Oregon St. has had a run of notable players at the corner in recent years. Jordan Poyer made the transition from safety to All-Pac-12, Rashaad Reynolds made the transition from one of the most burned players in the conference to one of its best cover corners, and Steven Nelson went from largely unknown JC transfer to the NFL.
This year, senior CB Larry Scott is the only returning starter (if you exclude the nickel back position, which doesn't technically start except possibly against the Air & Bear raids) in the Oregon St. secondary, so he would seem to many to be the candidate to be the next Beaver to emerge at the corner.
And his progress from being the DB that most Beaver fans were most nervous about to what we saw in spring ball, where both physical and mental maturity appeared to manifest themselves, supported that.
But the real measure of Scott's success may well be whether he can make Dwayne Williams Oregon St.'s most important DB/CB.
Williams, a red-shirt freshman surprised some this spring in taking the lead in the competition to line up on the opposite corner from Scott, and this was before Dashon Hunt had to take a medical retirement.
Naji Patrick and Charles Okonkwo also earned some attention, and Xavier Crawford, Chris Hayes, and Devin Chappell will all have something to say about the matter, and former WR Kendall Hill, who is the biggest of the corners could well wind up in the coverage scheme as well, but with only 4 safeties on the roster, its likely the nickel back will come from this group most of the time, except against the more physical opponents, like Stanford and Utah, when Brandon Arnold will likely figure in as a 3rd safety behind Justin Strong and Cyril Noland-Lewis.
And with a lot of 4-wide+ formations to face, extra coverage corners are going to get plenty of reps in the slots.
But it appears the CB spot opposite Scott is Williams' to lose. The best news for Defensive Coordinator Kalani Sitake and Defensive Backs coach Derrick Odum would be for Scott to play so well that whether Williams, or anyone else, can really handle opponents' best shots in quantity, because they are staying away from Scott.
That's a lot of what really set Ifo Ekpre-Olomu apart for Oregon; not his ability but his ability to make opponents go away from him.
With essentially no experience beyond Scott, it could be a dangerous proposition, but it would still be one that narrows the field for the defense. So if Scott can force the focus onto the other side of the field, he has more than done his job!
(46 days until kickoff against Weber St.)