INSIDE TULSA FOOTBALL: THE SAFETIES
Aug 22, 2013
TULSA, Okla. - The safety position, despite losing the school's all-time interceptions leader Dexter McCoil to graduation, appears to be in solid standing with the leadership of free safety Demarco Nelson.
Although more depth at the position is being developed, the first two spots will be filled by Nelson, who has tons of experience, and a very talented Michael Mudoh, who saw considerable playing time last year in the secondary.
Named the preseason Watch Lists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and the Jim Thorpe Award, Nelson enters the 2013 season having started 39 consecutive games for the Golden Hurricane. Nelson had 80 stops last year and has collected 239 tackles in his three-year career.
"Demarco really has taken his game a little higher. He makes it really, really tough," said head coach Bill Blankenship. "He has to be the leader back there. He's without a doubt the quarterback in the secondary. He has to be the one that communicates. We've said that before, but that's not the thing he's most comfortable doing. But he's really, really embraced that role. In fall camp, I think that's the best he's ever done, in terms of communicating at directing traffic."
Mudoh missed a few days with an injury, but is back patrolling the secondary from his Bandit position. A sophomore, Mudoh totaled 25 tackles and two pass-break-ups last season.
"It's good to have Michael back in place. He really is the only other experienced safety, so I think it's important he gets as much work as he can. The young guys behind him have all been adequate, but there's a reason you're a starter and you need those starters out there," said Blankenship.
Red-shirt freshman Jeremy Brady has turned in a solid preseason camp and can work at either position. Red-shirt freshman Matt Linscott and junior Bradley White are also in the mix at the safety position. White's only experience has been on special teams for the Hurricane.
"Jeremy has played really well for us. He's been in the training room the last couple of days, but we've had to get some work from Matt and Bradley. Both of those guys are really fighting it out for the number two spot at their position," said Blankenship. "It kind of runs together, because both of those guys are fighting to see who gets it behind Mudoh. To this point, Jeremy had been behind Demarco, but you're really trying to find your third-best guy. Your third-best guy will go to either safety spot. So we just shuffle those guys around."
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