Q & A: Derrick Tatum
Q: Derrick, what's the biggest difference you see for your senior year than for the first three?
A: I'm healthy this year. I understand cornerback a lot better and I have a coach that wants to see me succeed more than any coach I've ever had. He's coaching me a lot better than I've ever been coached.
Q: What does McGriff do differently than what Coach Smith did with you before?
A: He's more fundamentally sound. He started from the basics. He started from my stance to my back pedal to my transition out of my stance and I think that's what I needed. I needed to start from the fundamentals and he's helped me get a lot better over the next few months.
Q: Will we see you guys line up, head up on the ball, more man to man, bump and run or you guys going to lay back, a combination of both?
A: We're going to play more aggressive this year. Last year we were too soft. We gave guys too much respect. We're going to make guys respect us more. We were off 7,8 yards, 9 yards sometimes and we were giving them, literally giving them 7, 6 yards. We're going to make work for that now, we're going to get in your face, we're going to mix it up a little bit, use different techniques.
A: I'm on the right side so we're come out there and I have to hold them down. But they have a good receiver, he's JUCO named James Taylor. I know him because I played football against him twice in high school so I know he's a great player. So we're not underestimating nobody, we're coming in there with the attitude that we have to make plays and that's the bottom line. I don't care who's out there, we have to make plays. We didn't make enough play last year and this year we're looking to make a lot more plays.
Q: Is there any receiver out there you cannot shut down?
A: No. No. Right now I feel like I can dominate anybody. I can play with anybody and I know that, and I didn't feel like that 2 years ago, or last year, but now I feel like with how much I've progressed from last year to this year, I feel like it's going to be hard to get open on me.
Q: What are your personal goals for this year?
A: I have a lot of goals. I want to make plays. Six picks, 15 pass breakups, something like that, something where you can see me making plays. I played ok last year but I didn't make enough plays and that's the difference between the best and the average corners, the best corners make plays all the time.
Q: A lot of people harp about not turning around for the ball the last two or three years, is Coach teaching you all to turn, go for the pick, go for the ball?
A: We play so much man to man that our eyes are always on a receiver so we have problems sometimes locating the ball. But we've been working on that a lot this off season. Looking at the ball, breaking on the ball, look at the ball, find the ball. I think this year, with everything coming together, the coaches are all on the same page, the staff is tighter now and I think it's going to be a surprising year for us.
Q: How about the defense in general, do you see it being another year in Goodner systems helping you guys out overall?
A: Last year was a learning phase for us and I feel like now we know the scheme, I know where my help is, I know where everybody's going to be, so it's going to help us tremendously. We're looking for a big year from our whole D-line, from the linebackers, all the secondary. I think everybody is going to have a better year than last ye