September 9, 2010

Cornerbacks aim to set the tone

A.J. Green won't play a down in Saturday's game against South Carolina, but according to cornerback Brandon Boykin his impact will still be felt.

In terms of pure size, South Carolina boasts one of, if not the, largest group of receivers the Bulldogs will face this year.

But after you've gone against the likes of Green day in and day out in practice, Boykin said there's no challenge Georgia's corners shouldn't be capable of meeting.

"A.J. has made me so much better the last couple of weeks," Boykin said. "I'm serious. Early in camp, it was really tough to stay with him. Now, I'm breaking passes up and things on him daily. He's definitely got me ready."

Boykin takes nothing away from South Carolina's receiving corps.

Across the board in the Gamecocks' three-receiver set, South Carolina's two-deep roll is 6-4, 6-0, 6-3, 6-5, 6-4 and 6-4.

Besides being fast, the group is also extremely physical and likes to use that muscle on the field.

However, cornerback Vance Cuff said there's a key to keep that from happening.

"The key thing is, just cover and don't give them any room. We've covered some big receivers before and we've got the best in the nation that we go against every day," Cuff said. "They're physical, but you've just got to stand your ground. But this is the kind of challenge you want as a corner. If you're a small corner people are always wondering if you can cover the big receivers. It's a test we're studying for and I'm going to pass it."

Added Sanders Commings, "We're not going to back down."

Even secondary coach Scott Lakatos seemed to shrug when asked about any size disadvantage between Georgia's corners compared to the Gamecocks' wideouts.

Although he admits the group will be one of the most talented groups the Bulldogs will see, the fact they will be larger targets is nothing all that unusual.

"That's part of the deal, you just try to create some situations where you're in tight coverage , you try to keep the quarterback from throwing accurately, mix in some coverages and hopefully force them to make mistakes," Lakatos said. "That's basically the same plan every week."

It's a confident Bulldog secondary which will try and contain Gamecock quarterback Stephen Garcia and the Gamecocks' passing game.

Georgia intercepted three passes in last week's 55-7 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette after not collecting more than two picks in a single game all last year.

"That's gives us confidence because it at least shows we can do it," said Boykin, who had one of the three interceptions. "It's all about trusting the coaches to put us in the right position and playing full speed. Now, we know it's going to be tough against South Carolina. Take nothing away from (Louisiana), but we know it's going to be harder to make those plays. This game's going to be going a lot quicker."

Still, after struggling to create turnovers a season ago, Lakatos said it was important for his players to have some early season success.

"That was good. You always want your guys to feel good about what you're trying to do," Lakatos said. "Obviously, that was a first game and you can't judge what either team is going to do, but as far getting some confidence it was good to see. But what I was most pleased with was right after it was over they were really focused on what they need to do for this second game."

Cuff said the secondary - especially the corners - are prepared for the challenge it's about to face.

He doesn't plan on backing down.

"I'm going to be trying to set the tone," Cuff said. I 'm not going to give away anything, but I'm definitely going to set the tone.

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