We don't want to overload you with too much information too early in the off-season, but as was mentioned yesterday, we only have seven weeks to cover seven different positions, and the season opener won't wait for us to finish this series, regardless of the kind of hype an ambitious undertaking like this is sure to generate.
Thus, as the days until the fall opener continue to count down, we'll continue to bring you all the news and analysis we can humanly supply, without quitting our second jobs or swallowing ephedra to stay awake.
Now, onto the cornerbacks, a position UW Head Coach Joe Glenn has been markedly optimistic about.
"Of course I'm not real objective when it comes to this," Glenn told CSTV earlier this year, "but I think our two starting corners are the best tandem in the Mountain West Conference."
He may be right, considering the Pokes' impressive history of defensive dominance in the passing game, and it doesn't hurt that both of last year's starters are returning for their senior seasons.
In any case, once you've read our analysis and can consequently shock your friends with vast reserves of random cornerback facts, this year's duo ought to be a little more entertaining to watch.
Yesterday we gave you a thoughtful and professional look into the athletic life of Michael Medina. Today we'll walk you through the skills and expectations of Medina's comrade in the secondary, Julius Stinson.
At 5-foot-10 and 182 pounds, Stinson is a smaller but surprisingly more physical defender than Medina. He has the speed to stay with almost any receiver in the conference, and his athleticism allowed coaches to chance lining him up as a blitzer in some packages last year. They were rewarded with two sacks, 3.5 tackles for losses and a forced fumble. An impressive third on the team in tackles with 57, if Stinson can improve on his '06 numbers, he and Medina will likely confirm Coach Glenn's predictions about the duo's inexorable dominance.
Stinson entered last season having seen more playing time than any other returning corner, and while only contributing modest numbers his first two seasons, he'd shown a knack for getting his hands on the football, picking off two passes as a sophomore. His finest moment last season came, as fate would serendipitously have it, on Homecoming night. Along with furnishing eight tackles, Stinson picked off Utah quarterback Brett Ratliff's pass three plays into the second half and returned it 42 yards for a score in front of a frenzied UW home crowd. The performance earned him MWC Defensive Player of the Week honors and a designation among fans as the Cowboys' premier cornerback.
With two safeties new to the starting lineup this year and a front three with limited experience, the pressure will be on Medina and Stinson to step up their games in order to keep the Pokes on top of the MWC defensive categories.
Stinson's '07 keys to success:
1. More big plays. We know…this is exactly the same thing we wrote yesterday as one of Medina's keys to success, but with the loss of Dorsey Golston (and the four interceptions he pulled in last year) and John Wendling out of the picture, somebody in the secondary needs to step up and force turnovers. Plus, we like writing the same things every day. It makes our job a lot easier.
2. Stay consistent. Stinson's numbers were solid across the board last year, but in the past, we've seen some of UW's most talented players actually backtrack after a great season. Take Derrick Martin, for example. After a sophomore year in which the now-NFL cornerback recorded 60 tackles, three interceptions and 14 passes broken up, his junior-year numbers fell to 47 tackles, three interceptions and seven passes broken up. Not a bad year, but not what people expected either. Let's hope we don't see the same thing from Stinson in 2007.
Stinson's 2006 season stats:
40 solo tackles, 17 assists, 57 total, 3.5 tackles for a loss of 20 yards, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions (one for a touchdown), 3 broken up passes and 1 forced fumble
DBs at a Glance: Julius Stinson
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