KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee junior Emmanuel Moseley has taken matters into his own hands, where settling the cornerback race opposite Cam Sutton is concerned.
Performance and consistency, Vols defensive coordinator Bob Shoop indicated Friday, have given the Greensboro, N.C., product a leg up on the competition.
“Emmanuel probably separated a little bit at that second corner position with Cam,” Shoop said. “We gave out what we call Swarm Points for productivity during camp and LaTroy (Lewis) led our defensive line, DK (Darrin Kirkland) led our linebackers and Emmanuel won the award for the secondary guys.”
Shoop’s methods are proven, to the extent that his past five defenses — three at Vanderbilt, two at Penn State — have finished among the nation’s top 25 the past five seasons.
As aggressive as Shoop’s defensives are known for being, they are based on the fundamentals of sound play and consistency, and that’s where a player like Moseley gets the edge over players who might be more athletically gifted.
“(Moseley) is in position, he doesn’t make a lot of mistakes,” Shoop said. “Everybody recognizes he has good length, he’s a talented guy, he had good, valuable experience, had an interception in the bowl game, he just has to continue to make plays.
“He’s in position the majority of time, he just needs to make plays.”
And Shoop said, Moseley is on the uptick.
“I thought he had a real good Monday and Tuesday practice,” Shoop said. “I think I saw him take his game to the next level, started to be more physical and challenge routes and be more productive, and so I thought he had a really good camp.”
Moseley started the first seven games of last season and had a team-high 11 pass break-ups.
Mike Griffith covers Tennessee for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s SEC Country and lives in Knoxville.