Redshirt sophomore makes most of first career start at cornerback against Rutgers
Published: Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 02:11
West Virginia cornerback Brodrick Jenkins' first career start last week against Rutgers couldn't have gone any better.
The redshirt sophomore intercepted two Gary Nova passes during the second half, keeping the game out of reach and helping to ensure a WVU victory.
"I felt like a little kid at a candy store," Jenkins said. "It was nice because now I know what I have to look forward to do, how I have to prepare mentally."
There were less than seven minutes to go in the third quarter. The Mountaineers were playing a Cover 2 defensive scheme, where the safeties cover the deeper parts of the field and the linebackers and cornerbacks play man-on-man against an opposing offensive player.
In this case, Jenkins was covering Rutgers junior wide receiver Mohamed Sanu and knew that Sanu was a big part of the offense. He was praying Nova did not overthrow the ball and that he would have a chance to make a play, and he did.
"I didn't even look down to see where my feet were at; it just happened," Jenkins said. "I was just looking for him to do the signal and he did. It still feels not real that it happened."
Jenkins felt he always had the confidence to go out on the field and perform the way he did, but he just needed the opportunity to show it again.
After all, he did play in all 13 games last season, under the same defensive coordinator but different head coach, Bill Stewart.
The Fort Myers, Fla., native remains humble and just wants to be able to help WVU win games each week.
"I'm just going to play my role," he said. "As long as I can contribute to the team, I'm not really worried about starting or anything like that. I'm a team player."
Thanks to senior transfer Brantwon Bowser's halftime speech, Jenkins might have gotten some extra inspiration.
Bowser apparently gave an emotional talk that really got through to several of his teammates.
"He was talking about playing for each other instead of just trying to play for the coaches," Jenkins said. "We need to put more enthusiasm into what we're doing and not just be out there talking."
"It really opened to some of us … I feel as if he's an older brother to me, so I really did take (what Bowser said) into consideration."
Jenkins has gotten a lot more confident in his ability to perform at a high level since his first spring with the team back in 2009. Despite his excitement of getting not one, but two, interceptions in his first collegiate start, he is focused on continuing that type of success the rest of the season and beyond – and that's not just for him personally, but as a whole defensive unit.
He believes once the core young players on the defense, like safety Darwin Cook and some of the young linebackers, get more starts, the defense will be much improved.
"We still have to get to where everybody is getting good playing time," he said. "We believe in each other."
As the defense continues to grow, Jenkins could continue taking more trips to the candy store.