2003 Broncos Cornerbacks

During the 2002 season the Western Michigan University Broncos defense ranked first in the MAC in total defense allowing just 3,968 yards (330.7 yards per game). While the defensive line was tough for the opposing team's offense, it was even more difficult to get by the secondary, led by the cornerbacks. The cornerbacks were a tough obstacle to get by for the opposing team's wide receivers.

Despite the Broncos defense being the best in the MAC last season, the cornerbacks coach, Coach Joe Woods feels there is room for improvement among his players. "I just think the main thing that we are trying to work on is just more consistency," Coach Woods said. "You look at us statistically, we were number one in the conference in defense but if you go back and look at the game film we had a lot of room to make improvements where we should have been more dominant within the conference. Instead of being the number one defense by five yards a game we should have been the number one defense by twenty-five yards a game. So, it's things like that, it's eliminating the big plays that happened to us last year and just being more consistent. Guy's doing their job."

In a season that saw the Broncos go 4-8, the team as a whole was better than what their record indicates. While the Broncos averaged 25.25 points per game, the Broncos defense held their opponents to 27.5 points per game. The Broncos were able to get out to early leads in most of their contests outscoring their opponents 103-51 in the first quarter. The second quarter is when the Broncos relied heavily on their defense. The second quarter was by far the worse quarter during the season. They were outscored 103-58 in the second quarter.

For the 2003 season the Broncos are returning a strong group of cornerbacks while losing just two seniors, Kevin Coleman and Mike Johnson. Coming back for his junior season is Tony Carr. Carr led the team in interceptions with 5 placing him 7th in the MAC. Also returning for the Broncos and the only senior among the cornerbacks is Sam Reynolds. Reynolds led all cornerbacks on the team with 53 tackles (40 unassisted, 13 assisted). Sam also forced 2 fumbles and recovered 1 fumble.

Willie Pope and Ryan Powell return for their junior seasons. Redshirt freshman Jimmie Vincent rounds out the group of returning cornerbacks while Keith Hinton and DeRae Allen will join the Broncos when summer camp begins in August. Hinton is currently a senior at American Senior High School in Miami, Florida. Allen is one of three future Broncos that was signed this February from the State of Georgia. Allen is from Lovejoy High School in Lovejoy, Georgia.

Hinton earned The Miami Herald All-Dade Class 6A-4A Second Team Defense. He accumulated 300 yards rushing and four touchdowns on offense and registered 105 tackles on defense. Allen was named to the All Region First Team and the Clayton News Daily All Clayton-Henry Second Team. In 2002 Allen recorded 46 tackles (30 unassisted, 16 assisted), 2 tackles for a loss of 7 yards and recovered one fumble.

So how does things stack up for the Broncos at cornerback? According to the early depth chart release Bronco fans could expect to see Carr starting on the left side with Eugene Childs, coming off a season recuperating from injuries sustained in a car accident last summer, backing him up. The right side could see a battle between Reynolds and Pope for the starting job. However Vincent should provide some extra incentive to Reynolds and Pope to step up their game.

With the likes of Michigan State, Virginia and Marshall on the Broncos schedule next season one thing is certain, the cornerbacks are going to need some speed and Coach Woods feels he has that speed. "I'm fortunate because I'm coaching guys that have a lot of athletic ability and can run. So, it's going to give us an opportunity to match up with most of the teams we play."

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