People often say the quarterback position is the most difficult position to play in all of sports. They make the throws, remember the plays and essentially lead the team. While I don’t necessarily disagree, I’d like to make a case for cornerbacks.
No other position demands more physical and mental skills than the position that guards wide receivers, usually the fastest and/or tallest guys on the field. The cornerback’s space is often referred to as an island, and rightly so. They are often left to fend for themselves, “mano-a-mano.” Imagine lining up a few yards in front of the fastest player on the field, who can run left, right, straight, nowhere even, or he can simply block. But, if he runs a route, you have to eventually turn around and keep your distance with him.
And, if that’s not enough, throughout a typical game, corners, the smallest guys on the field are often asked to go through the biggest (offensive lineman) to make tackles that often prevent touchdowns. By the time a lineman gets to a corner, he is in full stride. I’ll pass.
Now, imagine having to do this for 48 minutes, which is high school game time. When are they allowed to take a play off? Quarterbacks can hand the ball off. Corners have to run after them. They have to react to every play.
“You have to be focused all game,” said Ronnie Stokes, one of Mainland’s cornerbacks. “You never know when it's going to be a pass your way. As soon as you take a play off, they may throw it your way and boom, it's a touchdown.” I know this a little too well.
Back in my playing days, as a cornerback, I remember taking a play off. The opposing team had not done so well against my defense, so I arrogantly unstrapped my chin guard and folded my arms. On that particular play, they put in someone else, who rushed full speed at me, ran me over and knocked my helmet 15 yards downfield. Em-barrassing!
But, it’s not all bad.
“The best part about the cornerback position is the feeling you get when you make a quarterback pump fake (meaning he loses confidence in his option) or catch an interception,” Matanzas’ Rahkim Perry said. “The worst is when no quarterback wants to throw to your side, so you get bored.” Just don’t unstrap your chin guard and fold your hands.
Do you agree? Which position do you think is most important, and why? Leave a comment. Follow Jeff Dawsey on Twitter at @PCOsports.