Despite feeling like he should have played much more as a sophomore free safety in 2010, Josh Evans persevered and did what his coaches told him too. It wasn’t necessarily easy, but he is all about doing the team thing.
“I felt like I played pretty good,” Evans told the Florida media earlier this week. “I didn’t get the opportunity to play as much as I wanted to. I had someone ahead of me and there was stuff said about who should be there and everything, but I stayed patient, and didn’t get too big headed. I kept playing and striving forward and kept trying to get better as a player.”
Now, he has every opportunity to show what he can do and according to Evans, he will make believers out of folks that don’t know much about him or even disbelieve he is capable.
“This is my year and my time to prove the things I couldn’t last year, just from the four starts I had,” he said. “I am feeling real comfortable back there for people to see my talents. I am a physical guy, coming down hitting, and doing what I am told. I am pretty athletic and a pretty speedy guy.
“I feel pretty confident, I have been here three years and I waited my time and this is my time to show everybody my talent.”
It will be a young secondary. One that has a single senior among the group and Evans is the only junior. However, Evans feels like it is a group that will work together and one that can grow quickly as the season moves along.
“I feel pretty good,” he said about the rebuilt secondary that will have to replace three starters. “ I think we are really athletic and physical. One thing about these guys, they are going to work. Nobody is big headed and nobody is feeling themselves too much.”
A late hit to the secondary was the loss of cornerback Janoris Jenkins after spring football. Kicked off the team for off the field reasons, Jenkins was going to be counted on to contain one side of the field and was projected as an All-American. It won’t be easy, but Evans says the other guys will have to step up.
“Janoris was a great cornerback and it is hard to replace someone that has been here and started as a freshman,” Evans said. “But, the young guys are coming along pretty good. They are looking pretty good. Cody Riggs, Jeremy Brown, and Moses Jenkins, and the young guy Marcus Roberson is looking pretty good too.”
Evans has been through it before and knows that the freshmen can’t have too much put on their plate or it just won’t work out. But, these guys are going to get tested.
“It is tough because you are expecting a lot out of them, but that is a big role on that side,” Evans said. “But, we aren’t putting too much pressure on them, we don’t want to make it seem it is the end of the world. We want them to learn the playbook and cover real well.
“It hurt us because I know teams are going to try and attack us that way and think we are low on that side, but we have confidence in the guys on that side and we are going to go with them.”
Only four starts to his name and Evans already sees himself as one of the leaders in the secondary.
“You have guys like myself, Moses Jenkins, and Jeremy Brown, guys that have been here a couple of years,” he said. “I’d say we are pretty much leading them pretty good.”
Evans will likely start at one of the safety spots and the other should be sophomore Matt Elam who played a great deal as a true freshman in 2010, but is still relatively green. Evans says that Elam can be a special player in 2011.
“Matt is coming along pretty good and I love having him as the strong safety coming down and even back deep sometimes,” Evans said. “It can be a breakout year. He’s a big guy, loves to hit, and loves to cover a little bit. That is what makes him special.
“He actually reminds me a lot of Ahmad Black. They kind of fit the same personality. He is doing really well as far as reading his gaps and everything.”
Evans on Roberson
The talk f camp among the defensive backs has been true freshman corner Marcus Roberson. Evans is another that has been really impressed with the Broward County cover man.
“He has great hips,” he said of Roberson. “That is something to look for in young guys, their hip movement and how he uses his hands up on the jam. You can just tell in how the way he does those things it is going to make him a great player in time.”