April 8, 2007

Burney making headway at corner

After playing 195 snaps and recording 23 tackles at safety last season, Ben Burney is back at cornerback battling for the starting spot opposite Terrence Wheatley.

So far, so good. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound junior has been working with the first team defense this spring. We caught up with Burney after Friday's scrimmage and asked him a variety of questions:

What do you bring to the table as a cornerback? And has it been a hard transition going back to practicing at corner after playing safety last season?
Ben Burney: "I think I bring size, speed, I have good hands and good feet. Also, I am one of the older defensive backs here. We have a lot of younger corners that don't have a lot of experience and are still learning. So the knowledge I bring to the table is a strong asset as well. It hasn't really been a hard transition. Mentally it is actually a little more difficult playing safety because you have to do a little more thinking out there. So the move back to cornerback hasn't been that hard."

What are your goals this off-season?
"My goal is definitely to get better at reading receivers' routes, releases they do and everything like that, so I know what routes are coming. That can help me out a lot. Also, I want to continue to improve my speed and my hips and being able to come back on the ball.

"At safety, usually you don't have to do that quick movement; you just have to read stuff with your eyes. But at corner you have to be able to read hips, and get the fast twitch fibers moving, come back quicker. So I have to work on that more. I am trying to stay low in my back peddle, and staying focused and being prepared on the releases, knowing that part of the game more."

What special teams units are you practicing with this spring? Do you enjoy working on special teams?
"I am on almost all special teams. I am on kickoff return, kickoff [coverage], punt return and punt [coverage]. Some people might not like working on special teams, but if you are on special teams that means you are an athletic player and they are putting you out there because you are important so you have to take pride in that. I understand how important special teams is to the game."

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