Wiggins Gaining Valuable Experience

Freshman cornerback Doug Wiggins graduated from high school early and enrolled at Miami for the spring semester. He has been participating in spring practice as an early enrollee, and has had a good experience so far.

"Practice is going just great," Wiggins said after practice on Tuesday. "We put in some new plays on defense. I'm just learning day by day and rep by rep."

Lately, Doug Wiggins has been given an increased dosage of playing time due to injuries at the cornerback position. He has played on both the first team and the second team as the nickel cornerback this spring, but still has a lot to learn. Luckily for him, he's enrolled on campus and practicing with the team before the bulk of freshmen arrive in the fall.

"Oh, it's a big, big advantage," Wiggins said about enrolling early. "I'm in school learning where every thing is at. I'm learning how work goes because it's really different. It's all about time management. I'm a step ahead of the freshmen that will be coming in. They wish they could be doing what I do. I talked to [DeMarcus] Van Dyke and the rest of the other guys and they wish they could be running plays with us right now."

Arriving early has helped Wiggins adjust to the speed of the college game, an adjustment that almost every freshman will tell you is difficult to make. Despite that, he has earned playing time on both defense as the nickelback and special teams as a returner, and expects to make a significant contribution in the fall.

"Right now they are working me at punt returner and kick returner. I'm just going out there and trying to do my best to learn the positions."

"The nickel position is one of the hardest positions to play, and getting here early and learning it was important. I'm running with both teams and learning every position, and I've been getting better. The coaches have just been telling me to work on adjusting to the speed of the game. The ball comes in much quicker. Once i get the speed of the game down and understand the plays better, I'll be good to go."

The process has not come without some growing pains, however. Wiggins has been penalized for pass interference once or twice in scrimmages. He attributes that to part of the learning process and explained that the coaches encouraged him afterwards.

"The coaches said I was in good position because of the types of defenses we play. The coaches told me not to loosen up and to keep going. That's what they want me to do, so that's what I'm going to do."

Wiggins will probably earn considerable playing time in the spring game this weekend. Should he continue to perform well, it's possible he could see significant time in Miami's defensive backfield during the fall.

"If I stay healthy, get stronger and faster, and understand the plays, I'll be on the field."

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