By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – Mississippi State’s defensive coaches had a good problem this offseason: How could they get three really good cornerbacks on the field at once?
The solution was to move senior Corey Broomfield to safety. That leaves seniors Johnthan Banks and Darius Slay as the starting corners.
Broomfield, who’s started 28 games at cornerback during his career, was fine with the move when head coach Dan Mullen approached him with the idea.
“He said, ‘We’ve got you, Slay and Banks. All three of you guys are great, and we want to get you on the field at the same time,’” Broomfield said. “So it was no doubt, no question. I was like, I’ll do it.”
Nobody is surprised with his willingness to move, and it will give MSU some flexibility in its coverages. Senior Louis Watson, a former backup corner, is also working at safety this preseason.
“They just bring more speed and more man-to-man coverage to the safety position,” starting free safety Nickoe Whitley said.
Broomfield said he’s adjusting easily to safety, the only major difference from cornerback being that he’s having to make calls and communicate a lot with Whitley and other players.
Being vocal has never been a problem for the ebullient Broomfield. He’s more than happy to dole out advice to MSU’s group of young defensive backs, several of whom are expected to add quality depth to the secondary this fall.
In Broomfield’s view, the defensive backfield is going to be tough to crack, and he sees his move to safety as one reason for that.
“We’ve got so much depth. We can be very multiple,” he said. “The quarterback can’t just look and ID somebody. … We’re going to do a lot of stuff to mess with the quarterback’s brain.”
Broomfield is hopeful the move will help him get back on the interception board. He has nine career picks but was shut out in that category last season. He’s been surpassed by Banks, who has 12 interceptions.
“The more balls we get, no matter if I get it, Slay gets it or Banks gets it, the biggest thing is winning,” Broomfield said. “As long as we get the ball.”
Whitley ‘full speed’
Whitley, a junior, has been coming back from a ruptured left Achilles’ tendon he suffered on Nov. 12 of last year versus Alabama. He was severely limited in the spring but has been practicing during camp.
Thirteen days ago, Mullen nearly walked out of a media gathering when he was asked about Whitley’s health, citing a policy not to talk about injuries. Whitley spoke with the media Tuesday and said he’s good to go 14 practices into camp.
“The first couple of days I started out kind of slow, but I’m back full speed now,” he said.
Whitley had 34 tackles and four interceptions in nine games last season.
MSU will hold a press conference at 11 a.m. today to reveal details about Davis Wade Stadium expansion.
The press conference will be held in the club level of the stadium, and it’s open to the public.
State is planning to add about 6,000 new seats to Davis Wade, which has a current listed capacity of 55,082. Today’s announcement could have to do with contractor bids.