What it’s like to play the cornerback

As a member of the Fighting Scots, Nasir Beyah talks about his experience as a cornerback for our football team. Photo courtesy of Ariana Hansen.
As a member of the Fighting Scots, Nasir Beyah talks about his experience as a cornerback for our football team. Photo courtesy of Ariana Hansen.

    On the football field, there are certain players who receive more recognition than others. Almost everybody is aware of the quarterbacks, the wide-receivers, the running-backs, and even the linebackers. But not too many people are aware of the cornerbacks on the field.

    Cornerbacks are the men who are in charge of all the action that takes place on the football field. Their jobs are very difficult and require a lot of skill, athleticism and discipline. Cornerbacks are expected to anticipate the quarterback’s moves, back-pedal, execute man and zone coverage, mirror offensive opponents, block shedding and tackle. It takes a man with a lot of confidence to play such a position.

    The cornerback is mainly responsible for preventing offensive players from catching the ball under any circumstances. They are often matched up against offensive players in either man or zone-coverage. Alignments on the football field differ between the specific coverages they are in which is determined by the coach.

    As the play starts and the quarterback snaps the ball, cornerbacks are taught to back-peddle until an offensive player is within arm’s length. At that point, the cornerback either zone-turns or man-turns and mirrors that offensive player during the entire play unless the ball carrier approaches him.

    I was gifted with the ability and athleticism to play the cornerback position. Even though I’ve been playing the position for quite a while there are still some things I struggle with. Every position in football requires an individual to think and play at a high level. The game is 80 percent mental and 40 percent physical. Every day I step foot on the football field I am reminded of my source of confidence.

    As a cornerback, I practice just like every other position throughout the week. As a cornerback I am informed of my opponent during film sessions in position meetings. During practice, cornerbacks usually focus on working on their footwork, vision, ball spotting and secure tackling. All of these drills that take place during practice are to prepare players and build confidence for when we are faced with our opponent.

    During game day, when an opponent finally confronts us, it is the most nerve-wracking, exciting feeling a person can ever have. I try really hard not to over-think situations during a game. I have been told that the best mind-set to be in is both calm and aggressive. As a member of the defense I have a big, if not bigger, responsibility to my team and my teammates.

    While the offense is making plays and driving towards their end-zone to score, I am giving my all to prevent the opponent from doing so. When the opposing quarterback throws the ball my way, I am in position to knock the ball away or catch it because of the constant time and effort I put forth in practice.

    When I execute and play at a high level I am often rewarded with the announcer’s statement that “the quarterback’s pass is incomplete intended for his receiver number one. Number seventeen with the coverage on the play.” Hearing my name and number through the speakers and celebrating with my team is a great feeling. But it takes a person who is confident in himself and is willing to give his all to do his job in order to support his team.

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