NC State junior cornerback Mike Stevens answered several questions from the media following a recent spring practice.
How have you improved as a player?
Just being more patient, being more of a student of the game... be more of an IQ kind of guy instead of worrying about other things. Just focusing.
How big is the experience you and Jack Tocho now have at the cornerback position?
It's big. Me and Jack have been through it all. We've made plays, and we've got beat.
I think we're ready. I think we're going to have a really big year.
In the bowl game your freshman year I think you had two big pass breakups. Was that a confidence builder?
Yes, it was. That came against Breshad Perriman and it's really where I knew I could play this game and be really good at it.
How did last year go for you?
I feel like I could have had a better year. I started fast, but as the season went on... just to stay focused during the whole season. Take every gameplan as the same.
In the situations where you could have played better, what do you think you did wrong?
Really just playing the ball. I've been in position. It's just going to get it. That's what I'm working on this spring.
How tough is that, to stay in position with a wide receiver running a 4.4 but also turning and finding the ball?
It's challenging, that's why I come to work everyday. I'm trying to work on every little part of defending the ball. You never know what's going to be thrown at you.
How much confidence do you have in the secondary?
Me, Pratt, and Boone, we all came in the same class. We built our chemistry last year and our freshman class. Then with Jack... it's the best secondary I've been a part of chemistry-wise. I feel like we're strong.
Do you believe the defense can carry the team this year?
I feel like we can. We come out with the most energy, and we're just ready to work everyday.
Do you feel like as juniors you're now the older guys?
We definitely take that leadership role and make sure the young guys are in line, but we make sure we bring the energy out.
What is it like having your younger brother here?
It's great. I get to see how he's doing, compared to how I came in. I like having him here. It's cool.
How is he doing?
He's gained weight, but he's getting rehab for his lower back. He'll be ready for fall camp.
How are some of the younger cornerbacks coming along?
I like all of them. Vern is really progressing. They are taking it day-by-day. Freddie is really aggressive. J.A. flipped from receiver, but he's making strides too, as well as Bryce Banks, the freshman.
They all are getting good work in.
How are you helping those guys?
The offense is such a fast-paced thing, I just tell them to be patient with it. When you pedal off the line and the receiver gives you a move off the line, just be patient and let the game come to you.