Spring Outlook: CB

After leading the MAC in total defense a year ago, the Bronco's return both starting cornerbacks as well as solid depth. Both Sam Reynolds and Tony Carr will enter spring drills as starters and with the return of Willie Pope to the team and Eugene Childs fully healthy there should be heated competition at the position. Cornerbacks coach Joe Woods breaks down the spring outlook for us.

Woods is entering his third season with Western Michigan as Cornerbacks coach and 2003 seems to be very promising. Woods will have both talent and depth at his disposal. One added bonus is the return of Willie Pope to the team after being suspended last season following the Homecoming game against Central Florida.

"I think Willie was frustrated last year," said Woods. "He wasn't able to perform up to his standards and it was hard to take. It is a very structured and disciplined here and I think that was a tough adjustment for him."

Few expected to see Pope back in 2003 but with two years of eligibility remaining he has earned his way back on the team and is already receiving rave reviews from Woods.

"He actually works harder than anybody I got right now," he said.

With Reynolds and Carr solid starters, the focus this spring will be to establish the two-deep at the position and others that will play a role are addressed by Woods:

Eugene Childs - "He is the fastest guy we have and is very athletic. If he steps on the field and wants to do it you cannot stop him. He just has to work on fundamentals, primarily his footwork. He was actually a wide receiver in junior college and they moved him to corner because no one could run away from him."

Ryan Powell - "He works hard and right now he is trying to get bigger, stronger and faster. I think he'll compete for time on special teams and then progress from there."

Jimmie Vincent - "He is young but maturing and did well last year on the scout team. He has good foot speed and agility. I think he'll continue to put on size and get in there and compete."

One other factor that will help this spring is the new addition of the Seelye facility. Coach Woods couldn't be happier to have it now.

"It was brutal last spring, the worst spring I've been through as far as weather," said Woods. "We'll be able to go indoors this year if we need to and that way we get more out of the players when they are not worried about the weather."

Woods says the focus this spring will be on fundamentals mainly. Both tackling and footwork will be worked on extensively.

"Last year a lot of the mistakes we made were fundamental breakdowns that could have been avoided," he said. "That will certainly be a focus for us this spring."

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