When watching a football game there are battles that naturally occur without any need of a story line or rivalry headed into the game. Be it quarterback vs. pass rush, offensive line vs. defensive line, running back vs. linebackers, tight ends vs. safeties, kick return vs. kickoff, these are all great clashes of talent to watch throughout the game. But arguably the best face off to watch is a top level corner vs. a top level wide receiver.
This is a particularly intriguing matchup because in a team sport, this is the closest football players get to playing out on an island. For a really good corner, he will have to play on the best receiver with little to no help to force the ball to other guys with more coverage, trusting the top corner to be better than and takeaway the other teams top receiver. The corner will have to play close, physical football to get the receiver outside his comfort zone. He will also have to keep a close eye on the receivers hips and hands as a top receiver will not show his hand too early so any hints of a turn in the route or the ball coming will be a huge difference maker in this battle.
On the other hand, the top receiver knows he will be facing the best corner for the other team. He will have to face contact at the line of scrimmage to try and throw off his route timing. He will be constantly hand fighting with the corner, needing to run his routes perfectly and fine tuning all the little things through a route to get that little separation needed to get the ball.
Making sure to keep the eyes up and not look down to give away the cut, break down and explode in the route when changing direction, not accelerating to the full 100 percent speed until the ball is in the air on go routes, keeping the hands down as long as possible to keep the corner unaware of where the ball is, getting both hands up to the ball, climbing the ladder on a jump ball(especially in the end zone), all of these this need to be perfect when playing a top level corner. Even then the quarterback may not want to test the corner; the targets have to be set up perfectly.
That is all happening this weekend as returning star corner Quenton Meeks (#24) heads to Notre Dame to take on an explosive Equanimeous St. Brown (#6) who leads the team in receiving yards with 571 and six touchdowns. He runs a 4.4 forty yard dash, is 6’5” and over 200 pounds, and can burn team deep at any time; he will not be bullied at the line and can go over the top of a defender.
This will be a great matchup to watch all game long as Meeks and St. Brown will battle for sixty minutes, and the one who lets up even a little, will probably be giving up the difference-making big play.
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