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POSITION BREAKDOWN: CORNERBACK

Lowell Rose breaks up a pass last year against a UTEP receiver.
Lowell Rose breaks up a pass last year against a UTEP receiver.
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Aug. 26, 2012

Tulsa, Oklahoma - Just like the safety position, the cornerback slot for the Golden Hurricane also possesses a lot of depth in 2012.

Returning starter Lowell Rose has 15 career starts in 22 games, while fellow senior John Flanders has started 22 contests since 2008, but missed all of the 2012 season.

Rose was credited with 35 tackles and a team-best nine pass break-ups last year, while a year earlier Flanders had 45 tackles, five pass break-ups and two interceptions, including the game-clinching pick-off in the end zone to preserve Tulsa's victory over Notre Dame.

"Any time you have experience, it's going to make you stronger as a core group. We're not just talking experience with John (Flanders) and Lowell (Rose), we're talking about two seniors, guys who have been in the program. We're talking about seniority instead of just having two experienced sophomores. We feel good about Lowell and John coming back. They're leaders and this is it for them. Any time you have that senior leadership and experience on both sides it makes your group stronger overall," said Cornerbacks Coach Darnell Walker, Sr.

Depth is solid for the Hurricane as J.D. Ratliff and Dwight Dobbins saw playing time in the secondary a year ago, Ratliff as a junior college transfer and Dobbins as a true freshman. True freshman Darnell Walker, Jr. also adds depth at the corner position.

"Going into that first game you hope that the two starters are at full strength mentally and physically. Hopefully, they're strong enough that the younger guys can grow under them and be great role players," said Walker, Sr. "The development has been really good with the whole group. I still see improvement from the guys. They've really grasped the concept of whet we're trying to get done defensively."

 

 

Defensive Coordinator Brent Guy talked about the entire secondary -- safety and cornerback --as being the deepest area of the defense.

"We have four seniors back there who have started a lot of games and that's probably the deepest part of our defense," said Guy. "We're able to get John Flanders back this year in the mix with Lowell (Rose), Dexter (MCoil) and Marco (Nelson) returning as starters. Michael Mudoh is a kid who will play a lot and help us at safety, and then at corner with (Dwight) Dobbins, (JD) Ratliff, (Darnell) Walker Jr.

"We have a lot of depth that we can roll through and keep guys fresh there. It's a great position to be in because we have a lot of four seniors back there who have played a lot of football and that's going to help us. Hopefully, what we're hoping is not to give up the big plays in the passing and force them to throw the ball in front of us and make tackles and get off the field on third downs," added Guy

"The corners are a deep group," said Tulsa Head Coach Bill Blankenship. "Lowell and John are the returning veteran starting guys, but we have really good depth behind them. JD Ratliff, Dwight Dobbins and `Lil Walker are all in a position to get playing time if something happens. We won't probably spell those first two very often, but when we do I feel real good that we have depth and guys that can play."