The D Backs

The Rebel secondary never did gel the way the coaches hoped last year. Enter some new blood in the form of DB Coach Keith Burns. Read about it inside.

A lot of the faces in the Rebel secondary this spring will be familiar, except one.

New Secondary Coach Keith Burns is now on board to ramrod the operation of the defensive backs. He'll handle the corners and Chris Vaughn will move over to the safeties.

"We're going to see a difference in the play of the secondary. I am sure of that," said Coach Houston Nutt. "Keith is an outstanding coach and will have those guys playing to the best of their ability."

The spring roster of DBs got a setback last week when it was announced CB Marcus Temple would undergo sports hernia surgery and would be out for the spring.

"We can't afford to get anyone else hurt or missing reps in spring," said Nutt. "We need all hands on board for the entire spring. If nobody gets hurt, we'll be fine this spring, then we get Marcus back in fall and Senquez Golson will be coming in.

Nutt said Sawyer is leading the way this offseason with Temple sidelined due to injury
Matthew Sharpe
"On the flip side, with Marcus not out there, the younger guys will get a lot more reps, and they need them."

At corner, Nutt had high offseason praise for JUCO transfer Wesley Pendleton.

"Wesley is a tremendous signee. He has great feet. Not good feet, great feet," Houston assessed. "The young man can just run and change direction. I'm elated to have him.

"Charles Sawyer is leading the pack right now with Marcus out. He looks like a different kid in the offseason. He's smart and will pick up Keith's techniques well. I feel real good about him.

"Cliff Coleman has a long way to go based on him missing a lot of last year with a broken foot, but we are glad to have him out there and look forward to seeing his progress. Julian Whitehead is also in the mix and can help us in some situations and on special teams. And if we have to, Frank Crawford has played corner before and can fill in during spring there."

At safety, Nutt said we know what we have in Damien Jackson and Brishen Mathews, but we've added to the mix with one Ivan Nicholas, a junior college transfer who came in during the spring semester and has gone through the offseason.

"Ivan, I feel, is going to prove to be a fantastic addition. He hit the ground running in the offseason and hasn't let up," said Nutt. "He's tough and physical and he works hard. You like that in a newcomer who just blends right in without missing a beat. Ivan pushes the envelope in every drill.

"Brishen and Damien have also worked hard. Both those guys are competitors. They didn't like the taste of losing and they are going to do their part to change things during their careers. You feel pretty good when you look back there and see their attitude and know they have played some ball on this level. They know what to expect.

"Vincent Moss is a guy to watch. He's the fastest player on our team and a guy we have to find a place for on the field. Safety, linebacker, gunner on the punt team, go block a punt - we have to find him a spot to contribute. He's got too much speed not to be able to help us out somewhere."

Next Up: Play Ball!

Spring training starts Monday, March 28th.

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