Defensive backs coach White brags on young secondary

Zach Greenwell

One of the biggest stories of WKU’s season has been the emergence of several freshmen in the secondary.

In the last two contests, three freshmen and a sophomore have started in the defensive backfield, a complete turnover from the games prior.

But through the transition, who’s the one person media haven’t talked to? Defensive backs coach Clayton White.

White got the chance to assess his young secondary after Thursday’s football practice, saying that he’s been pleased with its quick progress.

“The young guys are coming along,” White said. “They’re starting to get things and understand college life and college football. Their talent’s starting to show up a little bit right now.

“It’s hard, but this is the life they’re living right now.”

True freshmen cornerbacks Tyree Robinson and Arius Wright were awarded starting positions against South Florida. They’ve recorded 10 tackles each this season.

“I’m proud of them,” White said. “Most coaches would be proud of two true freshmen starting. When you’ve got true freshmen starting, there’s going to be ups and downs, but they’re trying their best to take coaching from everyone.

“I don’t want to pump them up too much. They’re still young and still green, but I think they’re going to be fine.”

Redshirt freshman safety Kiante Young also started for the first time against USF, and he’s made the most of the opportunity.

He had WKU’s first interception of the year (Robinson has the Toppers’ other on the season) against the Bulls, and he followed that up with a team-leading 13 tackles against Florida International last weekend.

“Kiante’s done a good job of doing the right things on and off the field,” White said. “He’s really taking a lot of pride in knowing both his position and the whole defense.”

Head Coach Willie Taggart said Thursday that Young has likely secured himself a starting safety job even after junior safeties Mark Santoro and Ryan Beard, the former starters, return from injury.

White agreed, saying that he’s seen a new intensity in Young since he became a starter.

“He’s fun to coach because you can yell at him, and he gets mad at you,” White said. “He doesn’t pout. He just gets mad at you. He’s only a freshman too, so I’m excited about him.”