since his arrival he has worked hard to switch his mindset and to get tough.

"I want to be physical. I want to come up and hit and hit guys hard," said Howard. "I want to let guys know that even though they're looking at this dude who is 5'9" and 165 pounds that I got a lot more than I look like I have."

Howard has been working hard in the weight room to build up a frame that can take on running backs on the edge and big receivers in the flat. He reported to camp at close to 170 pounds, but has since lost some weight due to the intense workouts.

"I want to go up and hit some guys and show them that I've improved," said Howard. "I feel that I've worked hard to get bigger and tougher in the offseason and I can't wait to show that."

Howard has had to wait due to his high school foot problem flaring up, which Howard believes is behind him, as he plans on missing no more practice for the rest of the spring and into the season. "It's all good," said Howard regarding his foot. "No worries there, I'm good to go."

Gaining weight and muscle of course, is only part of the battle in taking on guys in the open field. One has to develop attitude and a degree of stubbornness to not get beat and to take on whatever comes their way. Safety Quinn Gooch believes that Howard and the other cornerbacks he's competing against have developed that necessary attitude.

"I have a lot of confidence in the guys competing for the field corner spot," said Gooch. "Guys like Howard, Sauls [Andre Saulsberry], Scott Johnson, of course Kayle [Buchanan], all of them. I don't want to single any one of them out, but they're all competitors and whoever plays, we'll have a lot of confidence in them just like we did with the guys last year."

"I'm a lot tougher mentally this spring," said Howard. "I know I have a lot of work to do, but I'm willing to do it. The biggest thing is to be tough mentally and physically, which is something I've worked hard on since I got here. Now I feel that I'm at the point where I can really compete and help this team."

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