Rod Council brings toughness to secondary

5-11, 185-pound <b>Rod Council</b>, a talented redshirt freshman from Charlotte, North Carolina, has quickly solidified his spot at cornerback this spring, and provides a much needed physical presence for the Carddinals in the secondary.

Rod Council most assuredly is Virginia Tech's loss, and the University of Louisville's gain.

Council, a 5-11, 185-pound cornerback from West Charlotte (NC) High School, committed to Frank Beamer as a senior, but didn't sign with the Hokies after his arrest for theft of computer equipment just days before national signing day.

Now, though, Council is making a big impact for Bobby Petrino's Cardinals. Not only has Council flourished in the classroom - his academic performance has earned him a spot on the Dean's list - he's also earned a spot atop the depth chart at the corner position opposite returning starter William Gay.

A former Super Prep All-American, Council redshirted last season. However, according to cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt, Jr., Council possessed the talent and ability to have seen action last season as a true freshman.

"He would have played last year if he wouldn't have had to sit out with the clearing house issue," said Whitt. "But sitting out was the best thing for him because he got to watch Antoine Harris and William Gay play and learn."

So far this spring, Council has looked like a sure-fire starter at corner next fall. During a recent practice, Council showed the versatility that has coaches and onlookers excited about his potential. On one sequence, he lowered the boom on 6-3, 250-pound Michael Bush, stopping him cold as he tried to turn the corner and gain yards up the sideline. Then, minutes later, he broke up a Brian Brohm pass intended for 6-6 receiver Mario Urrutia, showing great instincts in coverage.

"I think I bring phyisicality to the corner," said Council. "I'm trying to become a better cover corner. I just want to show them (coaches) that I can be a complete corner - being physical and covering. I'm focused on my adjustments, and learning the package right now."

Whitt's been pleased with Council's development, as well as the competitive fire he's displayed on the field.

"I think he's played well, but he has a long way to go," Whitt said. "He's learning how to play on this level, but he can be a really good corner. He's not afraid to compete, and he's not afraid of anything. That's the great thing about him at corner."

"He's as mean as they come - and I mean that in a good way," Whitt added. "He's not going to let anybody out there be tougher than him on the football field. And he's a smart kid. He understands how to play the game, and he's a competitor. Those are the type of kids we're looking for."

Perhaps the biggest challenge the rest of the spring for Council is learning to become a consistent performer - something he's proven capable so far this spring.

"To be able to play in the Big East against the type of talent we'll face down after down he's got to become more consistent," Whitt said. "It's easy to go out there and play three plays, and then give up a play. You've got to be solid every play, especially in our package."

How deos Whitt intend to ensure consistent performance from Council?

"Just stay on him," he said. "He's getting better, and understanding that we're not going to get beat if we don't give up the deep ball. He's so aggressive that I've had to get him to understand that he's got to pull off just a hair and not give up that deep ball, and we'll break for everything underneath."

"He's been consistent," Whitt added. "He had a pretty good scrimmage on (Monday), and I'm interested to see how he does this next one. Can he do it two weeks in a row?"

The bet here is that he can.

"He's stronger and quicker (this spring)," Whitt said. "He's a well-built kid. To play corner you have to have a lot of balance. And that's what he does. He's a great athlete, and has a lot of ability."

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