Richardson Ready For Fresh Start in 2005

Senior cornerback Mike Richardson enters the 2005 season as a veteran who has seen a lot of playing time. He played in all 12 games in 2004 - starting five; recorded 33 tackles - 25 solos; intercepted a pass; and forced three fumbles. He is contending for a starting spot in 2005 but knows he and the entire secondary must show a lot of improvement for the Irish defense to be effective this season. Irish Eyes had the opportunity to speak with Richardson as he prepares for the new season.

Senior cornerback Mike Richardson says he's happy with the way fall practices have started, "They have actually not been too bad," Richardson said of the first few days of fall camp. "All the players are getting acclimated to the physical pressures, but they have been pretty good so far.

"We have adjusted pretty well and a lot of the young guys are stepping up. It is not too different from the last year's defensive scheme. The coaches have been patient with us as we try and learn the different things."

The veteran cornerback knows he has his work cut out for him if he's going to earn a starting position.

"The competition is pretty much up in the air right now," Richardson said. "There are a lot of guys who think they have the starting spots, but we still have to prove to the coaches that we deserve those when the game times come around. There are actually a lot of young guys coming up that could actually work into the playing spot."

Richardson, a two-time monogram winner, believes his experience is an advantage for him as he's battling for the starting spot.

"I think I have a slight advantage because of the fact that I have been around, and I know how things work, but it is always up in the air," Richardson explained. "If a younger player comes up and plays better than me, that is how it is going to be and I know that, so I'm going to have to play my hardest to get the job done."

The Warner Robbins, Ga. native is aware fans still talk about the 2004 secondary but said 2005 is a fresh start.

"We just try and block that out," he said. "People are always going to talk about last year, and we know it is always going to be there.

"We know as a group that we are going to have to do something to prove them wrong. We just have to come together and not dwell on past mistakes.

"We just have to come out with a positive attitude and maybe not quite like a swagger, but we actually have to know we will do the right things. If something goes wrong, we have to bounce back from it. We are taking the attitude that last year is behind us. That is the past, and we are focusing on the future."

Richardson also said he hasn't lost confidence in his abilities to get the job done.

"I know I am going to have to step it up this year," he said. "There are going to be a lot of big games and a lot of big-time quarterbacks I'm going to have to go against. It is a team game but we still have to do our individual jobs and that includes me."

Irish Eyes believes Mike Richardson will earn a spot in the starting lineup, but it will be up to him to prove that he deserves to continue in that position.


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