Comfort Zone

Upon being moved to defense prior to the 2008 season, Brandon Hogan was not shy about his reservations concerning the move.

The former high school quarterback played his first season at West Virginia at receiver, and the seemingly sudden switch left him more than a bit hesitant about his prospects. Although he didn't openly question the move, it was clear that he was worried about the repercussions of the move, both for himself and his future.

Fast forward a year, however, and Hogan has settled in – so much so, that he is being counted on to lead West Virginia's secondary in 2009. That's a huge jump for any player, not to mention one that was learning the entire position from scratch. Hogan had toyed with the spot in high school, but hadn't been exposed to any of the techniques that must be employed to have success on that level in college.

"I think I'm pretty comfortable now," said Hogan as he made his way into the Puskar Center for a summer workout session. "Getting back into it, I'm getting more comfortable with the position. We're working on seven on seven and that is helping me out. Spring helped me a lot. It helped get me back to knowing where I'm supposed to be." Many players are quick to admit how much just one year's experience can benefit ones knowledge of their position and the game. Hogan realizes how much seeing time as his newfound position helped him prepare for his junior season.

"I think I'm past the point of the beginner's stage of cornerback," said Hogan. "I think I'm maturing and getting smarter with the game. I'm learning more coverages. Things are coming to me a lot easier. I have to make things come to me faster." With the defense returning a number of experienced players, Hogan will be looked at as a veteran leader. He also has the perspective of having seen college play from both sides of the ball, and as such has his fair share of advice for underclassmen and players breaking into the search for playing time.

"A lot of the younger kids are looking up to me," admitted Hogan. "I have to be a good role model for them. I just tell (the underclassmen) to stay motivated and to learn as much as you can. I tell them to watch me and watch what I do and I try to help and correct them when I can."

Although summer workouts are a time to work on fundamentals, study game tapes and weightlifting, Hogan admits that the players do have some fun in the middle of all of the work. With football morphing into an activity that runs about 48 of the 52 weeks of the year, it's important to break up the hard work with a bit of free time and fun activity. Still, the focus remains on the field, as fall camp looms just a few weeks away.

"Everything is going all right," said Hogan. "Seven on seven is going all right. We try to confuse Jarrett (Brown) but he knows our defense inside and out. We are having a lot of fun out there."

Despite his developed comfort at defense, Hogan admits that he wouldn't mind getting back to throwing or catching a few balls. That's a desire that dies hard, even with his burst to prominence at his new position.

"I wouldn't mind playing some offense," Hogan said with a smile. "I would love to play some offense. I would play both sides if they would let me. I mess around with (Coach Stewart) and ask him if he's going to put me on offense."

While such a move appears to be a long shot at the moment, Hogan should still get his chance to gain some yardage as a special teams return specialist. Last year he had three punt returns for 18 yards and one kickoff runback for 21, and figures to be competing for at least one of those spots this year.

"I think I am going to be doing some returns," said Hogan. "I like that a lot."


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