Redshirt freshman Gavin Smart made the switch from wide receiver to cornerback this spring and showed great promise during spring drills. Smart received a lot of reps with the second team defense and gained quick recognition with his play throughout the spring.
Blessed with natural athletic ability and speed, Smart possesses all the necessary physical skills to become a great cover corner. He's one of the fastest players on the team, has good hips and and changes direction well. All ingredients of an excellent cover corner.
Smart talked with ITV following the spring game and talked about his progress at corner this spring.
ITV: Talk about your switch from receiver to corner this spring.
Smart: Oh man it's going good. It's a good thing I switched because I've got a better chance to play now and we've got these real good coaches now. I'm coming along very well. See I played offense before and that gives me an advantage on defense. It's going great.
ITV: Talk a little about those advantages having played receiver.
Smart: Playing defensive back helps me read the receiver and I've played receiver so I know the different things they got to do to breakdowns. It helps me to drive them.
ITV: What areas do you feel need improvement in your game?
Smart: I got to switch up the technique. Usually playing offense I'm running forward but playing DB I'm running backwards.
ITV: How challenging an adjustment is that?
Smart: It's real big. I thought it wasn't that big but it's real big. It's a big adjustment. All the changes all the techniques, I have to learn a different technique, a different style of running, everything.
ITV: Are learning those things simply a matter of repetition?
Smart: Yeah, it's just a matter of reps. I came along very well.
ITV: What do you feel are your strengths playing corner?
Smart: I have speed. That's my major area and I have a good change of direction. I can change real quick. I was one of the fastest guys on the team in changing direction and in speed and I can use that to my advantage.
ITV: Coach Whitt uses the term hips a lot when talking about corners. What does that mean?
Smart: Hips. He was a receiver coach also so we're basically reading the offensive guys hips. If they break down, he's breaking down and stopping. If they turn in, he's going in. If they turn out, he's going out. And for us our hips we always have to keep our hips on a swivel because we have to turn left, turn right and maintain the same speed also.
ITV: Who's the one receiver on offense you don't want to line up against during practice?
Smart: Broderick Clark. He's a quick guy. He's real good. He's good in every aspect off the ball. You can't really read his hips and see what he's going to do.
ITV: What are your expectations for next season?
Smart: Be the best!
QB Justin Rascati
ITV: With your first full spring under your belt with the new system how do you feel about your position?
Rascati: You can see tonight that this offense is great. All spring Sephon and I had to learn the offense all over again, and it was a struggle at the beginning of spring but as the weeks progressed we progressed too. Going into the summer we have something to build on.
ITV: What do you feel like you need to work on the most?
Rascati: Learn the offense better with my progression and stuff like that, get stronger and faster always helps and get in the film room and study the plays. It's going to be a battle all summer and next fall.