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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Spartan Digest explores the happenings in the secondary

Barnett Positive on Young Players

Spartan Digest
Posted Aug 20, 2011

Michigan State defensive back coach Harlon Barnett is missing one defensive back and looking at young and veterans to fill the void. Barnett talked about a few of his charges and how they are performing.

As Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio eluded to on Friday, Jairus Jones is faring well rehabbing back from his injury. Spartans defensive backs coach Harlon Barnett seemed hopeful Jones could be back on the field this season.
How is Jones rehab coming along?
“Very slowly but surely,” said Barnett. “He’s feeling better every day and working with the trainers and getting treatment. So hopefully we’ll see him out there full speed very soon.”
As for what Jones is allowed to do at this time, Barnett stressed it was limited.
“Just straight line running and stuff right now from what we understand,” said Barnett. “Not a lot of cutting or transition just straight line running.”
Barnett feels it’s a blessing for Jones to be on the fast track back.
“A lot of prayers have been answered on his part,” said Barnett. “He’s a good young man, a faithful young man and I’m sure that has something to do with it as well.”
While a couple of spots are filled, Barnett stresses there are still battles going on in camp.
“It’s still a battle,” said Barnett. “We still have a battle going on and... (click "read more" below)
...we’ll learn more when we scrimmage. Kurtis DrummondMylan Hicks are the main two who have been here and done it in the spring. Then you have some freshman like R.J. Williamson who is doing a good job and we’ve even tried Dana Dixon in there a little bit and he does a good job at it, so we’ll see.”
One move in camp found Jeremy Langford moving over to the defense. How has the redshirt freshman faired so far?
“He’s picking it up really quickly,” said Barnett. “It was never a matter of him being able to do it because he’s got the athletic ability as he can run and all that kind of stuff. It was a matter of will and want to. Sometimes when you have a position change you had your mind locked on one thing, but if you get your mind right to do it, which his mind is right, he’s doing a good job.”
While many felt true freshman R.J. Williamson would be a high level player during his Spartans career, Barnett says Williamson is showing a lot of the same skills Isaiah Lewis showed a year ago.
“He’s a quick explosive player and reminds you in a lot of ways of how Isaiah (Lewis) was last year,” said Barnett. “He just runs to the ball and gives great effort and has good ball skills, aggressive, good player.”

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