Because it's Easter, this blog entry was typed up Saturday night. It's highly unlikely you'll hear from me today. But I wanted to share with y'all some of the conversations I had Friday with MSU cornerbacks Damein Anderson, Corey Broomfield and Maurice Langston. You can find a story on the corners in the Sunday Journal.
Langston, as you probably know, was arrested last February for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. He reached a plea deal that put him on five years' probation. Now a senior, he's grateful for his second chance, and he's a lot more comfortable in the defense than he was last year, when he missed the first five games but wound up making four starts.
"I was kind of unsure what to do, because I missed all of spring practice and all the two-a-days, so when I came, I had to try to learn everything so fast that it was kind of overwhelming," Langston said. "So instead of just going out there and playing, I was really just going out there trying not to mess up and thinking too much."
Another CB, Arceto Clark, was arrested and charged with pettit larceny last offseason, and then he took a redshirt after becoming academically ineligible. Cornerbacks coach Melvin Smith thinks both Langston and Clark are seizing their second chances.
"They're working hard, they're trying to learn the new defense – a lot of the techniques are different, so they're having to learn a lot," Smith said. "They haven't missed anything, and they've got a really good learning spirit about them. And to me, that's always a good sign."
MSU goes six-deep at the position, and the corners are looking to help MSU improve on its pass defense, which was ranked 11th in the SEC last season (220.0 yards per game).
"Basically we've got six corners that can play," said Anderson, a junior. "By having me, Corey and Maurice in the group, then Louis (Watson) has a little playing experience from last year, too, so basically we're going to have a pretty good year this year."
Broomfield, a sophomore, led the team with six interceptions last season. He appears to be the real deal. Right now, although he's running with the first team in spring drills, Broomfield is nursing a left shoulder on which he had surgery in December (for a torn labrum). He said he's "about 70, 80 percent." He certainly expects to be back in top form this fall.
"I feel like when I'm on the field, the coaches and the players around me, we've got a great defense. They're going to put me in a position to make plays, and I feel like I've got the talent and ability to do it."
And I have to work in this quote from Smith about one-on-one coverage. I asked him how confident he was in his corners playing man, and he got a bit worked up when answering the question.
"Let me tell you something. If a cornerback has to go out there and cover a guy man-to-man all over the field without pressure (up front), you ain't gonna win. I don't give a (care) who he is. And anybody that's naive enough to think that that can happen, they're pretty much stupid."