Last Modified: Friday, August 17, 2012 10:32 PM
Even without the Honey Badger in the mix, McNeese State is feeling pretty good about its secondary this season.
“The biggest thing is we’ve got a tremendous amount of experience back there,” said defensive coordinator Mike Collins. “Three of those guys have played and started for us for four years now. They give us a tremendous amount of leadership, knowledge and they love to compete.”
Senior free safety Malcolm Bronson, an NFL prospect, is the group’s on-field leader.
“He brings a lot of energy every day. He’s always ready to play, always ready to practice,” said Bronson’s roommate, senior buck safety Ford Smesny. “He gets people going. We all try to do that, but he seems to have another level of intensity sometimes.”
Bronson said there is still enough talent for the secondary to excel despite not adding former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu this week.
Mathieu visited McNeese on Aug. 10 with the thought of transferring until deciding to stay in a Houston drug rehabilitation facility.
“I’ve never doubted anybody in our secondary. I feel like we have the pieces of the puzzle to do some great things this year,” Bronson said. “If he had made that decision to come, we would have welcomed him. But we’re not asking for help or anything like that.”
Bronson’s confidence in his teammates comes from familiarity. Smesny and cornerback Seth Thomas have both started on the same side of the field with him since they were freshmen.
“We know where each other will be. We always communicate to each other before the play,” Thomas said. “We don’t want to have any slip-ups, because with one breakdown in the coverage it can easily be a touchdown.”
The two defensive backs on the other side of the hashmarks don’t exactly lack experience either. Junior cornerback Guy Morgan and junior wide safety Terence Cahee both played in all 11 games last season.
Bronson said the chemistry and awareness developed by the group is even more important to its success than individual talent.
“I feel like we’ve all tried to become better leaders by helping everyone else on the team gel together,” Bronson said. “They see we have that bond, and that brings everybody closer. Being older now, I kind of realize it’s not just talent. You have to work hard. Hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard.”