Video: CB Coach Aaron Henry Breaks Down Defensive Details

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Want to know the details of Rutgers changes on defense? Cornerbacks coach Aaron Henry breaks it all down.

On what Isaiah Wharton and Blessuan Austin did to earn his trust…

“First of all, they were freshmen last year and, what they’ve done so far to earn my trust is we’re limited back there. You know what I’m saying? So it’s kind of like you’ve got to throw the babies in the fire and just let them play. From where we were when I got here to where we are now, oh, they have moved mountains so far. … I still think they’ve got a ways to go, man, I still think they’re young. I don’t think they’ve reached their prime at all yet. I still think they’re very eager to learn. I’m just trying to make them smarter players in the classroom because if I can make them smarter players in the classroom, their skillset is going to speak for itself. If I can make them smarter players in the classroom, they’re going to be that much better of a football player on the field.”

On the press-man coverage…

“Everybody’s excited until you get beat, right? The key to press, all right, the key to press is a secret — it’s confidence, believe it or not. The key, the key to a really, really good cornerback is, in press coverage, is confidence. It may be a guy that he’s lining up against that may be a 4.2 track guy. He may be lightning fast. Well, how do you negate his speed if you’re press coverage on him and he’s just running go routes? The quarterback can only throw the ball so far, only so far — unless you’re Joe Flacco, of course, where he can throw about 80 (yards). But a quarterback can only throw so far. So a lot of times, guys are outrunning — not here, but at the NFL level — guys are outrunning the throws. So how can I negate his speed? Well, I negate his speed by my left and right footwork, step and ladder. So press coverage, believe it or not, you don’t have to be fast. You’ve got to be more quick than fast. I want my guys to be a lot more quicker than they are faster.”

On the addition of Ross Douglas…

“Oh, it’s a plus. I think it provides competition. Oftentimes, when guys feel threatened, they have a tendency — or most great players, they have a tendency to perform better. You put great boxers in the ring with each other, you ask, ‘Who’s the best?’ Well, everybody’s probably going to raise their hand. Well, when you’ve got competition in that pot, boiling together, I think Ross Douglas adds tremendous depth to our secondary. And he brings a ton of confidence, and he’s pushing the guys. I mean, he’s literally pushing them and guys have to step their game up because everyday is an evaluation.”

On Damon Hayes…

“Damon Hayes, man, I like the kid because he’s quiet but he’s extremely, extremely, extremely competitive. And his future extremely bright, man. I’ve had a chance to be around some very, very talented young guys. Coming in, he’s extremely polished to be so young, man, especially for what we’re trying to do. And Damon Hayes is not a fast guy. He would tell you. Honest kid. I asked him, ‘How fast are you?’ (He said) ‘Yeah, I’m probably 4.7, coach.’ Most people probably would go ahead and laugh. … Well, it’s guys out there on our team I’m sure that are 4.3 and he’s making it look like they’re probably running 4.7 because his left and right lateral footwork. He can get hands on guys that are running on the line of scrimmage and he gets really, really, really physical. He’s been a plus addition to our secondary. I think he adds value and depth as well, and I think he’s in that competition mix and he’s helping stir up that room a little bit because I really, really think that kid’s future is going to be really … bright when it’s done with.”


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