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Updated: August 20th, 2013 11:22pm
CB Briean Boddy capitalizing on key opportunity in Gophers' secondary

CB Briean Boddy capitalizing on key opportunity in Gophers' secondary

by Nate Sandell
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Gophers junior cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun bided his time, picked his spots and quietly capitalized when the chances were there.

Now Boddy, who is in his second year with the Gophers after transferring from Coffeyville Community College, is tracking towards becoming a critical piece in the "U" secondary.

With the end of fall camp in sight, it has become increasingly obvious that the unassuming 5-foot-11, 186-pound corner is going to have a major opportunity in a surprisingly deep secondary that is trying to build off its sudden rise last year to 12th in the nation in pass defense.

"Briean Boddy has had a great camp. Great camp," Kill said. "Briean is certainly eye-catching with the way he's been playing."

Primarily slotted in as a reserve option for much of last season, Boddy surfaced back into the Gophers' long-term plans in the secondary with an impressive four-tackle showing against Texas Tech in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

Entering spring practice, Boddy's name didn't usually come up in outside discussions about the outlook at cornerback, even with the Gophers in need of filling the vacancies left by Troy Stoudermire and Michael Carter.

But the subject of Boddy's steady development tended to pop up frequently in conversations with coach Jerry Kill and defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys. By the mid-point of spring, with seniors Jeremy Baltazar and Martez Shabazz nursing injuries, Boddy had seen his opening. He quickly bounded up the depth chart to grab a share of first team reps with fellow corners Derrick Wells and Eric Murray.

Three weeks of fall camp have only served to strengthen his status.

"I'm always an optimistic guy," Boddy said. "I kind of knew I was going to have a big opportunity this upcoming year, so I took this spring and this summer very serious as far as training my body, feeding it what it needs and stuff like that. I'm looking forward to it (this season). I'm anxious, but I'm ready."

If you had to put a number on it, it is safe to say Boddy is currently the Gophers' No. 3 corner behind Wells and Murray. But Boddy is going to have plenty of chances at playing time, especially as a key part of the Gophers' nickel package schemes.

Plus, while Murray has gained his share of praise for his rapid ascent to a starting spot, it is by no means a given that he will hold on to that role all season.

Boddy's emergence has only added to the building comfort level the Gophers have gained in their secondary, which went from having limited backup options at corner a year ago to six-plus players with legitimate shots at playing time -- Wells, Murray, Boddy, Shabazz, Baltazar, junior Marcus Jones and even true freshman Jalen Myrick.

Kills sees Boddy as a prime example of what he has been looking for to create the backbone in his now-three year overhaul of the Gophers.

"He never complains. He never comes in and gripes about his role. He doesn't say anything, just goes out and plays and works hard, does what he needs to do," Kill said. "That's the type of people you need to have to be successful and win. I'd jump into a pit with that kid. He's going to get after it and play hard for you."

Nate Sandell is a contributor to
Email Nate | @nsandell