KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Cornerback remains one of the biggest need positions for Tennessee football. While the players are willing, they have yet to prove themselves completely able.
At least, not in the eyes of first-year secondary coach Charlton Warren.
“No one has shown me enough for me to be happy yet,” Warren said following Tuesday’s practice. “They’ve shown me enough for me to know they are hungry and they are working to get better on a daily basis, and in spring ball that’s all you can ask for.”
Tennessee coach Butch Jones, Warren’s boss, might think otherwise.
But the fact Warren wants to be patient with his players and give them all a fair chance is a good thing in the long run, as he looks to earn their trust.
“With change comes some compromise —give me a chance to show you what I want you to do, but buy in,” Warren said. “I appreciate these guys buying in and changing some things technique-wise.
“I walked in and said it’s a clean slate for everybody; everybody is trying to earn a starting spot. You have a chance to re-invent yourself, and you don’t get that chance too often in life.”
Senior Emmanuel Moseley returns and is likely penciled in at one cornerback. The battle for the other cornerback starter appears to be led by sophomore Marquill Osborne while senior Justin Martin looks to tighten his fundamentals.
Osborne, Warren said, is a young player who is growing.
“He’s moving into that corner role, but I could see him being that versatile player that could play the nickel,” Warren said. “His thing again, all these guys, it’s the same message, it’s the details of your fundamentals and technique and it’s a constant message.”
For Martin, it’s the same focus.
“I see a long, athletic guy that’s really trying to buy in and focus on the attention of his position,” Warren said. “I’ve challenged him to be a technician. You have length, you have speed, but if you don’t have techniques and fundamentals it really doesn’t matter. So he’s a guy that’s taken that to heart and focused every day on the details of his positions and techniques and I like what I’m seeing out of him the last couple of practices.
“I don’t know the history, I wasn’t here, but since I’ve been here I’ve seen seen a guy that’s locked in and focused.”