LUBBOCK, Texas — As we move closer and closer to the first game of the 2010 season for Texas Tech (inside 70 days now for those of you counting), RaiderPower.com will take a look at each part of the team piece-by-piece with player and coaching commentary over the next few weeks.
Sticking with the "new theme" to the Red Raiders under new head coach Tommy Tuberville, it's the defense where RP.com will start, looking at the secondary and specifically sophomore defensive back Will Ford.
He played mostly inside on nickel coverage last season, but is being looked at as possibly one of two guys to be the consistent cornerback on the defense this season and showed a lot of coaches what he can do with a promising performance during the spring workouts.
Ford (Abilene Cooper) said the move does not bother him one bit and relishes the new opportunity under position coach Travaris Robinson and defensive coordinator James Willis.
"It doesn't feel like a big move for me," Ford said. "Covering receivers is the same thing whether you are at corner, nickel or a safety position. Goal is the same, just in a different manner."
Tuberville said the decision was easy to move Ford from nickel back to corner during the spring after watching him display a lot of raw talent and ability to be physical with outside receivers.
"We made the decision to move him over to corner full time and we like him there," Tuberville said. "Ford is a talented kid. He's quick and aggressive. He can get off stop blocks and can make a lot of plays on the run and just has really good instincts."
Ford has enjoyed the time spent under Robinson and Willis so far and was able to pick up on more things during spring and summer workouts after the conclusion of last season.
He said that while he feels a difference overall with the team he also has found areas in which to improve on with himself, even if covering one guy inside is the same as covering and outside receiver.
"It was a really good spring and workouts have been pretty good so far," Ford said. "There's just more of an up-tempo feeling with this team than this time last year. I know it felt a lot different for me, personally, because it was my first time last year and you are trying to take so much in during a short span.
"… Using the sideline has been one area I have been trying to improve on. Playing inside at a nickel position last year, you are in the open field covering the receiver. When you move to corner, you get to use the sideline on every play and that really helps a lot."
Robinson said he instantly became a fan of Ford's after spending some time with him during the first couple of days of spring practices. He likes his ability and said with a little tweaking, Ford may be able to follow other Tech defensive backs to the next level.
"He's a tremendous athlete," Robinson said. "He has the ability to play physical and that's what we're going to need. We're going to play a lot of press and a lot of different techniques. But right now, we just have to keep working on his fundamentals. But he's a kid that one day, if he keeps developing, he has the athletic ability to play at the next level – if he chooses to. But he's got a long way to go in that process."
For now, Ford said he just wants to keep improving and earn that starting position to help this Red Raider defense become what people think of when they hear Texas Tech.
"We feel like we can be more physical this season with this type of defense," Ford said. "You can see that there's going to be a big change from last season to this year. We're going to come out and try and dominate and win the Big 12. Defense is going to try and turn it around and make it the face of this team."
Travis Cram is the Managing Editor for RaiderPower.com. Follow his daily updates and news on Twitter: http://twitter.com/traviscram.