June 27, 2010

Boykin thrilled to be playing more man

Brandon Boykin said when new defensive backs coach Scott Lakatos informed Georgia's cornerbacks that he would have them playing more man-to-man than zone, the Bulldog junior practically jumped for joy.

"I was excited because that's what every cornerback wants, to get those one-on-one matchup," Boykin said. "That's where cornerbacks get that respect, not playing zone. He (Lakatos) said he's going to have us to go out and show what we have. We've still got to work on technique because every receiver is different, but as long as we continue to watch film and I think we're doing a good job of that early, I think you'll see those improvements this fall."

Boykin's anxious to prove what he can do.

The former Fayette County standout raised some eyebrow recently when he declared that he's setting 10 interceptions as a goal for 2010.

While he concedes such a total might seem unlikely, Boykin said he's not ruling out anything, especially since he feels he will be in a better position to make plays.

"When you play man it just puts a lot of responsibility on you as a player. It's about you being a confident player," Boykin said. "Since it's a lot more man to man and not as much zone he's (Lakatos) saying my guys are better than your guys and we're going to see what happens. He's basically putting us on an island, so I think that's something (confidence) he's trying to build in all of us. If we make mistakes, we've got to have that short memory."

Of course, going against the likes of A.J. Green in practice doesn't hurt, either.

As one of the country's premiere wide receivers, the way Boykin sees it, getting to hone his skills against a receiver as talented as that can only help his game.

"An incompletion is an accomplishment, I'll say that, because he gets his hands on everything. If he gets his hands near it, he's going to catch it," Boykin said of Green. "You've really got to be perfect against A.J. because he's coming out to play each and every play. It's definitely a challenge because you're going to get better every rep. He never takes a rep off and that's why he's such a great receiver. I feel if I can cover A.J. Green, I can cover any receiver in the nation, much less the SEC, it shouldn't be that hard."

But apparently Green isn't the only Bulldog receiver to have grabbed Boykin's attention.

"(Rantavious) Wooten has gotten better at route running, and Marlon (Brown) has gotten better, but to me the receiver who has improved the most is T.K. (Tavarres King)," Boykin said. "This year, his release has gotten a lot better. He's quicker and he's learned to work with his hands a lot better."

As for the rest of Georgia's cornerbacks, Boykin believes Vance Cuff, Branden Smith and freshman Derek Owens have plenty of potential.

Cuff was one of the big spring surprises for the Bulldogs and was listed atop the post-spring depth chart at the corner spot opposite Boykin.

However, Boykin said don't overlook Smith, and added that Owens should get his chance to shine as well.

"I wouldn't put too much stock in the post-spring depth chart. It's just to give you an idea of where everybody is, but we've still got the fall, the summer, the freshmen coming in, things like that," he said. "I feel that everybody is on the same playing field, but really everybody has looked good. Both Branden and Vance can play wide, short and nickel, so what Coach Lakatos will need to see is what their strengths play to the best."

Boykin said Owens reminds him of Smith at the same stage in their respective college careers.

"Derek is about the same weight as Branden was, he's got the same quickness and great hips," Boykin said. "There's not a lot of technique right now, but he's got the quickness to make up for that. He's going to be a really good corner. Once he learns his technique, he's going to be really good."

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