August 22, 2013

Kevin Peterson is finally released to speak to the media

When the Cowboys took the field last season, there was a somewhat familiar sight on the defensive side of the ball.

The Cowboy coaching staff likes to play their freshman guys here and there to get them experience, but only in certain positions. Rarely do you see freshman lineman or linebackers on the field, and it's almost as rare with the defensive backs.

But when they took the field against Savannah State, and everyone else for that matter, out jogged freshman Kevin Peterson as the third cornerback with the defensive unit.

Since he was a freshman, we couldn't talk to Peterson about his ride through 2012, which was a bit rough due to a porous defense down the stretch. But he was finally released to the media this season, and we talked to him about last season and what he expects out of this one.

Here's what he had to say.

How big of a change is it in what you're being asked to do this year versus last year, as far as crowding guys at the line and that sort of things?

Well, last year I was the third guy behind Justin Gilbert and Brodrick Brown, and I was asked to go in there and give those guys a break. Now, since I'm in the starting role, I'm trying to work on staying closer and not being as nervous. I had a lot of jitters because high school to the Big 12 is a big jump, so I want to stick closer and play press better.

Coach Malone says he has a specific way of talking with you and he has certain phrases with you.

Oh, not really. Coach Malone's a great coach, he likes to keep everyone guessing. He doesn't have a specific way of talking to anyone, he just tells everybody to do your job or be over there by me watching someone else do it.

What's the biggest change in this defense from last year to this year?

We're way, way more aggressive. We're going to be batting down more balls and playing man more. We're going to go out there and do our thing and be able to play our game.

Do you remember what you were thinking during your first play last year?

Oh yeah. Don't mess up, that's all I was really worried about. I was on punt return and I was jamming the outside guy. I pancaked him, so I guess it was a good start to my college career.

You talked about being nervous last year. What was that like, being thrown into the fire in a league where they throw the ball a lot?

It was just me getting my nerves worked up. Ever since high school I used to always think of things bigger than they really were. I just have to get settled down and in my own and know that I can play with anybody.

One of the biggest storylines last season was Justin's year. Coach Gundy has said that Justin was listening to outside sources and that messed with him on the field. What did you learn from watching him go through that situation that you're going to use in the future?

Justin's a very good competitor. He likes to be the best at all times, and last year I think he just lost focus. This year, ever since spring ball started he's been hungrier than anyone I've ever seen since I got here last year. I've just learned to always want it more than the other person.

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