A Q&A with CB Coach Melvin Smith

Mississippi State cornerbacks coach Melvin Smith talks about his cornerbacks, how they did this past spring and who is projected to be on the 1st team and who are their backups.

What are your thoughts about your cornerbacks after the conclusion of spring practice?
Melvin Smith - "I feel good about our cornerback position. But we didn't have Corey (Broomfield) so we didn't get a chance to see what he looks like. But he finished the season pretty good last year. He's working hard right now, so I have to factor him in the top three. I really feel that Maurice Langston got better as an SEC corner. Last year, he was like working on an old car. Kind of like my Daddy's vehicle when I was growing up. You couldn't go very far in them and had to work on them all the time because they weren't really prepared for the road. And that is kind of the way I viewed Maurice Langston. What I mean by that is he had no preparation. He didn't go through spring ball and he didn't go through fall camp. We put him in because we were in that situation. But he's gone through spring ball this year and he is working good. He's made a lot of improvement. And he's got talent. I really feel good about him right now. On a scale of 10, he's probably a 6. But he's got the potential to be really good."

On a scale of 1 to 10 what is his potential?
"On a scale of 1 to 10 I would say he's an 8 but right now he's operating at a 6."

Have you ever had a 10?
"Ten is perfect and how can you be perfect playing corner? I coached two kids who played in the Super Bowl this year, Roman Harper and Melvin Bullitt, and they weren't 10. Fred Smoot is probably the best corner. Ashley Cooper was a good player. Pig Prather was a good player."

What is Maurice lacking that makes him a 6 right now?
"He hasn't played much football in the SEC. A guy is trained to be a pilot but I think a pilot who has been doing it 10 years is better than one who has just started doing it because there are things that guy hasn't seen. Maurice does know more about playing in the SEC now that he has played Florida, Alabama, Kentucky games. He played in the Arkansas game and he was awful and he couldn't play in the Ole Miss game. What he is missing is not playing, not preparing, not going through fall camp, not knowing how to play with the other 10 guys, not having 10 other guys believing in him. There are a lot of things in becoming a really good player who can play in a team game. It's not golf or tennis. You aren't just playing by yourself but with a bunch of other guys."

Is your other starter Johnthan Banks?
"I don't know who we would start but we would start either Corey or Johnthan Banks or Maurice and Johnthan or Maurice and Corey."

What do you like about Banks?
"I like his range. He is long, he is athletic. I told you this last year; I have never had a freshman with his overall talent. He has speed, great ball skills, great hands, he is very competitive, he made a 3+ gpa. He's the entire package. He's good on the field, good off the field, he's a good citizen, he's tough, he's a playmaker."

On a scale of 1 to 10, where is he right now?
"He's probably a 7."

Why a seven?
"He played all year. He went through spring practice. He hasn't had any problems. He takes care of things on and off the field. His only problem is immaturity. He just has to mature as a player. I think the progress he will make from last year to this year will be big."

Who are the guys behind them who could play next season?
"Louis Watson had a really good spring. Damein Anderson also had a good spring. We beat Ole Miss with Damein, Corey (Broomfield) and Marcus Washington. Damein is a good backup to have. But I'm not assessing Louis and Damein until after September. I have to see them more. They have to show me in a game.

"Out of those five guys, I feel like we will have four corners."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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