August 27, 2008

Q&A: Brandon King

After practice Wednesday evening, caught up with cornerback Brandon King to talk about his switch from safety, his on-field personality and his impressions of the Boilermaker secondary. Now that training camp has ended, you're probably into more game-like preparation, right?

King: "We definitely honing in on what we want to get done this season, just getting better at techniques. Everybody is pretty set in their positions now, so we're just starting to get into game speed now." Speaking of set in positions, how are you doing at cornerback?

King: "I'm adjusted. It took me about three or four days. Playing safety, you play the slots (receivers) a lot, so you had a little bit more time to react. But playing corner, you're right up in their face, so it took me a couple days, but I'd say I'm fully adjusted now. I'm more comfortable now at corner than I was at safety." You played corner as a rookie three years ago, being thrown into the fire against Notre Dame. That wasn't a fun experience, was it?

King:"I didn't even know what the basic coverage were; I was just out there backpedaling. Now, I know what I'm doing, know what everybody is doing. I know what we're trying to accomplish. .. That game I was going all on athleticism, but now it's more of a mental thing than anything. The athletic part just comes." Do you still ever think about that game?

King: "I think about it every once in a while when I go line up, but I just block it out and try to get better from back then, from that game." You mentioned that you feel more comfortable at cornerback than safety?

King: "Yeah, I definitely do. I liked safety, but really didn't have the love for it. I played it to the best of my ability, but I really didn't have the passion for it. At corner, I really have a passion for it and I really like it and I feel like I can really compete at the position.

"And I'm a big talker. At safety, you really couldn't hear me because I was back all the time. Now, I'm up on the line all the time, so everybody hears me, everybody hears me.

"The last couple days of camp I didn't talk because I was tired. But I talk more than anybody; Greg and me, we constantly go at it, talking forever. It's just all fun and games, but you have to back it up." Trash-talking or good-natured stuff?

King: "It depends on what kind of mood I'm in. I have no problem giving a receiver credit if he makes a good play: 'Good job, it won't happen next time,' things like that. But when we play Michigan or Notre Dame, it might be a little dirty. I'm just a competitor, I like to win." A lot of praise has been those the secondary's way this fall, with some hinting it could be the strength of the defense. What do you see?

King: "I see the same. … Ever since the first day we stepped on the field, some days I just stop and turn back and look around at those other three guys and think I really like what we've got. This might be one of the best secondaries we've had since that one in '03 with Bernard (Pollard) and Stu (Schweigert).

"A lot of people don't think we're really fast, but that's probably one of our strengths. We're all hungry too, we just want to go out and prove something. We really don't have any people thinking we're going to be all that good, but we think so and the coaches think so." Does all that experience you got as a freshman, along with David Pender and Royce Adams, help now?

King: "It definitely helps a lot. Even though I played as a freshman, last year when I stepped back on the field you kind of don't know what to expect. WE definitely know the speed of the game and I think we'll come out swinging this year. Last year, we came out wondering what the speed was going to be like. We have a better feel for the game and are way more confident. That plays the biggest role, everybody is confident and knows the defense."

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