Bedford has Corners Achieving Goals

Gong into the 2008 national championship season, the Gators biggest question mark was at the cornerback position. One year later and they may be considered the biggest strength of the team outside of a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback. Coach Vance Bedford helped mold an extremely young bunch into a very dynamic group and he likes his chances with a group that returns intact.

If you would have told Urban Meyer that he would have to start a freshman and a sophomore at cornerback all season, he would have told you there was no way of winning the SEC with that. Well, he would have been wrong for last season.

One year later and Joe Haden is a junior preseason All-American candidate and Janoris Jenkins is a sophomore All-American candidate. The starters have to be considered the top tandem in college football. Their next step is to be leaders for this team and Bedford likes what e has seen in the offseason from his dynamic duo.

"Both of them have leadership possibilities," Bedford said. "Joe leads by example where Janoris has really come out of his shell. I think him getting older, he is feeling more comfortable and getting a little more vocal as a leader."

The two probably don't have to lead the next group. Florida has the luxury of having two seniors that have both started before,as the top backups at cornerback heading into 2009. Wondy Pierre-Louis and Markihe Anderson will play a lot in 2009 no matter what happens.

"We feel confident with those guys, they've both played quite a bit," Bedford said. "Wondy was the starter before we got here, Janoris just played outstanding, but we feel real comfortable with those guys."

Sophomore Moses Jenkins has more size than any of the group at 6-2, 190 pounds. He hasn't played much on defense, but Bedford has seen a lot of him on special teams and cannot wait till he gets a real chance to show what he can do on the defensive side of the ball.

"Moses Jenkins was a good special teams player last year and he gained confidence," Bedford said. "I am hoping over the next year he starts to compete because athletically, he can be outstanding. He just needs to stay in there and make some plays when he gets the opportunity."

One guy that they will be cautious with throughout the early fall and maybe further is redshirt freshman Jeremy Brown. Brown sustained a back injury a year ago and is still having lingering effects.

"Jeremy Brown's back is something he will have to deal with," Bedford said. "It's a day to day thing with him. So far in the offseason he has done a pretty good job, but we won't know until we start getting into the practice how well he will do."

One corner to look out for is fellow redshirt freshman Adrian Bushell. Bushell was a spring dynamo and maybe played better than any of them in the spring. Bedford says he isn't sure what to expect, but Bushell will have to earn it on special teams first.

"Special teams...he has to play on special teams and earn some playing time," Bedford said emphatically. "Janoris was over there and did it every day in practice and did it at a high level. You never know how freshmen will play, I never get too excited about them and I never get too down on them."

Bedford says this is a goal oriented group and the goals are up there this year. They also know they have to and they want to be a part of special teams which makes them a special group in its own way.

"They have set high goals for themselves as a team this year," Bedford said. "They have to (be on special teams), Joe Haden is on the kickoff team and the punt team,. Ahmad Black is on the punt team. All those guys, they have to play on special teams."

It was one of the more dramatic turnarounds for any unit in all of college football last season. Now, everyone is back with a year of experience and this looks to be a special year for a group that Gator fans don't have to worry about any more.


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