Coach Ford Shares Thoughts On His Cornerbacks

Missouri Assistant Coach Cornell Ford stopped by after a recent spring practice and he talked to about this year's group of corners and what he has seen thus far as spring ball is winding down.

Missouri Assistant Coach Cornell Ford stopped by after a recent spring practice and he talked to about this year's group of corners.

"I think we're coming along,"   began Coach Ford, talking about the group of corners.   "I like our speed.   I think overall, we're getting better as a group.   But, we've still got a long ways to go.  But, I like where we're at right now.  It's a good, young, athletic group.  What I'm looking for is consistency from day to day.  And, I think overall, it's been good.  But, we've still got a lot of room to get better." 

Coach Ford talked about his top three corners, all of whom are returning players from last season.

"It's a smart group from a learning perspective,"  said Coach Ford.    "They know what they're doing.  That's good to have coming back, that learning experience.   Now, we can take it to the next level, and play at a high level.  You know, we've got one guy that's an all-conference player.  Now, we're working to try to have three of them that are all-conference players.  They certainly have the ability to do that.  We've just got to get it done, and execute."

Coach Ford talked about the development of his number three corner, Randy Ponder.

"He's been a little banged up,"  began Coach Ford, talking about Ponder.   "But, he's had a really good spring.  Last year, he played more on the slot, which is what we call our dime alignment.  This spring, we're working on getting him more reps at the corner position.  I think he can compete in there, and play well for us out there.  So far, he's doing pretty well, up until he got banged up a little bit."

I asked Coach Ford about the competition between the guys behind the top three?

He talked about two guys who are in close competition for that fourth spot, including Robert Steeples and Xavier Smith.

"It's fairly even,"  explained Coach Ford, talking about Steeples and Smith.   "It really is fairly even.  Although, I'd say this, Robert's had a good spring.  He's done well.  But, Xavier's coming on.  And, they're both competing hard.  It's a battle right now to see who will be that fourth guy.  That fourth guy for us is one guy gets hurt, and he's the next guy going in.  For us, we look at our top three guys.  So, who's that next guy that is going to fill a slot for us?  And both of those guys are competing hard to fill that position."

I asked Coach Ford about the two red-shirt freshmen, David Johnson and Ernest Payton?

"David is still learning, just all of the little detail things,"  replied Coach Ford, talking about Johnson being in the mix for that fourth spot.  "He's getting better.  He's competing.  And, I think he's got a chance!  I think he really does have a chance."

"I think they both can run,"  explained Coach Ford, talking about the two young corners.  "Payton is just an unbelievable athlete!  But consistency, he's just got a lot of things to learn.  And he's working hard.   But, he just needs rep after rep after rep.  Every rep he can get will make him better.  The great thing is that everything that we're doing right now, we're going to come back in August and start all over again.   So, he's going to hear it all over again.  And, he's got all summer to work on it, as well.  But, he just needs all of the reps that he can get.  Each rep will make him better."   

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