A Smart look at Webster's college career

Georgia running backs coach Kirby Smart had the good fortune to coach Giants second-round pick Corey Webster last season at LSU. Smart, the Tigers secondary coach last season, was there to see how Webster handled adversity as a senior coming off a tremendous junior campaign. TGI visited with Smart following the draft. Here's what he had to say about Webster:

Q: What are your overall thoughts on Corey?

A: Corey was an unbelievable player. I inherited him. I was at LSU for only his last year. I wasn't there for the national championship season, his junior year. The first thing I did was go through all the game tapes and I knew I was getting a great corner. He had an unbelievable year as a junior. He came in his senior year and there was a lot of talk that he had a down year. Well, he didn't get a lot of throws his way. He had a foot injury that most people would have missed several games and he only missed one game. It kind of nagged him all year.

I have the utmost respect for that kid. He stayed in college and had an uphill battle to graduate. He had to graduate in order to play his last year. In spring practice he virtually wasn't even there because he had 20 hours of school a week. He could have easily turned pro after junior year. But he came back to school, did all his work, came to football practice, came to workouts. He was a high character person for me to be around. He was a better person and leader than he was a player. I have a lot of respect for him because of what he went through.

Q: What makes him such a good player?

A: He has unbelievably long arms. He's only six feet tall but he has the arms of a 6-3 guy. He's a receiver by trade. That's what he did at high school and in the beginning of his LSU career. When the ball's in the air, he literally goes after it and gets it. He has the ability to make plays that most guys can't make. In ball drills, he never dropped a ball. He has great closing speed. There were two or three times during his junior year that a play broke out away from him and he caught the guy. He can close, accelerate and has big play ability. The best thing he does is press. He gets up in peoples' faces. He has not played off, which he'll have to learn in the NFL, where you can't touch them past five yards.

Q: Why was he able to get all the picks he did earlier in his career?

A: He's a turnover guy. It's more than luck when it happens that many times. He's always around the ball. He makes plays on the ball. He thinks he's a receiver. When the ball's in the air, his attitude's a lot different than most DBs.

Q: What kind of leadership abilities have you seen from him?

A: Corey's a quiet guy. He's not a trash-talking corner. I played with Champ (Bailey) when I was at Georgia and Corey reminds me a lot of Champ. He's a very mild-mannered guy who takes care of his business. He leads by example. He doesn't lead by talking. He busts his butt when he's out there. He leads a quiet life; he doesn't lead a limelight type of life. He's not cocky or conceited at all. I was a young coach, 27 or 28. He and his teammates could have very easily tried to run over me. But it was always "yes sir" and "no sir" every time. In today's day and age, he's kind of a throwback guy.

Q: Does he remind you of anyone in the league right now?

A: Like I said, off the field he's a lot like Champ. On the field, he's more of an Aeneas Williams type, even though he's a little taller. He has the same build, he likes to press and has great skills. He's that kind of guy.

Q: How long do you think it'll take Corey to make an impact on the pro level?

A: With the mentality he's been around, it shouldn't be a problem. It was a pro system at LSU. The system is definitely not going to be a problem for Corey Webster. We did more at LSU than most pro defenses do. The scheme and all that are not going to take him long at all. Adjusting to the talent level will probably take him a little while.


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