Position-by-Position Breakdowns: Safeties
Published: Friday, August 30, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013 00:08
Last season, junior safety Derek Brim filled in nicely for the final five games and he looks to carry his momentum into 2013. He is a converted wide receiver from local Canisius High School who finished last year with 47 tackles, good for seventh on the team.
Brim is a hard hitter with soft hands from his time as a receiver. He is a playmaker on defense built in the Ed Reed mold.
He has claimed the starting position this year, but the man he replaced, junior safety Witney Sherry, also figures to see some playing time. Sherry wants to build on last season’s promising start; he was third on the team in tackles in Week Six before he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury.
Along with great corners, the Bulls’ safeties look to solidify what they believe can be the best secondary in the Mid-American Conference.
“With guys like Najja Johnson, Cortney [Lester], Derek Brim, myself – we will definitely carry the secondary,” Sherry said.
The summer was filled with “healthy competition” throughout the entire secondary, according to Brim. Sherry hopes the competition will create better on-field performances.
Both Brim and Sherry proved last season they are capable of contributing to a talented and deep Buffalo secondary.
There is one position that oversees the entire defense: Safety.
The play breaks down right in front of the safety with only a split second for the player to react. Safeties are the last line of defense and can be the difference between a 10-yard run and an 80-yard touchdown.
The Bulls are lucky to have the position loaded with experience; it’s headed by senior Okoye Houston. Houston started in eight games for the Bulls last season, along with being named the special teams MVP.
Aware that greatness would not just be handed to them, the secondary put in the necessary work during the offseason to make their goal of being the best in the MAC a realistic possibility. Houston felt it was his personal responsibility to work with all the safeties.
“We came along at the end of last season, and as a senior, I felt it was my obligation to take the leadership and guide my safeties and coach up on our weaknesses,” Houston said. “This summer, we were working on jamming, getting our hands on and breaking on the ball faster.”
The secondary will certainly be tested week one with preseason Heisman candidate Braxton Miller starting for the Buckeyes. Houston has experience playing against elite college quarterbacks, as he was on the 2010 team that played Robert Griffin III in its last trip to Baylor.
“I played against [Griffin]; I feel like I can play against Braxton,” Houston said. “They put on their pads just like we do. We aren’t going to put them on a pedestal.”