Bowl game experiences boosted Waynes for 2013

Sophomore cornerback stepped in for injured Johnny Adams in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl and hasn't looked back since as he heads into a starting role in 2013.

When Michigan State lost senior cornerback Johnny Adams to injury before the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl last year, they called upon then-redshirt freshman Trae Waynes to step in.

That experience was invaluable for Waynes, who enters the season expected to start at corner.

"It was a big deal because it definitely helped me come into this season," Waynes said. "It helped me get a lot of chemistry with a lot of starters on the team."

The experience could have come sooner and defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi said he regrets not getting Waynes on the field more in 2012. It was a big play allowed in the Central Michigan game which Narduzzi said kept Waynes from seeing more playing time.

"It kind of took the wind out of your sails because you gave him a few snaps and he gave up a post," Narduzzi said. "Then the rest of year, you're going, ‘Stay right there on the sideline, you aren't going anywhere.'

"Then he got in for the bowl game and plays like a starter and has been like ever since. It's like, ‘Why didn't you tell us you got it? We could have gotten you in earlier in the year and give Johnny and Darqueze (Dennard) a blow.'"

Now, Waynes is set to take over for Adams, a spot he welcomes.

"They are pretty high," he said. "I just want to build off last year and try to get better and till the void that Johnny left.

"He was a great player. I just gotta try to play my game and do what I know how to do."

Defensive backs coach Harlon Barnett said Waynes brings a couple different tangibles to the MSU defense.

"He is probably a little bit faster than Johnny and he is bigger than Johnny – taller," Barnett said. "Of course, Johnny had the experience on Trae.

"He is getting better and better and better ever since the bowl game, it seemed like everything just clicked in his mind and he has been playing well ever since with confidence. Everything. Even throughout spring ball and the first couple days of practice, so I am excited."

Waynes said this offseason consisted of a lot of hard work to be ready for his increased role on the defense.

"I worked my hardest – I just worked," Waynes said. "Me and my roommate, Andre Sims, Jr., we came in and did extra footwork, one on ones and stuff like that. Just the little things that will help."

With all the work, Barnett said Waynes is showing what MSU envisioned from him all along.

"We are excited about him," Barnett said. "He is becoming the player that we thought he could be to be honest with you. We recruited him and had him come to camp and we saw the ability there and now he is just showing it."

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