Georgia’s had one, everybody wants one and anyone that tells you they don’t is a liar. I’m talking about that unique and rare species known as…the lock down corner.
They are game changers, swagger-oozing dominators and impact players that can shut a player down, blow up game plans and take away one half of the football field.
I’m a life long RAIDERS fan, so I guess it’s no surprise I am so enamored with the in-your-face and aggressive style that a shut down corner brings. Mike Haynes, Willie Brown and Lester Hayes…game changers all. There are a few in the NFL today…NNamdi Asomugha, our very own former DAWG Champ Bailey and the man currently dominating the New York media, Darrelle Rivas and there have been some others in the NFL’s recent past like the poster boy for the term Deion Sanders and Darrell Green. But moreover, I am a fan of what having a dominant cornerback as part of your defensive 11 allows you to do as a defense. Knowing that a player of that caliber is patrolling the secondary gives you the freedom to bring that extra pressure and speed up the clock in the opposing quarterback’s head on every play. You can take more chances, disrupt the offense and that commonly leads to more big plays on defense and more turnovers.
Coach Grantham has brought his version of the 34 defense to the University of Georgia for the 2010 season and we in the DAWG Nation can’t wait to see the results. Grantham has been teasingly verbose about how aggressive we can expect to see his defense play this fall, promising an attacking style that he hopes opposing offenses won’t soon forget. In my view, the only way this vision of the DAWGS defense can become reality is if the players lining up at cornerback are up to the task.
I am not suggesting that there is a lock down corner on the roster, but I’m not saying there is not either. I don’t believe that the players currently at UGA at that position were asked to lock up in man coverage that often in the previous defensive scheme, so I don’t think it’s fair to say who will and who will not be up to the challenge.
Brandon Boykin appears to be a lock to start at one corner and now that Branden Smith is back in the fold, along with Vance Cuff, the DAWGS possess the athletes to have the fastest pair of starting cornerbacks in the nation and speed is the first ingredient when building a lock down cornerback, so there is the possibility that Georgia could develop at least one player to that lofty status. However, there is so much more that is required for a player to be considered a shut down type cornerback….instincts, aggression, hands, technique and conditioning. Whatever raw talent there is to work with on that unit, it falls to Coach Scott Lakatos, the rest of the defensive staff as well as the strength and conditioning coaches to help a player reach his full potential. With Jordan Love, Sanders Commings and true freshman Derek Owens also drawing praise during fall camp, the DAWGS edges appear to be in good shape heading into the season.
The bottom line is that if the DAWGS are going to have the level of success on defense that we all hope they will have, the cornerbacks will have to sparkle in the harsh glare of the bright lights of the Southeastern Conference.
Do the young men lining up at cornerback for Georgia have to be lock down corners? No, they do not, but they will have to be able to square off one-on-one out there on that island and rise to the challenge several times during the course of a game if that “junkyard dawgs” defense that we all want so badly to see is to return to Athens.