Moved during the offseason by Coach Petrino and staff to the defensive side of the ball, Sharp feels like the transition from offense is going well.
Sharp (5) stride for stride
with WR Harry Douglas (ITV)
"The biggest challenge is [learning] the technique," Sharp continued. "When you go from receiver to defensive back it's totally opposite. So you have to get out of that mode and just work on your technique. I have all spring to work on it and come back in the summer and compete for a starting job."
Since moving to the secondary, Sharp has shown a natural ability to run stride for stride with wide receivers opposite him and has displayed solid cover skills for a player who hasn't played defense since high school.
"Yeah, I feel that's one of my strength's," Sharp said of his ability to cover. "I can cover but I've just got to work harder on it. I want to be the best cover guy out there and I've just got to work harder each day."
Sharp will focus on improving his technique this spring under the guidance of second year cornerback coach Joe Whitt.
"I just [need to improve] little things such as footwork and hand placement," Sharp said. "And that just comes with repetitions so it will come."
One of the biggest differences for Sharp is the change from being the hunted on offense to now being the hunter as a defender.
"That's something I've got to get used to," Sharp said with a laugh. "Today I got kind of yelled at because I didn't come up as hard and make the hit. I haven't played defense in a while so that part will come. I know tomorrow I'm going to come up and make some hits because they don't have to tell me more than once what to do."
Once part of a talented and deep corp of receivers that includes J.R. Russell, Montrell Jones, Joshua Tinch and Broderick Clark, Sharp knows the talents and the abilities of the guys he lines up across each day all too well.
"There's a lot of talent there," Sharp said of his former unit. "They're all good receivers and they each bring something special to the table. And even the young guys like Harry [Douglas] and Todd [Brigman] bring something to the table."
On Saturday, Sharp found himself matched up on the outside with the 6'2, 205 Jones on a deep sideline route. Matching the Tennessee transfer stride for stride, Sharp used his size, strength and leaping ability to jump up and deflect the pass from the physical receiver.
"Of course," Sharp said when asked if Jones was the most physical of the U of L receivers to go up against. "He's pretty tough. You've got to be very physical with him to cover him one on one."
Currently running second team behind corners William Gay and Antoine Harris, Sharp says the returning players in the secondary have helped him make the transition and show good leadership ability as the Cardinals last line of defense.
"All the guys that played last year are good leaders," Sharp said. "They've been helping me and they're all pretty good at leading in the secondary."