An Interview With Taqiy Muhammed

Gamecock Insider caught up with cornerback Taqiy Muhammad and the result is this interview for our premium subscribers ...

Taqiy Muhammad

On the move to the secondary and especially to cornerback.

"I am comfortable there. I think I can do the job. I have to work hard right now to be ready for next season but I can do it."

Would he rather be a wide receiver or a defensive back.

"I am happy to be wherever they need me. I will do what is best for the team. Sure, I like being a wide receiver and getting my hands on the ball but I also like what I am doing now and the coaches believe this is the best place for me. They have a lot of faith in my ability to do this job and I am not going to let them down."

Specifically on being moved from a safety to cornerback.

"Well, it is a lot different at cornerback than at safety. But we have good safeties and they felt I could be a good cornerback. My responsibilities changed. Now I have to be more aware of what is going on and there is a lot more man coverage involved at cornerback than I used to have to do as a safety. But I am getting the hang of it and by the end of spring I should be good to go. I need a lot of work but knowing that is half the battle."

On Coach Ron Cooper.

"Oh man. He is good. I like him a lot. He is going to help me make the adjustment more than anything else. He knows how to coach the position - it is all he has ever coached. He is an expert at making good defensive backs out of people and it is easy to trust him. He is hard and he demands a lot from you but you know if you listen to him and follow his direction you have a chance to be successful."

On the attitude of the team this season.

"We know what we have to do and we are all competitors so we don't like losing anymore than the fans do. Probably less. We are working hard and giving it our all and as long as we do that every time we step on the field then we will get better. We all see new stuff on defense and we like it. That gives us confidence knowing what we are doing this year makes so much sense."

On Coach Lou Holtz's new approach.

"He is giving us more rope and treating us like adults for a change. I mean he treated us fine before but he is giving us more room to be ourselves this year.

Does that mean that last year maybe everyone was hearing footsteps all the time?

"I think we were tight if that's what you mean. We were afraid to make a mistake. Sometimes it seemed like all it took was one mistake and you had to pay for it for a long time. It made everyone nervous and afraid to mess up. So what happened was we were too scared sometimes to go on second nature and make plays. We were worried about doing something wrong and being benched. Things are looser now."

What is his forty time.

"I run a 4.4 something. It depends on the time of day. Sometimes I get down in the 4.3s"

How about a height and weight.

"5-11, 185 or186."

How about run support from the cornerback position.

"I like to hit. Yeah, I like to hit a lot. I can do that now. I do not need a lot of coaching in that area now because I already know how to hit people. That's not a problem at all. What I need to keep working on is my coverage skills and reading the offenses. What Coach Cooper is teaching me is how to read wide receivers and how to anticipate. He is also teaching me how to learn about them on film before I see them on the field and that is going to help me a lot."

On Jonathan Joseph

"He has a lot of talent. He is a natural cornerback ... everything comes easy to him. But there are several of the younger guys that are going to surprise people this year. We have some good young talent in our secondary and they combine well with the safeties who have a lot more experience. We make a good group overall. The young guys are going to surprise you."

On the biggest notable change on the team this year.

"Probably the new coaches. They do things differently in some ways but they are good at what they do. We like the way they are teaching us to do things because it makes us feel like we are taking our talents to the next level. They really challenge us. And the other thing is the way Coach Holtz is mixing in with us more. You can tell he is taking more of an interest in us than he has in the past and that gives us a good feeling about the team overall. There is more of a family feel to it this year."

On Coach Minter.

"He's the man. He is real good. You can watch how he walks and hear how he talks and how he carries himself and you just respect him."

On the team goals for this season.

"To take it one game at a time. To win the first game and go from there. To do the best we can do every time we put on the uniform and to not let ourselves down most of all. We want to win more than anybody else can imagine. That should tell you the way we are thinking. We have high goals and high standards. Nobody needs to question that about us."

Can the cornerbacks get the job done this year.

"Oh yeah. Sure we will. Probably better than anyone expects. But that's okay if people want to doubt us. We're not trying to prove anything to anybody else. We want to prove to ourselves how good we can be. In this league you have to come ready to play everyday because there are good quarterbacks and good wide receivers in this league. We know that. What do you think? We are not going out there to lose I know that. We are college athletes and we want to win every time we take the field. That is our nature. We are going to be fine by the end of spring. We already are. We're getting better every day."

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