It would be hard to fathom that senior cornerback Bene Benwikere could have an even more impressive season than he did last year. However, after watching the aggressive hybrid defense that new defensive coordinator Kenwick Thompson has installed, expect Benwikire to have a monster season for the San Jose State Spartans.
Last season, the 6’0 192 pound Benwikere, was an All-WAC first team cornerback after intercepting 7 passes and having 67 tackles. Coming into the 2013 season Benwikere was on the watch list for the Bednarik Award Bronko Nagurski and Jim Thorpe Award.
Benwikere’s season could not have gotten off to a better start against Sacramento State last night, as he grabbed an interception of his first defensive series. The new aggressive hybrid defense can be directly attributed to the interception, as Sacramento State’s quarterback Garret Safron was forced to throw on the run after a defensive stunt opened a hole for the pass rusher. Safron lofted the football in the air and Benwikire made a spectacular one handed interception and romped down the field for 33 yards. There were at least two other times that Benwikire let an errant throw slip out of his hands.
Expect other quarterbacks to make the same mistake as Safron throughout the regular season, as Thompson’s scheme is made to confuse the quarterback.
After the game, I asked Benwikere if he felt added pressure to make plays because he is on an island a lot as a cornerback.
“Every time I am out there, I want to step up and make plays but so is everyone else out there,” Benwikere replied.
If Benwikere keeps making big plays expect him to move up the NFL draft boards. Before the season started, Benwikere was projected as a mid-to-late round draft pick, but this new scheme can push him into one of the earlier rounds.