Switch To Safety Is A Big Hit With Broomfield

One just knows. That as they scouted Troy tape from this past Saturday, a couple pairs of Bulldog eyes were lighting up at the sight of alllllll those Trojan throws. "Me and Nickoe ain't got an interception yet," Corey Broomfield agreed. "So we're thinking optimistic, you know. We're trying to get our hands on the ball this week."

This might indeed be the week Broomfield or fellow starting safety Nickoe Whitley do snare a 2012 pass. Well, if host Troy (1-1) does air it out as often as in their loss to Louisiana-Lafayette. Then again the Trojans might stay ground-bound as in The Opening win over UAB. Either way, Broomfield is content as long as the final score reads rightly for Mississippi State.

"Whatever gets the Bulldogs in the win column. If I've got to catch five interceptions I'll catch five interceptions; if I've got to get eight tackles for loss I'll get eight tackles for loss. Whatever it takes for us to win the game that's what I'll do."

As extreme as those numbers may read, Broomfield has a valid point. He's certainly shown he can go get a ball carrier behind the line of scrimmage after twice bagging Auburn runners for losses. And while it has been a year-plus since the last of his nine career interceptions, that only increases the odds Broomfield will get his gloves on pigskin soon. Maybe very soon, as long as he sticks to his safety task.

Without, he adds, any letdown following that hyper-emotional SEC victory on the home field. It wasn't merely Trojan tosses he saw in Monday scouting.

"Troy is a very decent opponent, I think they have one of the best winning records at home. So we're not taking Troy lightly at all. It's going to be a great game. Last week they threw the ball about 70 times so it's going to be a good test for our secondary.

"They have a real efficient quarterback, if he doesn't see what he wants he's going to throw the check-down every time. They execute very well, get you five yards, five yards…and then throw it over your head. So you have to stay in position and stay patient."

Patient, sure…but not passive. Oh, no, not these Dogs and not Broomfield at all. Perhaps being just a bit patient is what makes the converted cornerback such an early-season success as safety. No, better, at strong safety as he is officially listed. That is bound to open a few opposing eyes when they see a 5-10, 180-or-so pounder lining up in the nominally run-supporting position.

Then Broomfield just leaves them blinking. As he did in one of the pivotal plays of State's opening SEC win, after Auburn had gotten within a couple strides of the end zone. On second down it was Broomfield blowing in for a tackle for loss.

"It was the formation," Broomfield said. "Every time we see that formation they run the same play." Think he was exaggerating? It wasn't just State players who had that fine a read on Tiger tactics. "I was talking to Louis Watson, he said his parents were calling the plays in the stands! So it was only right we made the play."

Still there was no small amount of individual initiative involved on that, and other plays. The fact is Broomfield really does live up to the ‘strong' title by playing above his size. And without the least atom of fear, either. Broomfield saw how wide receivers regarded him the past three seasons over on the corner, so he's not surprised by the reaction from larger matchup-men now.

"When a big guy sees a little person they think they're scared of them. So you go out and get to put it on tape that you can play with anybody no matter how big or fast they are." Meaning tape Broomfield and Bulldogs enjoy reviewing; embarrassed opponents not so much.

Broomfield was not surprised with Bulldog defensive success against Auburn. Delighted, excited even, but not the least bit surprised at holding the Tiger offense touchdown-less. Almost score-less, even. "We had a real good week of practice. We knew what the play was going to be before the play, got in position and made plays." Nor was it cues from Mr. Watson being flashed to the squad; Broomfield has found another excellent aspect of moving inside to safety. He gets to line up behind linebacker Cameron Lawrence, who specializes in out-guessing the offense on what they have called.

"You listen to Cam, he's like a good traffic director, he'll get you going in the right direction. So pay attention, read your keys, and you can make plays." Oh by the way, much as Broomfield enjoys punching over his weight he gladly offers his gratitude to the larger teammates up front for making his task simpler. And fun.

"It's a team effort. If the d-line doesn't get any push nobody is going to run backwards. So they should get credited for all those tackles for loss as well. It's a team effort."

True. Still this is a team approach that allows increasing freedom for play-making. Broomfield is thriving. "It's just the freedom, when I'm back there roaming. I can get some tackles for loss, I can show I'm physical playing in the box. A lot of people don't expect you to come down there and play, and it's fun." But does Broomfield worry he might succeed so well he loses that sneaky-factor? That SEC foes start focusing on him?

"Maybe, but they're a SEC opponent. They're going to do what they do. Teams aren't going to scheme around one player. Maybe John Banks they might scheme around! But they're not going to scheme around me." Which means Broomfield can do some scheming of his own, eh? "Oh, I love it. It's kind of hard for me to get a M.A. (missed assignment) now because I can go anywhere!"

And make any play necessary, whether picking passes or tackling for losses or the more seemingly mundane assists and supports. Or, get no numbers at all…which is just fine for this senior.

"Good things come to those who wait," Broomfield said. "The more patient you are the more things will come to you. We were in chapel the other day and Coach was talking about Job, you know he lost everything and got it all back at one point. He stayed patient and it worked for him."

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