Thursday, April 4, 2013

Swann's song for spring

When you're the lone returning starter it's hard to avoid the spotlight.
Swann is getting used to a new group around him after the secondary lost starting safeties Shawn Williams and Bacarri Rambo and cornerbacks Sanders Commings and Branden Smith.
“It’s a different look,” Swann said. “It’s a very different feeling for me. I look to the left, I see Branden. I look behind me I see Rambo and Shawn. The other corner I see Sanders. All four of those guys are gone now. I’ve just got to get comfortable playing with the guys that are here now because that’s who I’m going to be playing with.”
His coaches are confident in the junior cornerback and see even more potential than he's shown thus far in his career. The first key was seeing that Swann had been moved to the boundary corner spot. Listening to Grantham and Richt it's easy to see why.
“I think he was tremendous last year,” defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. “When you look at the way he played and the way he progressed, I expect him to be a leader for us back there.”
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Swann said he’s tried to learn the responsibilities of every position in the secondary to teach the younger players better.
“I think Swann is leading extremely well for us,” coach Mark Richt said. “I think he’s practicing hard. He’s to the point in his career where he’s got to think in terms of trying to perfect his trade and what he does. He’s not learning what to do anymore. He knows what to do. He really doesn’t have to prove to anybody that he’s a very good football player, he’s already proved that. Now it’s just a matter of can I lead and can I become the very best football player that I can possibly be. I think that’s his mindset. I’m seeing good signs of that.”
And it's worth remembering that Swann was one of the biggest stars in the bowl game against Nebraska - six tackles and a couple of picks. A performance that has helped him get over the devastating loss in the Georgia Dome.
Swann said his big bowl game helped him get over the SEC championship loss. Alabama went ahead for good on a 45-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper, who beat Swann for a 45-yard touchdown with 3:15 left.
“Damian’s been Damian,” receiver Chris Conley said. “He’s developed more. He’s got the same confidence that he has had last year, but I think the biggest thing about Damian is he’s a true SEC starting corner. He plays like one. He’s got the presence of one and quarterbacks and offenses are going to be aware of that because he’s made those plays and he’s continuing to make those plays in the spring and he’s only getting better.”