Aug. 3, 2008
CINCINNATI - One strength the Bearcats have going into the 2008 season is its secondary, which will be led by the tandem of senior corners Mike Mickens and DeAngelo Smith. Last season, the pair led the nation with a combined 14 interceptions (Smith - 8, Mickens - 6). Following the first day of practice at Camp Higher Ground, GoBEARCATS.com sat down with their position coach Kerry Coombs to discuss the two.
Coombs on his goals for the duo this season
Mike and DeAngelo are all about getting better this year. Last year it was about changing our style of play in the secondary. We became a pressing secondary that worked off of alignment. We worked a lot on getting them into the new style. This year is about sharpening the sword. Taking what they did and getting better. If we do what we did last year we can win 10 games again, but that isn't our goal. Both guys have taken to the new style of play and are eager to get more information.
Coombs on where the pair looks to make improvements
They aren't focused just on getting interceptions. They are working to keep getting interceptions, but also improve in other areas of their game whether it is third-and-long situations or making better tackles. We are looking to add more to their tool kits.
On the pair's future
No question they both have the ability to play in the NFL. The impressive part to both of them is their desire to win a championship (at UC). If they stay focused on that, then the individual accolades will take care of themselves.
On the importance of having them back
Both Mike and DeAngelo are great students of the game. Watching them in the spring as leaders, it was almost like having another two coaches on the field.