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One-on-One with the Pirates
, August 24, 2010

By Ron Cherubini

Q&A with Derek Blacknall

By Ron Cherubini
All rights reserved.

Last season, Derek Blacknall had finally established himself as a regular in the lineup at free safety. With a reputation for fierce physicality, Blacknall did well in his first fulltime gig as a Pirate.

With the spring came news that Blacknall would shift to corner, opposite all-everything CB Emanuel Davis, to ensure that the secondary had veteran experience on the outside. The move also cleared the way for rising sophomore Damon Magazu to get on the field at safety. Blacknall has made the transition to corner and is working to ensure that he plays like the veteran he is in the critical position to which he has been assigned.

Derek was kind enough to sit down for a chat with Bonesville to share his insights on the upcoming season.

Derek Blacknall (26) in a celebratory moment (ECU SID photo)

One-on-One with Derek Blacknall

Q: You made a big move this past off-season (in the spring) moving from safety to corner. How did you take that news when you first heard it?

A: You know that transition was kind of hard… kind of difficult. At corner, you get a lot of man, you’re locked and you are focused on that receiver and what you got to do. At safety, you can kind of roam the field a little bit and kind of freelance like I did at free safety. But I am feeling pretty good right now. I come out here ever day and work and work at it.

Q: One thing that was very easy to see about your style of play a year ago is how physical you like to play. Are you able to bring any of that physicality to the corner role?

A: There is definitely the opportunity to play physical in certain types of coverages. At the same time, I have to be a little cautious at corner because you can get exposed a little more by being to quick on an out route and then they come back at you with an out and up and you're burned. So, I feel great, and I feel like I can challenge my receivers, but as far as coverage, I am a little more careful and watch my man more.

Q: At times last season, it must have felt like you were asked to cover guys forever out there while the front seven struggled like they did. From your perspective, can you talk about the improvements you saw in front of you this spring?

A: Yeah… I mean we had some guys who were injured last year back out here this season, so (of) course things are going a little smoother now because the quarterbacks can’t hold the ball as long or roll out on us. That makes my job a lot easier when our guys up front can get a pass rush on and also stopping the run.

Q: What player on this team do you most respect and why?

A: The player I respect the most on this team right now is my fellow DB, Emanuel Davis. You know, anytime we are out here he is there to help push you through. You watch him work and you know you need to pick it up and finish like he does.

Q: What player on this offense would you hate to have to play defense against for a full game?

A: I can tell you right now that the guy I would hate to have to cover is Mike Price. No. 14 is a speedster. He is so fast he can get up on you quick, so you have (to) get your hips turned or he is by you. You can’t play him too quick either or he will just do a comeback and make the easy catch. Mike is one of those guys who when I see him lined up, I have to really focus in on him because of his speed.

E-mail Ron Cherubini

Ron Cherubini Archives

08/24/2011 01:58 AM


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