Post spring insider: CBs (part II)

CLEMSON - There is a line in the 1996 movie called "Jerry Maguire" where Cuba Gooding, Jr.'s character tells Tom Cruise (Jerry Maguire) to "show him the money."

Now Clemson defensive backs coach Charlie Harbison understands he isn't going to get any money from his players if he was to tell them that, especially considering their all amateur athletes still in college, but the veteran coach is demanding the same kind of respect the Rod Tidwell (Gooding, Jr.) character was demanding from his agent Jerry Maguire and his team, the Arizona Cardinals.

"They have to show me in practice," Harbison said.

Harbison says that's the key this year for anyone who wants to play in the secondary. It doesn't matter to him if they have played or not in the past.

"I put guys out there that can play and can make plays," he said. "You can't put a guy out there that isn't ready or hasn't played all season. That's not realistic.

"Everybody has a role. I put guys out there that are going to do their job and do their role. Then you go from there."

Harbison is loaded with guys in the secondary that can do their part, including cornerback Crezdon Butler, who has 10 career interceptions, including four last year to tie the other starting corner, Chris Chancellor, for second on the team.

After that, he has Byron Maxwell, Marcus Gilchrist, Xavier Brewer and Coty Sensabaugh to choose from. And with the exception of Brewer, they have all played significant minutes the last couple of years.

"You can call a lot of names, but when those live bullets start flying, who is going to respond," Harbison asked. "Spring is spring, but game day is game day."

Crezdon Butler (6-foot, 185 pounds, senior, Asheville, N.C.)
About: Has started every game the last two seasons. Had a strong junior season with four interceptions. He also recorded 52 tackles last year. He has 10 career interceptions the most among all active Tigers. He has played in 39 consecutive games. Has 147 career tackles, including seven tackles for a loss. Also he has two fumble recoveries and 12 takeaways for his career.

The positives: He has very good instincts and hands. Does a great job jumping routes. Is also very fast and seldom is beat in one-on-one coverage. Also, he is a good hitter and covers ground fast.


Marcus Gilchrist will see time at cornerback and free safety during preseason camp. (Roy Philpott/CUTigers.com)

The negatives: He isn't the strongest player on the team and he needs to improve on wrapping up when he attempts to make tackles. He doesn't always need to lay the big blow.

Marcus Gilchrist (5-foot-11, 185 pounds, junior, High Point, N.C.)
About: Played safety and corner in 2008 and will more than likely play the same role this season. Has played in each of his 26 games at Clemson, including one start last season against Georgia Tech. Has 38 career tackles in his first two seasons.

The positives: He is a very active player in the secondary and has a nose for being around the football. Very good tackler and is one of the more physical players in the defensive backfield. He is one of the fastest players on the team.

The negatives: Doesn't have the best hands. Though he is physical, still needs to get stronger. His height is also a concern, especially if he plays safety in pass coverage situations.

Xavier Brewer (5-foot-11, 170 pounds, redshirt freshman, Jacksonville, Fla.)
About: The No. 13 cornerback in the nation by Scout.com, he totaled five interceptions as a senior after picking off six passes as a junior. He was the Florida Times-Union First-Team All-First Coast pick as a senior and was named to the Super 11 team in Florida by the Florida Times-Union. His father played for the Denver Broncos and his brother C.J. was a wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers.

The positives: He had a solid spring and seemed to thrive under the tutelage of secondary coach Charlie Harbison. Has very good speed and vision and is very coachable. Can be physical if he needs to. Had some of the harder hits in the spring.

The negatives: He needs to work on his fundamentals. He needs to get stronger and he needs to get a little bigger.


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