Wright pleased with secondary's spring effort

Bobby Jack Wright talks about his secondary and the emergence of Reggie Smith at cornerback (pictured above). (Photo/Lisa Hall)

The most dominating position this spring for the Sooners has been the defensive secondary, where the move of sophomore Reggie Smith from safety to corner and junior Lendy Holmes from wide receiver to cornerback, has solidified a secondary that played much better.

Now you have a ton of competition at both corner and safety, and a great deal of depth at corner coming into the fall. Legendary assistant coach Bobby Jack Wright is into his second year coaching the Sooner secondary, and following Wednesday's practice he talked to OUInsider.com for the Two Minute Drill.

JH: Has this spring been successful for you in the secondary?

BJW: "Yeah, I think is has really been good, especially when you factor in where we were this time last year, where we ended up at the end of the season and now the carry-over from last season to where we are at this point. The guys have really been good form the standpoint of picking right up where we left off. We have made a couple of personnel changes that has helped us, but I think, as a unit, we are way ahead of where we were at the end of last season.

"As you know, at the end of the season we were playing pretty good football on defense. Certainly through the Big 12 Conference games we played really well, and against Oregon in the Holiday Bowl we felt we were playing about as good as we had played all season long. I think we are better than that right now. I really feel pleased about where we are defensively and the way the guys are getting after it."

JH: When you are talking about the personnel moves I assume you are talking about Reggie and Lendy. They have fit right in at corner haven't they?

BJW: "Yeah, no question. Reggie has done a great job at corner. And then in our nickel package we have him in there at nickel and he is showing up all over the field in that position as well. So, it has really been a good move. Lendy Holmes has shown that he is really going to be a player for us at cornerback. He is fighting against Reggie, so he is fighting a pretty good guy. But the thing it does is afford us is to go to nickel more where we can move Reggie down in the nickel and put Lendy on the field at corner because we are confident there is not going to be any drop off when Lendy takes the field. That has really been good.

"Those young safeties are starting to play better. Keenan Clayton has had a great spring, Nic (Harris) has gotten better, Quentin Carter continues to get better. For a guy straight out of high school that has only been here for 14 practices, he has really done well. So, I am really pleased with how we are playing.

"D.J. Wolfe continues to get better and better everyday at corner. With that group coming back and the young freshmen coming in next fall, I think that will be a strength of our team."

JH: It looks like you will have a very good competition going on at safety this fall?

BJW: "We have great competition going on everywhere, especially though at that safety position because there are five guys here right now fighting for two spots. They are all very similar and nobody is really way ahead of the other. That makes for a great situation, where guys have to come out and compete and fight their tails off every day to win playing time. Nobody won a starting job there for sure, and they are trying to win playing time right now. It really makes it good from a coaching standpoint, because they know they can't take a snap off or they are coming out of there.

"At the corner position, like I said, we have those three guys right now, but we have some good guys coming in. We have some good freshmen corners coming in, plus you don't want to forget that we have Brian Jackson and Marcus Walker both coming off of injuries next fall. That will be two guys that are in the rotation from the get-go that we expect good things from. When they are healthy they are going to be good players."

JH: You also have great competition going on for your sixth DB spot or dime spot don't you? I have noticed that Clayton has been playing that spot this spring, but with all those other guys being available in the fall that position is far from settled isn't it?

BJW: "We have a lot of good players depth-wise in the program now. We are just about where we would like to have it, because you always want to be at least two-deep at every position, and we are not quite there. However, in the fall we will really be a good quality two-deep team at every position in the secondary, and I am including the nickel and the dime. We will have 12 good players when it is all said and done."


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