The strength of the Oregon State football team’s defense should be the secondary, safeties in particular. However, the cornerbacks have come along and must be on top of their games, or the defense will be in trouble.
There’s been little written about the corners because they’ve been as solid as expected in training camp. The offense has gotten the better of the defensive backs frequently, but that’s because the defensive linemen aren’t allowed hit the quarterback and the offense is pretty good. And many times the secondary has made plays.
James Dockery is a returning starter and Brandon Hardin has starting experience. Jordan Poyer is a strong No. 3 guy who will relieve both of them.
“We are doing pretty good,” Dockery said of his group’s status. “We have great competition in practice.”
Poyer’s transition from safety to corner was deemed a success by corner coach Keith Heyward. He followed in Dockery’s footsteps with that move.
“The transition for him went really good,” Heyward said. “I’m just giving him a lot of reps with the ones to get him up to speed. Dock and Brandon are rotating to keep them fresh.”
Redshirt freshman Rashaad Reynolds is the No. 4 corner and leader of the large group of younger players. Ryan Handford was brought in from JC, but the Beavers are not in a rush to use him.
“He has a redshirt year, but we don’t know (about redshirting him or not),” Heyward said. “He’s doing well. It just takes a little bit to get comfortable in our defense, how to press and know where the helps is, especially coming from JC when you don’t play man-to-man. There’s a lot to learn, but he pays attention to detail.”
So the Beavers are in good hands with group. If the corners do their job, everything became much easier.
“Anytime you play the secondary you want to keep things in front of you,” Dockery said. “There isn’t any more extra pressure than last year.”