Interview with CB Coach Charles Kelly

Coach Charles Kelly and Coach Dave Wommack have a lot of options in the secondary this season with the increased depth and talent on the squad. Coach Kelly talks about the battles for starting positions, the newcomers to the secondary, and some changes on the punt coverage team.

With all the options in the secondary, how does Rashaad Reid fit into your plans?

"Rashaad right now is in a battle. He could wind up starting. We're working him at two positions. He's worked some at the wolf position and he can play both corners. He was a little bit under the weather last week, so that sort of slowed him down a little bit. It's been good competition between those guys. I think anytime you have competition it makes guys better. If a guy feels I'm going to be that guy, he gets in that comfort zone and sometimes he doesn't push himself."

Is it likely that Dominique Reese and Mario Butler are going to start?

"Coming off the field today, and that could change, I would say that today Mario probably had a little bit better day. Like I said, that could change. There's nothing set in stone."

Can you talk a little about the two freshmen, Roderick Sweeting and Jemea Thomas?

"I'll tell you what. Rod's got a lot of natural ability. He's everything we thought he would be ability-wise when we recruited him. He has really good instincts. He still has to clean some things up on what we do because we do a lot of stuff. He just needs to put his eyes in the right place."

"Jemea is very similar. He can do a lot of things. He's a physical player. He still has to work getting his eyes in the right place."

There seems to be less depth at safety than at cornerback so of the two is it a possibility that Rod could redshirt?

"You know, that's tough. My plans right now are for him to play. That's what we talked about. I think he's a good enough player. He's a little bit different than some of the other guys that we've got. He gives you some different things and he gives you some different combinations."

When you're recruiting someone for the secondary, is there anything in particular that you're looking for?

"The number one thing I think is how they play the ball in the air. Everybody wants a cookie cutter guy. We're looking for size and speed, but I think what it comes down to when you look at your best DB's some are a little faster than others. Being able to play the ball and being physical are important. We're not necessarily looking for a linebacker-type, but being able to get guys on the ground is what we're looking for. Those two things are what we're trying to get in."

Are there any players on offense that you've looked at that you'd like to have for the secondary?

"I'm not trying to avoid this question but this is the truth. When you've been in camp like we are, you get so zoned in on your guys. I've seen Stephen Hill, Bay Bay (Demaryius Thomas), Orwin Smith, Anthony Allen and Jonathan Dwyer. You see those guys make plays and say boy that's impressive, but you don't study them enough to say I'd like to have them."

Conversely, is there anyone in the secondary that you think the offense would like to have?

"I think Rod Sweeting would make a good wide receiver. Jemea could have been a good a-back. A couple of guys like that could play offense."

Have you made any changes in punt coverage this year personnel-wise?

"A little bit. Our gunners have changed. We have Sedric Griffin back in there a little bit more. That's the one we really need him on the most. We'll mix and match a couple of gunners. We'll have Jemea and Jerrard as the gunners."


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