LSU’s young cornerbacks getting more comfortable
As a part of a fledgling LSU secondary, Rashard Robinson was often bewildered last season.
There were times when the Pompano Beach, Fla., cornerback was unsure of his assignment and completely disoriented on the defensive call before a snap.
In a pinch, he’d turn to his freshman cornerback counterpart Tre’Davious White moments before the snap in hopes he would remember the call.
White almost always didn’t.
“Sometimes we felt lost,” Robinson said. “But, hell, we were out there and we were ready to go.”
It’s the only way the duo survived last season. Robinson admitted he’d usually just revert back to a basic man defense when calls were inaudible.
When veteran receivers noticed White had a problem staying square at the line of scrimmage and opened up his stance too quick, it led to numerous busts in pass coverage.
“I guess they were watching film on me, so receivers took advantage of that last year,” White said.
“The little things make the biggest difference.”
Now as sophomores, the duo focused on those little things throughout the spring, coupled with some tough love from LSU defensive backs coach Corey Raymond.
“(Raymond) yells at me all the time,” Robinson said with a big grin. “I just got to swallow the pill, get tough skin and get out there and play football and focus on my craft.”
“Last year I used to let it get to me, but now I just look at it as he’s trying to make me better.”
As both cornerbacks adopt the coach’s mantra of “honing your craft,” they’ve come to realize refining their faults isn’t a one-day affair.
White said he can’t rectify all his faults at one practice, so he comes to each with a goal to fix one thing — and only one thing — in his game during the time on the field.
Along with his newly formed practice plan, White said the pace of the game has slowed so much that he feels more assured in his skills than ever.
“I’m in my comfort zone now,” White said. “I don’t look to the coach after every play as I used to last year. I’m confident in my technique and my craft. We’ve got a year under our belt and we know the defensive scheme now.”
With them along the way is newly converted freshman cornerback Ed Paris Jr., who signed with LSU as a safety.
White marveled at Paris’ fervent desire to learn the schemes, describing his meticulous attention to detail in defensive meetings, where the freshman can always be spotted jotting down notes on a note pad.
And when it comes time for early morning drills or film study, Paris is always the one calling or texting his sophomore teammates to wake up.
“At first, he was timid a little bit,” Robinson said. “He’s starting to get more aggression with him, starting to pick up the game now. It’s not high school, so he’s starting to look at it through a college football player’s standpoint.”
As Paris nips at both Robinson and White’s heels for a crack at the starting lineup, a healthy competition has emerged in an LSU secondary devoid of any household names like it had in years past.
It’s a situation both Robinson and White relish. A year removed from not knowing one defensive call from another, White now claims he’s learned the whole defense and can even spout off the assignments of linebackers and safeties on each play.
With that knowledge in tow, White and Robinson promised their defensive backfield will work much like it did in the Outback Bowl against Iowa — like clockwork.
“We’ve got a year under our belt, and we know the defensive scheme now,” White said. “I can do things that I couldn’t do last year because I know where everyone needs to be.”