One of the more intriguing moves thus far in fall camp has been Jeremy Clark’s switch from corner to safety. The Big Ten Network team that descended upon Ann Arbor Wednesday noted that the redshirt junior was running with the ones at corner during practice. While that isn’t necessarily indicative of the plan for two weeks from now, it does signal that former Michigan All American and current Big Ten Network studio analyst Marcus Rays was onto something when he suggested the move last spring.
“Athletically he can transition into it,” said Ray. “I thought he was a corner naturally anyway. He was just a taller corner. ”
“When you play safety everything is in front of you in the middle of the field. Charles Woodson and I were talking about this two months ago in Ann Arbor… how he made the transition and how he sees the game differently from a safety position. When you’re a safety, it’s like a two-way go for you. Things are happening on the right, things are happening on the left. You have to be a good space player whenever a guy squirts through the middle or a receiver catches the ball. And you have to do a lot more thinking. You have to direct traffic, you have to worry about everybody else. When you play corner you can just focus on one assignment and make sure you execute. The game is played from an angle instead of in front of you. So everything that happens is either deep, behind you or it’s going to happen at a 45-degree angle where it’s like an outside run play or whether it’s a bubble-screen. Then the part where it’s less thinking, if I’m a cover-two corner and all I’m thinking about is I’ve got the flats. I’m going to try and jam those outside receivers. And I’m going to sit in this area. So I think for Jeremy, he will excel if his role is diminished as a communicator, as a thinker, and as a guy that has to adjust to every formation. He just needs to get the call from a safety and then go play football.“
“He’s a good football player. We’re talking about a guy that is that tall, 6-3 with his shoes off, 205 lbs., who can run and hit. He’s that physical, he just couldn’t be as physical from the safety position because it just wasn’t his game as far as playing with everything happening in front of him. So that’s why I thought in the spring he would be a great addition. He could match up well in the red zone with taller receivers and he has the footwork and the long arms to get jams in bump-and-run coverage. If he gets coached up then I don’t think the transition will be difficult at all.”
So far so good.