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Coach Woodson "AU has the best CB duo in the country"

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Marcus Woodson: AU has the ‘best duo of corners in the country’

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 18: Defensive back Javaris Davis #13 of the Auburn Tigers celebrates after a big play during their game against the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 18, 2017 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)

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AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 18: Defensive back Javaris Davis #13 of the Auburn Tigers celebrates after a big play during their game against the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 18, 2017 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)

Auburn may have lost a third-round NFL Draft pick at cornerback this offseason, but at least one coach is confident the Tigers could be even better at the position this fall.

Jamel Dean was drafted in the third round by the Tampa Bay Bucs this spring, leaving an open starting spot at corner for Auburn this offseason alongside Noah Igbinoghene. With veteran defensive back Javaris Davis, who started at nickel last season, moving back to the outside, Auburn defensive backs coach Marcus Woodson is confident in the Tigers’ starting tandem at corner as fall camp quickly approaches.

“I really do feel like we have the best duo of corners in the country in (Igbinoghene) and Javaris Davis,” Woodson said Thursday before speaking to the Monroe County Auburn Club in Monroeville.

That’s quite a statement from the Tigers’ second-year defensive backs coach, especially when you consider that Igbinoghene has just one year of experience at the position following a switch from offense to defense last spring and Davis played predominantly in the slot during the 2018 season. Still, Woodson feels great about the team’s projected starters at corner.

It’s understandable, though, given the breakout year Igbinoghene had last season and the veteran experience Davis, a redshirt senior brings to the other side of the field. Woodson is particularly high on Igbinoghene — a player defensive coordinator Kevin Steele said possesses four key traits to be dominant at corner.

As a sophomore last season, Igbinoghene led the team with 11 pass breakups, totaled 50 tackles, picked off one pass and had a forced fumble. While he had some ups and downs last season, as expected, Auburn’s coaches were somewhat surprised by just how quickly Igbinoghene progressed after moving from receiver to cornerback last spring.

Woodson anticipates Igbinoghene to make a big jump in 2019 and expects an All-SEC caliber season from the 5-foot-11, 200-pound junior.

“Man, I tell you what, he set a high bar and a high standard for himself,” Woodson said. “I knew day one, based on physicality and his aggressiveness and his competitive drive, that he was going to make a really good corner…. You know, Noah has the ability and the potential to play this game for a really long time.”

Igbinoghene is still sorting his way through some of the nuances of playing the position—mastering split recognition, down-and-distance and situational awareness as well as other pre-snap intricacies—but Woodson described the former four-star receiver as a “natural-born corner.”

“He just only had one year of experience, you know, so I see his production really shooting out of the roof this year when it comes to the little things of playing DB,” Woodson said. “… For Noah, for him individually it’s more about being a student of the game and being able to put everything pre-snap together that we have to as defensive backs within a small time frame, you know, so he’s been really good and I’m expecting for him to have an all-conference season.”

As for Davis, the move back from nickel to corner — where he started games in 2017 — has been a seamless one this offseason. The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder has the versatility to excel at either spot, and while Woodson said there’s probably an “equal comfort zone” for Davis in the slot and on the outside, his ability to focus on playing at a high level gives the defense more flexibility — and allows Auburn to start sophomore Christian Tutt at nickel.

Davis had an 81.8 overall grade last season, according to Pro Football Focus analysis, including an 80.7 grade in coverage while limiting opposing quarterbacks to a 64.4 passer rating when he was targeted. He totaled eight pass breakups, a pair of interceptions and 41 tackles last season while playing nickel, and Auburn expects even more from him in 2019 after he opted to return for his senior season.

“He’s a kid that doesn’t need many reps like most, you know,” Woodson said. “He’s a veteran as well, you know, so he can line up and play star one series and make the transition to corner like it’s nothing, you know, or vice versa from corner to star. So, you know, we’re fortunate to have him, and that’s why he’s so valuable. The more you can do, the more valuable you are, and he’s one that can play any corner and go to star, and if we ever need him to play safety, you know, he’s never done that but I know he understands the big picture enough, again, being in the system now for three years to be able to be adjustable and fit where we need him to.”

 

 

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So glad to see the secondary get love. They have been high key getting a lot of criticism from the fans (rightfully so at times), but they are playing on an island against some serious talent.

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23 minutes ago, DAG said:

So glad to see the secondary get love. They have been high key getting a lot of criticism from the fans (rightfully so at times), but they are playing on an island against some serious talent.

Yeah Kevin Steele doesn’t give the CB’s too much help. They have a tough job pressing all game

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Does anybody remember when was the last season we had a team that had a nose for the football and forced tons of turnovers in P5 action?

 Individually; guys that were ball hawks that could force turnovers like the GREAT HONEYBADGER!!??

 

Does our scheme just prevent forcing them? 

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31 minutes ago, aujeff11 said:

Does our scheme just prevent forcing them? 

@bigbird can likely comment more on this but it is my understanding that yes a lot of it is our scheme.  We play the man and not the ball.  Has to do with the phase we are in while pressing the WR.

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I’m glad we have good corners but I prefer the “show me” rather than the “tell me”.  But I’m old and cringe when anyone says they are the best at anything😊

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Coaches are predicting no drop off in secondary and linebacker corps and should be even better on the defensive line, and all we need now is a elite pass rusher to be a great defense!

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6 minutes ago, LKEEL75 said:

@bigbird can likely comment more on this but it is my understanding that yes a lot of it is our scheme.  We play the man and not the ball.  Has to do with the phase we are in while pressing the WR.

Most INTs will come in some type of zone coverage, combo coverage, or pattern matching schemes where defenders can peal off routes and play the ball.  Most of the time we play an aggressive man scheme where we press our corners, limiting our opportunities for INTs.

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2 hours ago, toddc said:

Coaches are predicting no drop off in secondary and linebacker corps and should be even better on the defensive line, and all we need now is a elite pass rusher to be a great defense!

So if coaches  prediction is not correct and there is a falloff are the coaches saying that then they failed as coaches.

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1 hour ago, bigbird said:

Most INTs will come in some type of zone coverage, combo coverage, or pattern matching schemes where defenders can peal off routes and play the ball.  Most of the time we play an aggressive man scheme where we press our corners, limiting our opportunities for INTs.

Good post Bird. I would add to it that last year we found ourselves out of phase alot of times on deep balls. If our corners can stay in phase better this year I have faith that we may come out with a few more picks than last year. If the Corner is in phase then he can turn his head and make a play on the ball. If he is out of phase he has to stay keyed on the WR in order not to get beat.

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4 minutes ago, Carnell said:

So if coaches  prediction is not correct and there is a falloff are the coaches saying that then they failed as coaches.

Huh? 

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1 hour ago, Tigerpro2a said:

Good post Bird. I would add to it that last year we found ourselves out of phase alot of times on deep balls. If our corners can stay in phase better this year I have faith that we may come out with a few more picks than last year. If the Corner is in phase then he can turn his head and make a play on the ball. If he is out of phase he has to stay keyed on the WR in order not to get beat.

Weren’t they taught by a coach that already developed not one, not two, not three, but FOUR Jim Thorpe recipients. Did Goober Brown and Steele not click? 

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1 minute ago, aujeff11 said:

Weren’t they taught by a coach that already developed not one, not two, not three, but FOUR Jim Thorpe recipients. Did Goober Brown and Steele not click? 

I am not certain of his history.....however I would say they were well coached, being that the main one I am referring to was a first year CB and had played WR up until that point. He had virtually no experience at corner prior and he continued to improve. Now this year he could be a potential All Sec Caliber CB. Just saying if you watch tape from last season that's the reason why we missed some opportunities.....but you also have to count in what Bird said about our scheme as well. With us pressing man 90% of the time, we don;t get nearly as many opportunities to get picks. If we stay in phase better this year we will see an increase in those opportunities.

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I think another thing that frustrates the hell out of me was the inconsistency of calls and I rarely call out the refs. There were some obvious PIs but there were times where hand fighting occurred between both players and we got the end of the stick. Yet, I would watch a game on prime time later that night and the very same thing would be going on with no call!

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12 minutes ago, Tigerpro2a said:

I am not certain of his history.....however I would say they were well coached, being that the main one I am referring to was a first year CB and had played WR up until that point. He had virtually no experience at corner prior and he continued to improve. Now this year he could be a potential All Sec Caliber CB. Just saying if you watch tape from last season that's the reason why we missed some opportunities.....but you also have to count in what Bird said about our scheme as well. With us pressing man 90% of the time, we don;t get nearly as many opportunities to get picks. If we stay in phase better this year we will see an increase in those opportunities.

Are they playing in phase the reason why it seems like every team (Washington, LSU, Tennessee, Clemson)  can complete the back shoulder throws such as the sideline outs?

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Just now, aujeff11 said:

Are they playing in phase the reason why it seems like every team (Washington, LSU, Tennessee, Clemson)  can complete the back shoulder throws such as the sideline outs?

Back shoulder throws are the kryptonite against teams who play man press and is one of the hardest things to cover at the CB. NFL QBs make a living off that which shows you the talent level of those CBs who can neutralize it.

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1 hour ago, DAG said:

Back shoulder throws are the kryptonite against teams who play man press and is one of the hardest things to cover at the CB. NFL QBs make a living off that which shows you the talent level of those CBs who can neutralize it.

Yes....Back shoulder fade type of routes are one of those where perfect ball can beat perfect coverage....you really have to have great anticipation and instinct when in man coverage to defend that, plus you have to have very good hips and body control. You can have all of that and play it well and a perfect throw and good WR still beat you.

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3 hours ago, Tigerpro2a said:

Good post Bird. I would add to it that last year we found ourselves out of phase alot of times on deep balls. If our corners can stay in phase better this year I have faith that we may come out with a few more picks than last year. If the Corner is in phase then he can turn his head and make a play on the ball. If he is out of phase he has to stay keyed on the WR in order not to get beat.

I believe Steele wants them playing more if a trail technique, limiting back shoulders and having the DBs play through the basket rather than face guarding.  That increases PBUs, but limits INTs. It's also easier to transition to from the jam.

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1 hour ago, DAG said:

Back shoulder throws are the kryptonite against teams who play man press and is one of the hardest things to cover at the CB. NFL QBs make a living off that which shows you the talent level of those CBs who can neutralize it.

There are only 2 real ways to defend back shoulders from man coverage. The first is playing out of phase and taking it away by position being careful not to over run the route while trying to play catch up. The second is by technique. While in phase, when the DB feels the beginning of the break, instead of turning inside toward the field, he turns into the receiver and attacks his arms through his shoulders. This goes against what DBs have always been taught when looking back/ defending stop-type routes.

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28 minutes ago, bigbird said:

I believe Steele wants them playing more if a trail technique, limiting back shoulders and having the DBs play through the basket rather than face guarding.  That increases PBUs, but limits INTs. It's also easier to transition to from the jam.

I have wondered if that is the case. Seems like alot we look out of phase but maybe that is by design. It's not a bad technique, but it can hurt us with those flag happy refs.

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6 hours ago, aujeff11 said:

Does anybody remember when was the last season we had a team that had a nose for the football and forced tons of turnovers in P5 action?

 Individually; guys that were ball hawks that could force turnovers like the GREAT HONEYBADGER!!??

 

Does our scheme just prevent forcing them? 

Yes. The in-phase man coverage that's basically DBs playing tag with receivers puts their back turned to the football. Impossible to intercept without a deflection.

I'm a firm believer that a zone blitz scheme is the best in football. A lot easier to play defense when all 11 guys are watching the football. 

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Just as an addendum, Steele's philosophy is still very good in modern day football. He refuses to allow long touchdowns. I can't remember the last 50+ yard touchdown against us. I think he believes in eliminating big plays and getting stingy around the redzone, where it's way easier to defend. We force a lot of field goal tries and make a lot of stops. Problem is, we never get those game swinging turnovers.

Edited by AUght2win

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12 minutes ago, AUght2win said:

Just as an addendum, Steele's philosophy is still very good in modern day football. He refuses to allow long touchdowns. I can't remember the last 50+ yard touchdown against us. I think he believes in eliminating big plays and getting stingy around the redzone, where it's way easier to defend. We force a lot of field goal tries and make a lot of stops. Problem is, we never get those game swinging turnovers.

Yes. I agree with everything you just said. Seems like he is willing to eat 15 on a PI than give up a long TD which I am ok with. Also sacrifice some yardage here and there to keep them from scoring more. He does throw in a zone blitz every now and then. If memory serves, I believe the INT that Iggy got in aTm was on a zone blitz. 

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The counter to the back shoulder throw is to get a good pass rusher in the qbs face!

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