August 15, 2011
While Boston College gets closer and closer to the start of the season the handful of position battles going on are starting to heat up. One of the position battles getting the most attention is the battle for starting boundary cornerback between Jim Noel and C.J. Jones. Noel started 8 games at safety last season and did a nice job in his second year. Jones was forced into duty as a true freshman last season and held his own playing a little before he was probably ready to see so much action on the field. For defensive coordinator Bill McGovern it's a process of evaluating players with different skill sets.
"Jim is a little bit more physical. C.J. played last year at the position a little and had some injuries. Now he has filled into his body a little. It's a good competition there," said McGovern.
It was a surprise to some when Noel showed up on the spring depth chart as the boundary corner. It was also a bit of a surprise when Noel started summer camp listed as the starting boundary cornerback. It isn't so much of a question of if Noel can play cornerback, but rather if he's better at safety. The one question on most people's mind is if Noel doesn't win the starting job, is there a chance he could go back to safety?
"You never say never to anything. We want to get the best 11 on the field. To answer the question he could be a safety," said McGovern.
Some have questioned the move of the defensive staff to put Noel at corner because of his size. At 6'4" 185 pounds, Noel isn't exactly the carbon copy of most cornerbacks. McGovern says that it's not all about the size of the player.
"You look at guys coming in and you can make a judgment on them based on their body look. You could look at Jim and say he has the body of a safety because everyone says corners are smaller. Look at Lenny Walls who played way back when, he was big and tall and he was a corner. Everyone's different and we try and match what they can do to their position. We know he can play safety because he did last year. Like I said we want to play our best 11 guys on the field at whatever position," said McGovern.
For at least the time being, Noel will be at cornerback, which means that the team will lean on Dominic LeGrande and Okechukwu Okoroha. Both players have game experience at safety, and both have shown flashes at the position.
"We need more consistent play out of the guys that are there, and we definitely need more consistent play from the guys that have been there, O and Dom. They've had reps out there and played but we need them to play at a higher level. They have the ability to do it but they need to play at a higher level," said McGovern.
Like Jamie Silva and Marcellus Bowman before them, both players have built reputation as hard hitters. McGovern says that he wants them to be more complete players like the safeties before them
"I tell guys all the time that if they tell me you're physical it probably means you're not good against the pass. They need to be complete players and they are working towards that," said McGovern.
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