The defensive backs were the most experienced part of the Brigham Young Cougars defense a year ago. This year, it is the biggest question mark. Gone are multi-year starters Andrew Rich (strong safety) Brandon Bradley (cornerback) and Brian Logan (cornerback). These three combined for 201 tackles, 8 interceptions, and 19 pass breakups in 2010. Free safety Travis Uale (42 tackles) is the only returning starter.
Uale was voted team captain at the end of spring practices. He has found himself in a fierce competition to keep his starting spot with former running back Mike Hague. In fact, the competition for each secondary position has been one of the better stories this offseason.
Jray Galea'I and Carter Mees both logged playing time behind Rich at strong safety, but Daniel Sorensen jumped in, fresh off a mission, and stole the starting job during spring ball.
Corby Eason (22 tackles, 3.5 sacks) saw some playing time last year at cornerback. His success at the corner blitz made him a fan favorite, but can cover downfield as well. He appears to have fended off tough competiton from Robbie Buckner, Jordan Johnson, DeQuan Everett, and Joe Sampson to inherit a starting role for his senior season. Junior college transfer Preston Hadley looks to be the starter at the other corner.
While two of the four positions will have inexperienced players, the potential is there for this unit to shine for BYU. Head coach and defensive coordinator Bronco Mendenhall has said that the free safety is the most important position in his defense, so it bodes well that an experienced player returns at that spot.
Other 2011 Previews: Season Preview, Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers, Running Backs, Offensive Line, Defensive Backs, Linebackers, Defensive Line, Special Teams
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