Spring Review: Safeties

It will be the year of the sophomore in 2014. When defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer and safeties coach Tim Duffie played two freshmen last season it was apparent what they were thinking. With seniors Daytawion Lowe, Shamiel Gary and Zack Craig manning the safety positions in regular and in specialty personnel groups that was going to leave a gaping canyon of inexperience at safety.

An early season knee injury to Larry Stephens in 2013 left the possibility that he would be back this season, and he is. Stephens has only briefly started but he is experienced and walk-on Elliott Jeffcoat and DeShawn Franklin have been in the program.

The future and the starters will be a pair pups. Jordan Sterns and Deric Robertson were both suited up and ready on the sidelines when the Cowboys opened last season in the Alamo Dome. The thought was they might see some action on special teams but in the third quarter of the opener against Texas-San Antonio both Sterns and Robertson were manning the strong and free safety positions, respectively.

They were green and it was about that time in the game the Roadrunners cranked up a passing attack that would account for 369 yards. Sterns finished with 13 tackles on the season and Robertson had four.

During the spring, the coaching staff including head coach Mike Gundy, became impressed with redshirt freshman Tre Flowers. With his size at 6-3, 190 pounds and his ability, Flowers will make quarterbacks throw over him on pass plays. That 6-3 frame makes a decided difference. Expect to see all three of play a lot.

There is some veteran assistance expected to arrive this summer in Michigan "super senior" transfer Josh Furman and D'Nerius Antoine, a junior college All-American safety from Trinity Valley Community College who is expected to play the star linebacker but you never know how things will end up.

Is there concern at safety? Absolutely, but there is also talent and even more answers coming in August. The critical part of all this is that in the Cowboys defense the safeties are pretty important. The added time that coaches get to teach over the summer will also help out.

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