By Trey McCurry.
The Tigers lost three 2010 starters in the secondary to the NFL. TheClemsonInsider.com caught up with coach Harbison on Tuesday at The Reserve where he discussd the battle for starting roles and depth for the 2011 secondary.
On filling the shoes left by Marcus Gilchrist, DeAndre McDaniel, and Byron Maxwell:
Those three are guys that will take a committee to replace. All of those guys played two good years in this system. I think guys like Rashard Hall and Jonathan Meeks will fill the role at safety, while you have Xavier Brewer, Martin Jenkins, and Coty Sensabaugh at corner. Then you have Darius Robinson and Garry Peters that you will have to see how they do in game-type situations. Hall will be the guy that is charge of the signals (replacing Gilchrist), and then you have Meeks and Brewer. Those are the guys that have to take the next step.
On determining playing time:
With me, guys have to earn their game reps. They all work good as a unit and I feel really good about the unit. To me, the game is what tells the most. Spring is one thing, but the game is an entirely different thing. We try to keep ourselves as a unit. We don’t want to put a lot on one guy; we keep it a unit. We rotate people and that is important so that guys can get game snaps. We just always want to keep our best guys on the field in any given situation. The chemistry with this group seems really good too.
On Rashard Hall:
He needs to just keep doing what he has been doing and continue filling his role. When guys do their job, and do it every day, then it is never a problem. He did a good job last year directing traffic and making calls. He has been doing everything all along.
On Darius Robinson and Martin Jenkins:
I anticipate more snaps for both of them, but they have to earn it. Just because you played last year does not necessarily mean you will get more snaps last year, you still have to earn it. They have younger guys behind them like Bashaud Breeland, Cortez Davis, and Robert Smith that will push for time too. My thing is that guys have to step up and earn it.
On Garry Peters:
He made a lot of headway in the spring. That is one of the reasons I am excited about getting started here soon. Just to see where all of these guys have came from the spring, and then the summer as well.
On Bashaud Breeland:
Once we start the season, we will see how he handles game situations. He did have a buzz about him during the spring and he is a guy that I really like his size. He is a lot like Maxwell in that.
On Cortez Davis and Robert Smith:
He will play corner for us. But of course that can change, but we will start him out at corner. I like matchups and his size gives him a good matchup with a lot of receivers. It just all depends on how everything works out. I like bigger corners, but at the same time they still have to have good footwork. I won’t say I only want tall corners because you see some undersized DBs that can really play. Smith will play safety for us. I am anticipating his will see some action for us, but it all depends on how camp goes. Like a lot of our others guy, they are all interchangeable.