Posts tagged Brock Vereen
Posts tagged Brock Vereen
7. Brock Vereen | CB | Junior | 6'0” 195 lbs. G TK SOLO INT PDEF TFL FF 12 67 46 1 7 3.5 1 Photo credit: Christy Aumer / Daily Iowan
In 2011, Brock Vereen emerged as a solid tackler and a dependable cornerback. This season, however, he sets out to prove himself again, this time at safety.
Vereen started out last season as the starting cornerback opposite Troy Stoudermire, but was pressed into the No. 1 spot early on after Stoudermire was lost for the season due to injury. There were times, often in the same game, when Vereen would make a bone-crushing hit, but then also bite badly on a double move or pump fake for a touchdown. By the end of the season though, Vereen settled in and provided steady play at corner. Moving to safety, the defense can take advantage of his tackling and ball skills, while taking him out of regular man coverage.
Vereen hails from California and was a three-star prospect (Rivals) coming out of high school. His older brother Shane plays running back for the New England Patriots and played college football for California. Vereen is a smart player and on a note unrelated to football, bears the distinction of being one of the few athletes worth following on Twitter. (His back and forth with teammates about the difference of “to, too, and two” is an example.)
Vereen is expected to earn the free safety spot in fall practice and start alongside sophomore Derrick Wells, who also moved over from cornerback this offseason after bulking up a reported 30 pounds. Also in the mix this year at safety is Cedric Thompson, although Vereen seems to have the inside track on a starting job. While Kim Royston provided strong play and leadership at safety last year, the other safety position was a revolving door. Shady Salamon was the starter at the beginning of the year, but the hard-hitter tended to cover like the former running back he was. By the Illinois game, the starting free safety was former walk-on cornerback Chase Haviland, who stood five-feet, nine-inches tall and weighed 179 pounds. This year, Vereen and Wells are expected to take a position of weakness last year and turn it into a positive.
One expects the defense to utter some growing pains as it moves from the sophomore Wells from Royston, but Vereen brings size, speed and skill into the position, which should allow the Gophers to rely more on the safeties to help out in both run support and pass coverage. Vereen didn’t practice this spring while recovering from a minor knee surgery this offseason, but he will be ready for fall two-a-days.
Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys told 1500ESPN’s Nate Sandell that he expects some rough patches through the non-conference schedule, which makes the early season match-up with Western Michigan’s chuck-and-duck passing game particularly interesting.
“I’m a little uneasy with the secondary,” Claeys said told Sandell. “One thing I do like about having the non-conference games early is those kids will have a chance to get there feet underneath them and go. As far as their abilities and being able to do the job, I couldn’t be more pleased with those guys. But again, there’s going to be growing pains, because some of them haven’t played a lot of game snaps at the position they are at.”
The secondary should be a position of relative strength and depth this year; banking on Vereen being a solid contributor.
(Photo credit: Brace Hemmelgarn Photography)
Although 2011 starters Troy Stoudermire (pictured above) and Brock Vereen return to the Gophers’ defensive backfield, those cornerbacks are the only players offering much experience in what should be a completely re-tooled defensive secondary this season. Here’s a look at which newcomers are poised to make an impact for the Golden Gophers.
During an early season game against New Mexico State last season, BTN announcer Wayne Larrivee described the bulk of the Gophers defensive backfield: “Troy Stoudermire was playing receiver (last year), Kim Royston hasn’t played football in two years and Shady Salamon was a running back.”
Jokes aside, the description was completely accurate.
Falling in line with that theme, it wasn’t pretty much of the season, especially after Stoudermire, the No. 1 cornerback, was lost for most of the year with a wrist injury. A thin defensive secondary quickly showed its lack of depth.
Early in the year, with Stoudermire still playing, Robert Woods had a USC record 17 catches for 177 yards and three touchdowns as the Gophers tried to give him a soft cushion to prevent the deep pass. Matt Barkley passed for 304 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions, completing 76 percent of his passes.
Barkley ended up one of the year’s most celebrated quarterbacks, but the gaudy stats weren’t limited to those often on ESPN.