Monday, April 30, 2007

Spring Practice: Secondary

The secondary for the Bruins will probably be the strongest unit in an already strong defense. They will start 4 Seniors next season and have a star in sophomore Alterraun Verner. Redshirt junior cornerback Michael Norris is returning from injury to back up redshirt senior Trey Brown, adding even more depth to the unit.

"He’s looking pretty good, defensive coordinator" DeWayne Walker said of Norris. "We were thin last year at that position, in the Pac-10 you need as many corners as you can get. So we’re real happy that he’s back, and so far so good".

While the unit as a whole is very experienced, there is one new thing that the group will have to adjust to. Rather than working with strong-side, weak-side assignments like the defense did a year ago, the Bruins will go with left-side, right-side assignments. With the change, corners will stay put on one side instead of rotating back and forth throughout the game. Walker noted that the change will allow the corners to drill in certain plays more so than in the past.

"Whether coach Walker tells us to line up here or line up there, on Strathmore Avenue or the Morgan Center, it doesn’t really matter", Brown said. "We got to go out there, line up, and make some plays."

Horton continues to play with a wrist injury that he has had since 2005. It didn't impact his game much in 2006 and it probably won't impact him this season either. He says it occasionally hinders his ability to grab an interception.

"When the doctor tells you your wrist is a career-threatening injury, and I made it past the stage the doctors said I wouldn't make it past because I don't have to wear that cast anymore, I'm happy," Horton said. "As long as I'm out on the field, I'm happy."

Spring Game

In the spring game, Dennis Keyes intercepted an early pass from Cowan and ran it back for a touch down. The defense dominated the entire scrimage and the secondary made it difficult for Ben or Pat to achieve much success in the passing game.

"We came in wanting to dominate," cornerback Rodney Van said. "We wanted to show that this defense is everything that people have said it is. We're the best defense our offense will see."

(sources: Daily Bruin, LA Times, OC Register)