September 24, 2008

Bolden looking to bounce back from struggles

Cornerback Omar Bolden knows what has happened to him on the field as of late.

He knows opposing wide receivers have gotten the best of him two weeks in a row.

But he isn't down and he also knows how to fix his recent troubles.

"I need to improve; I've struggled the past two weeks," Bolden said. "I know what the problem is. There are some things I need to fix at practice and work on.

"I'm not going to lie, I'm a little bit discouraged with myself. I'm disappointed with my performance. I'm kind of beating myself up a little bit. But I'm a fighter. I'm going to bounce back."

The biggest reason for his recent blunders, Bolden said, has been technique.

Last year, under cornerbacks coach Al Simmons, Bolden spent a lot of time up at the line of scrimmage jamming wide receivers.

But with new cornerbacks coach Greg Burns, Bolden spends much more time playing off the wide receivers before the snap.

"Last year we ran a completely different technique and this year we come out here and we have something totally different," Bolden said. "It's kind of irritating to me because I hadn't played corner, so learning two different techniques within two years is pretty rough."

Bolden said he liked the physical style he played last year more than the style he is playing this year.

He said he has more confidence when he gets to press the wide receiver.

Bolden said when he is right up on the line of scrimmage, it is easier to read the receiver's body language and to get a sense of what they are about to do.

In the first half against Georgia, Bolden found himself lined up 10 yards from the line of scrimmage when he was left one-on-one against Bulldog wide receiver AJ Green.

And several times, Green made long receptions with Bolden several yards away from the play.

In the second half though, Bolden was allowed to jam the true freshman and held Green in check.

"The whole first half we were giving up the deep ball," Bolden said. "I think if we would have pressed them from the beginning it would have been a different game."

But Bolden isn't using that as an excuse. He has owned up to his mistakes and is trying to fix them.

And there's no better time to fix mistakes than a bye week. So having this upcoming Saturday off couldn't have come at a better time for Bolden.

He said he just needs to shake off the past two weeks and get back to back to what made him a Freshman All-American a season ago.

"I just need to get back to focusing on the fundamentals and I'll be good," he said.

Even with his recent struggles, Bolden's teammates still have full faith in him.

After Saturday's loss, linebacker Mike Nixon said the team "still needs him to be the man this year."

And Bolden knows he still has everyone's support and confidence, and the biggest thing for him now is finding that confidence in himself.

Last year, Bolden was the No. 2 cornerback on the team behind Justin Tryon.

But now that he is No. 1, there has been a little more pressure placed on him. And he has felt that pressure the past two weeks.

"Last year, I had it easy," Bolden said. "It was easy for me to lose sight of what happened - I had a short term memory. Now, I feel like I'm supposed to be the lockdown corner so when I get beat it really frustrates me.

"I just have to get (back) to that short term memory and forget stuff real quick."

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