Plenty of Competition at CB

Bruce Johnson is a 5-foot-10, 170-pound cornerback from Live Oak who played in nine games as a freshman in 2005. This spring he is competing for a starting cornerback position.

Earlier today the Hurricanes completed their eighth spring practice after two days off following a scrimmage Saturday that was dominated by the defense.

"Today's practice was a little shakey because we added something new to the defense," Johnson said. We are just getting used to it and it is like that every time we put a new defense in, but tomorrow we will have it right."

This spring Bruce Johnson, Glenn Sharpe, Randy Phillips, and Carlos Armour are competing for two starting cornerback positions.

"Everybody is coming along good," said Johnson. "Everybody is battling and they want those spots. Everybody knows what they have to do and it's going to be tough. We'll just have to see in the first game who will be starting."

Johnson has been doing well this spring.

"I have been feeling good. I had one bad practice, but after that I have been doing good. I've just been trying to do my best and stay consistent," said Bruce.

In addition to competing for a starting cornerback position, Johnson is one of three players competing for punt returner duties.

"That is coming along real good," Johnson said. "I like it a lot. I did it a lot in high school, but last year I just wanted to learn the defense instead of worrying about being a returner."

Darnell Jenkins and Anthony Reddick are the other two players being used at punt returner.

As a true freshman Johnson played in nine games last season. The learning experience was good for Johnson, who admits he is learning more about defensive concepts than when he arrived on campus.

"I learned a lot last year, but last year I was off a lot just and wasn't doing things how they wanted me to. I was trying to do things my way. But now, I see what they are saying and I am more consistent with it. I am meeting with the coaches and getting concepts down. I am learning a lot more now than I did last year."

Bruce Johnson changed his jersey number from number 29 to number 22 this spring.

Many people thought it was because departed senior Kelly Jennings wore number 22 and is also Bruce's uncle.

But that isn't the case.

"Most people think that is the reason, but number 29 didn't look good. I just wanted a better looking number," Johnson said.

Not only does number 22 look better, but he now his locker in the "hole" which is a popular area in the lockerroom led by Brandon Meriweather.

"They take a lot of pride in the hole and I wanted to be closer to them," said Bruce.

Meriweather returns as the team's leading tackler as well as a number of key players from the nation's number four defense in 2005.

"Everything is going pretty well out here this spring," Johnson said. ""The linebackers and d-line are playing real good. They are stopping everything. We don't have that much at depth at cornerback, but we are still holding up."

Practice resumes Wednesday at 3:20 p.m., but remains closed to the public.

Christopher Stock is a Senior Editor with a CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@canestime.com


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