PROVO — Playing cornerback as a true freshman can be a humbling experience, and few know that as much as BYU's Chris Wilcox.
Now a sophomore, Wilcox is using last year's baptism by fire to his advantage and looks to add considerably to the cornerback position this season. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound product from Fontana, California, has seen considerable reps with the first-team offense throughout fall camp and figures to be used frequently throughout the season.
"It's going good and I feel I'll be able to help out a lot more this year after going through what I did last year," Wilcox said.
Wilcox played in 10 games last season and started in games against UCLA and Toledo, although he saw his playing time go down after those two starts. His first big action came when being called upon to go against Utah — an experience that sort of shocked the then-first-year freshman.
"I'm not going to lie, it was hard," Wilcox said. "I remember the Utah game where it was obvious they were making a point to go at me and yeah, it was just hard at the time. But I feel I've moved on."
Wilcox has spent a lot of time watching film on his performance last year and feels he's worked diligently to improve upon his form. He's also worked hard on his mental makeup of acquiring a shorter memory — something that's key for any player who is left on an island as much as a cornerback.
"I feel I've corrected a lot of the things that went wrong last year," Wilcox said. "Coach (Gilford) has really worked with me in improving, and to be honest, I really didn't have the right mentality last year. Coach has been working hard with me on that and I feel my approach with everything is going to be a lot better this year."
Wilcox believes he's set to receive a lot of playing time this year, rotating primarily with assumed starting corner Dayan Ghanwoloku, and possibly contributing a lot in other areas.
"I'm on the punt and kick teams on special teams right now, so I'm excited for that," Wilcox said. "I'll be the gunner in special teams coverages, so I'm working on being the first one down there. That's my thing."
Overall, Wilcox believes this year's cornerbacks will be a strength for the defense.
"I feel like we've really improved as a group," Wilcox said. "I feel we have a lot of depth and guys that are going to go 100 percent. We're all confident with the improvements we've made."
SECONDARY WINS OVER WARNER: BYU senior linebacker Fred Warner often gives his younger brother, Troy, a hard time regarding his play, although the task is becoming more and more difficult. During the final open practice of fall camp, Troy Warner picked off two passes, with his older brother noting his younger brother's improvements, along with the entire defensive secondary.
"We have confidence in our (defensive backs) and this is probably the best they've looked in years," Fred Warner said. "They're all young, which is great. So I think we have a lot of confidence in them right now."