March 16, 2009

A Corner Crowd

There may be no position more wide open during spring football at Mizzou than cornerback. The only returning starter from a season ago isn't even sure he'll play the same position.

"Coach Ford, he's just been telling me in meetings just to know the nickel position," Carl Gettis said. "But right now I'm strictly a corner. If they ask me to play the nickel spot, I need to know it where I'll be able to play it."

Gettis has started at corner for most of the last two seasons. If he stays there, the Tigers seem to have half of the equation solved. But Missouri must replace William Moore, who played a hybrid safety/linebacker nickel role last year and Gettis is a candidate for that as well. Should he be moved in the nickel defense, the Tigers are searching for two corners this spring.

There is no shortage of candidates. Trey Hobson and Kevin Rutland saw playing time last year. Munir Prince sat out after transferring and Robert Steeples and Kip Edwards redshirted.

"It's like this all the time in spring," Steeples said. "No spots are locked down so we're just out there competing and they're gonna put the guys they feel that benefit that position out there."

"We've got some guys that are athletic and can flat out run. Now it's just a matter of getting them where they've got to get to," corners coach Cornell Ford added. "We're athletic and we're getting better."

There is plenty of potential with the trio that sat out last season. But none of them have played in the secondary on the college level. Rutland and Hobson have and perhaps that gives them a slight edge as spring ball enters its second week.

"That's why because of experience, but we're all battling out there," Hobson said. "When we're off the field, we're friends, but when we're out there, I'm trying to outshine those guys."

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