Cooper Learning New Position

Willie Cooper is one of four players adjusting to a new position this spring. He is doing what he can to help the team and has had a solid spring.

Willie Cooper is a safety that was moved to linebacker this spring. He is doing his best to remain positive and learn the position.

"It was just the best place to help out the team," Cooper said. "Coach asked me if I would switch and I said 'sure, wherever I can help out the team.'"

So far he has done well picking up the scheme at linebacker and has been in on a number of plays.

"I have been feeling pretty good," Cooper said. "It is a lot of learning and a lot of new things I have to go through. I am picking it up real well."

Cooper was one of four playes who changed positions this spring. James Bryant (LB to FB), Terrell Walden (CB to WR), and George Timmons (CB to RB) were the other three.

Coming out of St. Augustine High School in Northern Florida, nearly 40 miles south of Jacksonville, Cooper was the ninth best safety in the country according to

Cooper was the starting quarterback for St. Augustine and led the team to the Class 3A State Championship. As a senior he recorded 11 interceptions--the most in a season by any current Hurricane on the roster. As a junior he made 133 tackles.

On signing day he chose to attend Miami over Florida State in what he called a 'tough decision'. Florida was also in the mix for the talented safety.

Adjusting to linebacker from strong safety has been different in terms of scheme, but not what is demanded of him.

"Safety is a pretty physical position so the physical part of the position was not tough to adjust to," Cooper said. "Now it is the mental part that I am adjusting to. I just have to know coverages and the technical aspect of linebacker."

Learning Miami's base 4-3 cover two defense is not very tricky. However, keeping up with the new blitz packages is something that a player must keep up with.

"It is a pretty base defense," Cooper said. "With the guys behind me helping out they are pretty much simplifying it for me. The coaches are breaking it down for me so I am learning it real quick."

Cooper has stated the strong support group from his teammates and coaching staff. They have encouraged him from the beginning and think highly of his ability.

"I have a lot of linebackers and coaches behind me and telling me to stick with it," Cooper said. "It is only a matter of time and things will be rolling."

At 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds he understands that he will need to add weight in order to be effective.

"Of couse I have to get a lot bigger because I am hitting bigger guys," Cooper said. "The physical aspect of it, I probably have to improve a little bit. But I use my quickness and speed to my advantage."

Practice resumes tomorrow at 3 pm and concludes on Saturday with the spring game at Lockhart Stadium.

"The spring is a time for us to get better," Cooper said. "It is also a time for us to see where we are at as a team. I think our spring is going well. We have a lot of guys improving especially a lot of young guys."

Christopher Stock is a Senior Writer & Assistant Editor for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at

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