Cornerback Corby Eason is better known for his defensive skills, but if he had his way he would be known for something else besides interceptions or knocking down passes. In fact, his idea isn’t even related to the defensive side of the ball.
“I play defense and don’t play offense, but I feel like I could run the ride-option,” Eason said with a smile.
Did Eason just say he could execute an offensive play from the quarterback position?
“Oh yeah, I tell them that I play quarterback but ya’ll haven’t seen it yet,” Eason said. “They have a package for me and that I can run the ball and pass the ball.”
So at 5 feet 8 inches and 173 pounds, Eason could stand calmly in the pocket against the onrush of 280-plus-pound angry Division I defensive linemen and blitzing linebackers while quickly scanning the secondary to make the right pass? Or he could line up in the shotgun, take the snap, read the defensive line and linebackers to execute the ride-option if that was the offensive play call?
“Oh yeah, I'm an athlete,” Eason said with a smile. “I can do the ride-option, I can do the bootleg, so I'm ready to go. Just put my name in the hat. That’s all you have to do.”
All joking aside, Eason isn’t going to be the next great BYU quarterback, but he was poking fun to make a greater point.
“Well, I just tell people, like the majority of these suggestions, they don’t know nothing about football,” Eason said. “I just tell them, ‘Stick with what you know, what you do, and don’t comment about football. Because if it was so easy, you would be doing it and obviously you’re not doing it.’”
In fact, the rather shy and reserved Eason, who is more prone to the qualities of southern hospitality, became a bit more blunt with his tone when asked about the woes of the quarterback situation and who is going to start.
“I'm a very blunt person and I just tell them, “It’s none of your business,’” Eason said with his patented smile. “I just tell them, ‘I don’t play offense and I don’t know, so you’re asking the wrong person. You need to ask Coach Mendenhall or Coach Doman because you’re asking the wrong person.’ My concern is stopping the other team and stopping their quarterback. I always tell people, ‘I can tell you about the other team’s quarterback. I know about him and who is going to start with the other team at quarterback.’”
During Monday’s press conference, Coach Mendenhall said that a decision on the starting quarterback likely won’t be made until the end of the week. Eason said he feels this might actually be a good strategy rather than an indictment on any one player.
“Really, it’s kind of good not naming a quarterback because now they won’t know who to prepare for,” Eason said. “Not knowing what to prepare for, you don’t know what to expect. It’s working out what’s best for us.
“It’s really difficult because you think you’re going to see this one quarterback the whole time. Then, you stop that guy and then you see the other guy that you didn’t put too much time into seeing. It’s hard to adjust. People just don’t realize that.
“They’re getting first downs and driving and by the time you get adjusted to him, the game could be over. You saw two examples of that with us against Texas and us doing the same thing this past week. It’s hard adjusting to a new quarterback because it messes up the focus of the defense.”
But couldn’t the resurgence of a quarterback battle become a distraction for the team?
“I feel like we have a veteran team and a lot of smart guys on our team,” Eason said. “They know they need to worry about their position and that they’re one of 11 and how they’re going to help our team. They don’t need to worry about somebody else’s position.
“I know everybody feels that whatever decision our coaches make is going to be what’s best for the team. We have trust in our coaches and don’t worry about it at all, so regardless of the decisions or situations, we trust in them with all our hearts.”
As players develop and progress within their prospective positions, they often incorporate different elements of their teammate’s game into their own style of play. Having seen how gritty Riley Nelson was in leading the come-from-behind win against Utah State, is there a chance some of that might rub off on Jake Heaps to where the quarterback position will possess the best of both worlds?
“I really don’t know because I haven’t ever played quarterback,” Eason said. “Once I get that experience, I can get back with you on that question.”
Put him in coach! Cougar fans want to know.