Cross-training For Secondary Depth

There seems to be a lot of cross-training going on in the Cougar camp. During Monday's early practice, the defensive secondary got a bit of a changeup as first-team players dropped down to the second team, allowing second-team players to gain more experience.

There is quality depth in the secondary and some of that depth received a chance to excel at a higher level Monday. As has been the case from time to time, second-string cornerback Corby Eason was switched out for first-team starter Brandon Bradley.

"It was a good chance for us to get some experience and build that confidence against the first team," said Eason.

Allowing some second-string performers to move up onto the first-string defense during practice provides some additional benefits for the younger players.

"It was a chance for them to get in there and talk and get used to the communication and all those things that are supposed to go on," said Bradley. "I just feel like it was a great opportunity for them to get that experience and build that confidence to know they can play against the ones and keep that level of play where it should be. Bradley, along with strong safety Andrew Rich, worked out with the second-team secondary. Joining Eason in the switch to the first team was safety Jray Galea'i, and Bradley said he thought they did a really good job.

Meanwhile, the move allowed Rich and Bradley to be examples and set the level of expectation for the younger developing players.

"With me and Andrew being with the twos, it was a good chance for us to help the younger guys know what's going on," Bradley said. 'They can look over and ask us what's going on if they need to. It's a chance for us to all communicate to make sure everyone is on the same page, and the younger guys get to learn and see how we do things out there."

Along with depth development, the coaching staff is also using the situation to evaluate players on an individual basis. It was also a chance for the coaching staff to further aid in the conclusion of finalizing who plays well with whom.

"We're trying to make some hard personnel choices and trying to get as many reps as we need to in the right situations to players and give them a chance to be evaluated," said Mendenhall. "And so we can solidify as soon as possible who is going to be playing with whom, and so I think Jray responded well and we'll have to see, but that was the intent."

"Our standard as a defense is no matter who is in, you have to come ready to play at the same level as the guy who was in before you," said Bradley. "I just feel that today was a chance for some of the younger guys to go with the ones and go against the offensive first team for us to have a better understanding of what we have."

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