Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Shaw getting a look at corner
By Pedro Moura
LOS ANGELES -- USC coach Lane Kiffin has resisted giving Florida transfer Josh Shaw an extended look at cornerback all season, after Shaw spent some time there early in fall camp.
He finally has given in.
First, Kiffin said on Friday the Trojans were no closer to finding a solution for one of their starting corner spots than they were at the start of the year. Then he said he and his staff were discussing the viability of trying Shaw there once again.
The redshirt sophomore, normally a safety, proceeded to practice some at corner on Sunday and Tuesday before moving back to safety with Jawanza Starling absent from practice Wednesday.
He'll presumably take more snaps at corner in the Trojans' final practice of the week Thursday, then could play either spot against Washington on Saturday.
"We haven't figured out what we'll do on gameday yet," Kiffin said. "But it's good to know that he can do both for us."
Shaw spent a week or two at corner at the start of fall camp and performed well, but not well enough to change the Trojans' plans. The idea since his January arrival has been for him to take over at one of the two opening safety spots next season.
That's still the long-term goal, as far as anyone can tell. It's just being put on hold some since the second corner position has far and away been USC's biggest problem point on defense.
Torin Harris has not been the answer, and Kiffin moved back some from his constant support of the junior over the weekend. Freshman Kevon Seymour has experienced the growing pains you'd expect.
So secondary coach Marvin Sanders told Shaw on Sunday that the Trojans' staff had decided to temporarily move him to corner. The redshirt sophomore said he was glad to hear it, even though it came a bit out of the blue.
"Mind you," Shaw said Wednesday, "I haven't played corner since the first or second week of camp, so I'm getting back into the flow of things and I'm moving along pretty well."
Shaw said playing cornerback is "much tougher" than playing safety -- physically, at least.
"You're out there on the island," he said. "You're told to go win your battle one-on-one."
Mentally, Shaw indicated that learning safety is significantly more difficult than corner. So that aspect won't present any added challenges; as Sanders said Wednesday, Shaw is a "very intelligent player."
He also brings some other things to the table, including SEC experience at Florida and an interception in USC's season opener.
"He's a bigger corner that's long and physical and can tackle," Kiffin said. "So obviously that's a good thing."