Playing time outlook: cornerback

IT's position-by-position capsule look at the probable fall playing time rotation as well as a glimpse at possible freshman contributors for the Horns continues. Today's installment: cornerback.

Cornerback rotation pattern: Starting corners Rod Babers on the right and Nathan Vasher on the left will take almost every game-on-the-line snap this fall. When a team has two shutdown corners, its coaches are going to keep those guys on the field. Duane Akina and Carl Reese did it last year with Quentin Jammer and Babers and they'll do it again this season with Babers and Vasher. A couple of the CB back-ups will get substantial meaningful playing time, but they'll get that PT at strong safety and in nickel and dime packages rather than at corner. Cedric Griffin emerged from spring ball as the starter at SS, with Michael Huff his back-up at the spot, and they should both see significant action there, and whichever player is not on the field at SS should see action when the Horns deploy a fifth or sixth DB (it'll be great prep work in anticipation of one of the two taking over Babers' right corner spot in '03). Monti Collier, who missed the last week of spring practice with a broken clavicle, projects as a mop-up duty CB. True freshman PT? Possible, given the talented incoming freshman duo of Edorian McCullough and Aaron Ross. McCullough is a classic cover corner with sprinter's speed while Ross has the big build that coaches now covet to counter the trend toward huge receivers. Ross originally came to the Forty Acres with last season's true freshman class, but Clearinghouse issues forced him to leave the team after two weeks of two-a-days. During his brief stay, though, Ross was one of the most impressive true freshmen, according to Reese, and if he demonstrates similar skills this August, he could earn a spot role as a nickel or dime back (as Vasher did as a true freshman in '00).

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