No Cuttin' Corners

Improving during the summer requires motivation and desire. Cassius Vaughn is exerting the effort to get better. In fact, all the players around him are as well.

The junior cornerback, who has appeared in every game during his first two seasons, is currently locked in a position battle with Dustin Mouzon. Vaughn is attempting to outwork those around him and take hold of the right cornerback slot. Meanwhile, being a defensive leader is a goal. Getting separation at any position is looking difficult, but that's ok. In fact, it is exciting.

"We are getting a lot better, whole bunch of improvement everywhere," Vaughn said. "We really are a team, one heartbeat. We are gelling together better than we ever have before. Working out everyday, running, getting ready for the season. We are going through seven-on-seven (drills) and a lot of team things."

Vaughn started three games as a sophomore and is attempting to move from part time to all the time. The experience is invaluable, however, he is competing against a seasoned senior. Mouzon isn't new to this, as the pair gives the new coaching staff a couple viable options on the right side.

It is a strange time as camp looms. The Memphis, Tenn., native has a goal to start, but he doesn't want to see teammates lagging. The goal of winning outweighs individual achievements for the reenergized group.

"We haven't started camp yet, so we don't know how the lineup is going to go," Vaughn said. "Hopefully I will be there. If not, we are going to battle the whole camp. It is all competition, and we all love each other. Whatever is good for the team will happen.

"I understand the situation. Depth is a great thing. None of us can play every play, but competing like we are, you will sure want to go every play. It is all about winning spots right now, but when the season starts, it will be great to have a quality guy beside you that can give a breather. Someone just as prepared."

Defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix and corner coach Chris Vaughn have been busy with new techniques and different ways of thinking since being hired. Cassius doesn't see any adversity or negatives with the quick change in school of thought. Instead, he is happy embracing the different ways of thinking from the previous staff to the current one.

"It is good because you can see two different sides to how different people think. Coach Vaughn is more aggressive in his coaching than the old staff was. As a person Coach Vaughn is laid back, but his teaching style is more aggressive. We understand him because he was a player. He knows how it goes. Great coach. We learned things before, and we are learning different things now. Use it all to get better.

"Coach Vaughn is exciting, and he is good to us. He is showing us a lot of things he has learned from previous coaches and then what he knows himself. He brings a lot of man and a lot of things we are going to specialize in. Coach just brings so much to the table. We mixed in a lot of things in the spring, so I don't fully know what to expect in camp. I am brand new to it, but I'm embracing it. I'm looking forward to it."

The new attitude isn't limited to the cornerbacks. Cassius has witnessed Jevan Snead become a leader on offense, and the defense is showing up to work matching the intensity. The best part for Cassius has been "to watch it all come together."

And the anticipation that comes along with continued improvement.

"We are working on everything," the corner said. "I don't want any weak links in my chain or anybody else's. I want to be the complete player. We all do. It's about time to go to work."

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