Troy Woolfolk is enjoying his change of position in Michigan's secondary
None of this is new to Troy Woolfolk. After all, the Michigan safety has made this switch before.
A standout cornerback at Dulles High in Sugar Land, Texas, Woolfolk's high school coach, Jim Creech, saw teams were eliminating him from the defense by throwing away from him consistently. So on the move he went, from corner to safety.
And here he goes again, moving from corner to safety. Not that he minds.
"It just seemed more natural," Woolfolk said.
It also allows the junior to more effectively use what he considers his greatest attribute, his speed. In high school, he had shown speed of a sprinter qualifying for the Texas state meet as a junior and senior and winning his suburban Houston district's title in the 100 and 200 meters his junior year.
It's shown in practice.
"Less so than last year is the play culminating in a 50-yard bomb, you know," linebacker Obi Ezeh said. "That's always a good thing when you don't have to worry about that."
Speed, though, only does so much for the son of former Michigan running back Butch Woolfolk. As a 6-foot, 193-pound safety, Woolfolk is learning to work more in concert with linebackers like Ezeh in coverage plans for slot receivers and tight ends. He also has to work with the cornerbacks more in support on outside receivers.
But still, even if Woolfolk screws up, that's where that best attribute comes in again.
"You can be the fastest person in the world, but if you're not making the right keys, it can happen," Woolfolk said. "Like on playaction and not picking up the tight end, it's not only speed but also being smart and I'm working on the intelligence aspect of the game.
"But I think the speed will help as well."
VIDEO OF WOOLFOLK'S DAD, BUTCH, AT MICHIGAN IN THE ROSE BOWL: