"Cornerbacks, but I work with the entire secondary, both Ron (Cooper) and I do.
"The number one thing was each kid tried to improve everyday. We had a goal each day of each kid trying to improve at least one thing. If you do that, usually you will improve in a lot of areas. To improve as a football player, you have to do the things you are supposed to do on the field and off the field because there is a carryover.
"Number two was to develop depth. We would love to have two-deep at every position; have two corners play at each position. We wanted to build their confidence. We wanted them to know that we will be committed to them if they do the things they are supposed to and prove to us that they can play. I don't think that we have had that situation here in the past.
"We also wanted them to learn the new scheme. It would be foolish to think that they will comprehend the entire scheme by the time spring training is over because it is just 15 days. But we wanted them to have a basic knowledge of what we were trying to do and the reasons for it. And understand formations; it all starts with formation recognition. If you can't recognize formations and check coverages, then you can't play.
"I was pleased with their attitude, the time they spent trying to learn the scheme.
"We made progress, but we still have a long way to go. We have a few more guys starting to talk and communicate with each other across the board. There is an old expression that I like, 'four guys playing as one'."
Talk about your players.
"Odell Bradley was very, very consistent throughout the spring."
Speaking of Odell, he didn't get to play much last year. I'm just curious as to why he didn't get redshirted.
"He tore a hamstring. He was coming along fine and he tore a hamstring. That injury made him miss at least four weeks and he never came back 100%. But he came back and played on kicking teams."
Had he played too many games to get a medical redshirt?
"Yes, it was the latter part of the season.
"He is going to be a good football player. He is a smart player; a tough kid who isn't shy about hitting you. I think he has a chance to be a complete player. He had a really, really good solid spring training in almost every category. There are still some things that he needs to work on in regard to when to come out of his back peddle, his shuffle, and trying to maintain his vertical cushion. That was the only area that I saw that he really needs to do a good job working on this summer."
What are you referring to when you say vertical cushion?
"I relate it to a vertical cushion and a lateral cushion. The vertical cushion is when the receiver closes on you and you have still not come out of your back peddle or your open shuffle and turned to sprint. If the guy gets close enough to touch you, then he has a chance to run by you man-to-man or zone. The zone concept is to keep everything in front of you."
How did Slovakia Griffith do this spring?
"Pee Wee Griffith, overall, had a good spring. He has good size, but he just has to get more physical and take advantage of being 190 pounds. He has a good attitude. He made some plays during the spring, but if he will go ahead and turn loose and be more of a physical player when he is supposed to be, then he will really be able to help this football team."
Does he have all the necessary athletic ability and speed to play cornerback in the SEC?
"He runs good, but he's not a speed merchant, but he has good size and good movement. The one area that I told the coaches we need to do a good job on was his confidence level. We needed to get it back up to where it used to be and let him build on it. Once your confidence level is where it is supposed to be, you naturally play better and become a better player."
Demetric Wright is another cornerback.
"I was pleased with Demetric Wright. He went through all the practices. He has always had a problem with injuries. We had a little scope on him last week where they cleaned up some things in his knee. Demetric, overall, had a good spring. He has good quickness. His attitude was really, really good. The thing he has to do is tackle a little higher so that he can protect himself a little bit."
David Heard is another cornerback that was on my two-deep depth chart.
"David Heard is a true first semester player. We signed him last year, but he got hurt and decided to withdraw from school and went home and rehabed his foot. I was pleased with David and his effort. He wants to be a player. It bothers him when he makes a mistake. You have to talk to him ever now and then about being patient because he is a true freshman. He will be a player some day. You have to sometimes tell yourself that this young man has only been here three and a half months. You always expect a lot out of them, but, in his case, you have to realize that he has only been here a short time. You have to be a little more patient with him than some of the older guys. I don't have a lot of patient with the older guys."
You guys moved Bernard Vinson late in the spring to cornerback.
"We moved him around a little bit. He had been at the Drop (linebacker) position and he has worked at the safety position. The last three days of the spring we worked him at cornerback. He has got good size and good testing ability; he can run and he can jump. And he is not afraid to hit you. He had a really good spring game. I think he had six unassisted, two assisted, caused a fumble and one pass broken up. He got beat deep once but that was a technique situation due to being new at the position. Bernard has a chance to help this football team, whether it is at the nickle back or as a sub or putting him back at the safety position. During the first part of two-a-days, we need to put him at a position and leave him where he can master the position so that he can recognize and understand what to do."
Talk about your other cornerbacks.
"(Freshman walk-on) Sam Myers (5-11, 190) is an inside player (a safety). Because of our depth problems at cornerback, we had Sam working at corner. If everybody approached practice like Sam, then everybody would be a lot better player than they are right now. He is a unique individual to be around. He is that way in every aspect of his life. Sam, if he keeps working, will line up someday and help this team. He is great for the program. He tries to do 100% what you ask him to do. Those guys are fun to coach.
"(Freshman walk-on) Joseph Cooper (5-9, 185), whose brother Ashley Cooper played here, made some progress toward the end of the spring. He is another guy who played on the corner but will probably wind up inside. He has good strength and pretty decent movement. Time will tell. He could someday help this program.
"Another youngster who missed the first part of spring, (sophomore walk-on) Corey Crosby (5-9, 170) was here last year. Corey did some good things down the stretch. I'm excited about working with him. I didn't get a lot of the off-season testing on him because of the hamstring."
What do you like about him? Does he have speed or something else?
"He has good quickness and he picked things up pretty good the second half of the spring. There are still a lot of things I have to find out about him, but he's not shy; he'll hit you."
Thanks for your time, Coach Hallman.
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. The URL for Gene's Page is http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.