Bolden looking to regain freshman form

October, 2, 2008

Posted by's Ted Miller

California has inexperienced receivers and issues at quarterback, which sounds like the perfect recipe for Arizona State cornerback Omar Bolden to regain his mojo.

Bolden, a touted recruit in 2007 who made an immediate impact and earned Freshman All-American honors, has struggled early this season, most notably when Georgia true freshman A.J. Green lit him up on seven catches for 150 yards in the first half two weeks ago and forced the Sun Devils to help Bolden with a safety.

"[He's] probably not having the year he had a year ago," Arizona State coach Dennis Erickson said. "He's playing OK, but he's not playing and being as dominant as he was a year ago. Obviously, that can change and hopefully it will."

Bolden told the East Valley Tribune that he was more comfortable in last year's scheme, which featured more press-man coverage. Now Bolden is playing off wideouts on the line of scrimmage, which requires him to read and react instead of go mano-a-mano with a receiver.

"It's been difficult," Bolden told the newspaper. "Last year, we had our technique. This year, it's something completely different, which is a little irritating to me, because I haven't played on the corner all that much. Learning two techniques in two years is rough."

Erickson intimated this week that the defensive scheme could be tweaked in order to get Bolden back on track. 

"We've got to do a better job of getting him in position where he's more comfortable," he said.

Erickson wants to be careful with Bolden's confidence -- the sophomore has probably never struggled on a football field before -- but Erickson also sees too much talent to believe Bolden won't bounce back.

This weekend at Cal might be a good place to start.

"He is one of the best," Erickson said. "He'll get better all the time. He is so competitive and those juices will come out."



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