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August 15, 2012
Price is right
Junior cornerback Jabari Price has already shown he can be the kind of cornerback the new Carolina coaching staff is seeking.
"He is that boundary corner who is going to be able to make a lot of plays for us with the coverages we play," Coach Larry Fedora said. "And he is physical enough to do it.
"He's made a bunch of plays so far this fall camp. The thing for him is being consistent every day. If he can do that, he has a chance to be a really good player."
"I'll take all the Jabari Prices we can get," Fedora said.
Price said that he loves the new defensive scheme, which emphasizes attacking relentlessly. The last few years the Tar Heels often played more of a sagging defense, and it hurt the team late in games.
Price said he is ready to go all out, and he's trying to build those habits in this summer camp.
"I have to be aggressive," Price said. "A lot of teams try to pick on the backside in the boundary. The coaches have faith in me to put me on the backside and trust me to make the right run fit or cover a guy man-to-man. I have to be confident in myself.
"I'm not soft at all," Price said. "I like to stick my nose in there and get it dirty. I'm not going to back down from anybody. I may be 195 pounds, but I'm going to bring it to anybody. I'm not going to run from a fight."
He showed this attitude in a recent scrimmage.
"I had nine tackles and a forced fumble," Price said.
There are corners who want to do little more than play basketball on the football field and cover receivers. Many of those guys shy from the contact.
Price admitted he used to be one of those, but he has changed his attitude dramatically.
"I refrain from the finesse-corner type," Price said. "When I was in high school I didn't tackle as much. I just wanted to cover. Now I'm more physical, bump-and-run, in-your-face type of guy. I'm not shying away from contact, and I'm not going the other way."
His leadership is helping the entire secondary improve each day. Fedora singled the secondary out for its performances on Wednesday.
"Every day we're getting a few more picks," Fedora said. "That is what wins games, turnovers. The last couple of days the secondary has done a nice job of that."
Safety Tre Boston and Price are both from Florida and each played as true freshmen. Boston is now a safety, but Price said their connection still works well for them on the field.
They have also encouraged one another to teach the younger guys and help them fast-forward their learning curve.
"The good leaders are guys who do the right thing on and off the field, setting the right examples," Price said. "This summer, we took it upon ourselves to come out here on Saturdays and Sundays on Navy field and work on our weaknesses. We were just pushing each other.
"We called the young guys and got everybody out here to all get better together," Price said. "Guys like T.J. Jiles and Malik Simmons, they came in athletically gifted. But on the collegiate level you are going to need technique as well. So I'm helping the young guys further their game to the maximum.
"And I also try to lead by example and show the right way to do it: that is how you want to make plays and how you want to set the tempo."