Bradley to Safety?

Brandon Bradley

Defensive back Brandon Bradley has spent this season simulating opposing defensive units while seeing spot duty on special teams. But make no mistake about it, Bradley intends to be much more involved after this season no matter where he's playing on the football field. TBS caught up with Bradley to learn of his progress this year and what his future plans are.

Brandon Bradley arrived at BYU over a year ago with a lot of promise and hype as he looked to supplement a historically weak cornerback position at BYU. He came in with a big frame and the type of athleticism seldom seen in a BYU Cougar backfield.

As Bradley worked out over the summer and got ready for two-a-days in 2006, word seeped out from admiring teammates that Bradley was a player. The expectations for Bradley were as the 2006 preseason practice session was about to begin. It all ended abruptly - albeit temporarily - when Bradley tore his ACL just prior to preseason practices.

"It was the worst thing ever," said Bradley regarding the injury. "I mean, ever. It's seriously like the worst thing that could have happened and I'm only starting to get back to where I was."

Indeed, Bradley has slowly worked his way back, although the outset of the 2007 preseason practices saw Bradley not yet fully recovered from his ACL injury. Bradley was close during this past August, but not quite there. That led to him taking a scout team assignment, which he took reluctantly but while full of determination.

"I want to play, everyone wants to play," said Bradley. "Scout team is fun, but it ain't that fun. You know what I'm saying? The fun is playing on the field on Saturdays, which I've been able to do some, but not as much as I'd like to."

Bradley set out for concentrated scout team work this season with one of the bigger knee braces one will ever see. Slowly but surely, he has been working his way back while simulating opposing defenses, doing his best to prepare the offense for each opponent.

"It's fun," said Bradley regarding his scout team work. "I'm able to go up against Austin Collie, who is really good. We have a little competition going from clear back in the summer, and it's picked right back up in the fall. He definitely helps me because he's such a challenge to keep up with. He brings it every day no matter what."

While Collie usually got the best of Bradley early on during the fall, Bradley has won more and more of the one-on-one battles as practices progress. This past week of practices saw Bradley staying stride-for-stride with Collie on some deep routes, allowing Bradley to knock the ball away for some incompletions.

"I'm definitely getting better every day I'm out there," said Bradley. "My knee is feeling better, I'm moving better and understanding how best to read guys every day I'm out there. I feel I've improved a lot [while] learning technique, which is what I'm able to focus on more playing on the scout team."

While Bradley is getting all his reps at cornerback, that may change come spring practices. BYU will enter the 2008 season very shallow in overall safety depth. Bradley knows this and it has been mentioned to him that he may very well be asked to switch to safety next season.

"I'm sort of expecting it, to be honest with you," said Bradley. "It's been mentioned and coaches have talked to me about it. Right now I'm a cornerback and no decision has been made, but I really do think I'll be playing safety next year. It's something I've thought a lot about."

Bradley didn't state a ready preference of where he wants to play specifically. His desire is to be on the field as much as possible so that he can help out his team.

"It doesn't matter all that much to me," said Bradley. "I just want to play. It doesn't matter where. I'm more used to cornerback obviously, but I feel that I could learn and become a very good safety."

At a glance, Bradley appears well-suited for the strong safety position - or KAT position as it's called at BYU. Bradley measures in at just over 6 feet 1 inch and 200 pounds. Being able to move well at that size, Bradley could prove to be an imposing force in the Cougar secondary while over the middle of coverage or in run support.

"I like to hit," said Bradley. "I'm not a guy that runs away from contact. I like to hit and I like to hit hard, which safeties do a lot. I'll be bringing it no matter where I'm playing on the field."

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