Coach's Corner: Ronnie Lee on Traye Simmons

The Chargers are deeper than ever in the secondary, setting the stage for epic training camp battles. One contender is rookie corner Traye Simmons, who will fight for time on special teams or a place on the practice squad. To see what this U of M alum brings to the table, we talk with Ronnie Lee, the defensive backs coach for the Gophers.

Traye Simmons (5-foot-11, 180 pounds) began his collegiate career at College of the Sequoias. He transferred to Minnesota in time for the 2008 season and immediately moved into the starting lineup. In two seasons with the Golden Gophers, he compiled 94 tackles and six interceptions.

To find out if this upward trend will continue in San Diego, we talk with Ronnie Lee, Minnesota's defensive backs coach and co-defensive coordinator.

LaShana Marshburn: If you had to describe Traye in one word, what would it be?

Ronnie Lee: Coachable. He's a young man who wants to do right and be the best.

  LM: In 2008, Traye finished with 61 tackles and four interceptions. Last season, those numbers dropped to 33 and two. What happened?

RL: I think in his first year he was completely healthy. In his second season he had some injuries that kind of slowed him down, but he still performed.

  LM: What is it about his skill-set that makes him a viable NFL prospect?

RL: The one thing that will help Traye is that he loves the game. This is the Big Time and in order to [be successful] you've got to go out there and perform. I think he is going to perform when the lights are turned on.

  LM: What can you tell us about his off-the-field demeanor?

  RL: Traye is a very relaxed person. He's very good with people off the field. People have a tendency to like him as far as his personality. He draws people to him and he's a very personable person.

  LM: Was there any one game during his career that stood out to you?

  RL: Yes, in 2008 against Illinois where he had a heck of a game (four tackles, two pass breakups). He made a lot of plays in that game. Then, just last year, our last home game (against South Dakota State) he had that huge interception that helped us win that game.

  LM: Do you see Traye contributing in San Diego at any position other than cornerback?

  RL: I believe Traye will do whatever it takes to make the Chargers roster as a cornerback, a safety, on special teams, whatever the case may be. He just wants a chance to continue to play the game. A lot of people think that if you are a college football guy it's hard to adjust to a zone pro team and vice-versa, so it depends on what they're doing (in San Diego), but I think he can contribute on special teams.

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