Simon Says

Tharold Simon got his share of snaps in 2010 as a true freshman. The talented cornerback has evolved from a part-time starter to a leader in a secondary that needs a calming effect. Simon reports that he is ready to answer the call.

With Coach John Chavis looking to replace three starters in his secondary, a veteran like Simon can help ease some of the growing pains that may occur.

"I feel great about my role on the team," said Simon. "I come out here everyday and practice hard with my teammates.

"I worked out hard this summer with all of the other guys, so I have a lot more confidence in myself this year."

The 6-3, 190 pounder reports that the defensive backs spent a lot of time together in the off season in an effort to sharpen their skills.

"During the summer workouts there were a lot of things we did on our own," said Simon. "We come out as a group and worked very hard as a group.

"We watch film on some of the top NFL DBs and try to learn something. We critique what they do and try to add it to what we do.

"I watch a lot of highlights and I try to see if I can pick up something from them."

Simon reports that his film study is not just restricted to the professional game. A pair of college peers have his respect.

"I really like the corner from North Carolina State (David Amerson)and I like the corner from Mississippi State (Johnthan) Banks," explained Simon. "They are big, tall corners like me and they have great ball skills.

"I like to see what they have going on."

The junior corner has two years of experience under his belt. Simon reports that he was once that newcomer needing a pat on the back.

"I just have more confidence now," said Simon of becoming an underclassman. "My teammates were always pumping me up and giving me good compliments.

"Everybody always told me to go hard, practice hard and play hard.

"I am telling these young guys the same thing everybody told me."

While there will be some fresh faces on the Tiger two deep, Simon has a lot of confidence in the secondary's ability to make plays.

"We can be real good," said Simon. "The depth in the secondary is great.

"We have a lot of talent with the starters and the back ups have the ability to step in and play hard if somebody goes down or somebody gets tired.

"We feel like anyone of us can get on the field and make plays."

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