He even attends the meetings of the wide receivers to learn their routes and improve his capabilities at cornerback. He tries to use the information he learns against them on the field in practice. He said it builds the competition on offense and defense and helps prepare defensive backs and wide receivers.
Cornerback coach Jeff Popovich said knowledge of the offense and the defense helps players be successful. A large portion of the game is mental, and if a player can succeed in the mental aspect, he also will be able to succeed in the physical aspect.
“Anytime you can try and gain an understanding of how you are going to be attacked and what offenses are trying to do to defenses, an vice versa for a receiver learning how a defense plays, is very valuable,” Popovich said.
The new approach on offense has created a challenge for Swilling on defense. As a press corner, he has to adjust from last season. Previously, he was able to back pedal and see the play unfold in front of him. Now, being a part of the press man-to-man technique he has to dissect the play faster and prevent the receiver from getting into his route.
However, he said this technique makes him and the other cornerbacks better. Now, he can excel at whichever technique is required for the opposing offense.
Swilling looks to continually improve his game from last season and not grow complacent. Tech’s lack of a depth chart right now helps him do that. The Jackets use an “above the line” or “below the line” system instead, where anyone who is above the line gets to play.
“One day I might be at left, one day I might be playing nickel, one day I might be playing right corner,” Swilling said. “So you just don’t know. It keeps you going every single day and you’ve got to attack the day with the same mindset and just wanting to get better.”
Popovich, who is in his first season at Tech, notices the work Swilling has put in through the spring and recognizes him as a leader on and off the field for the defensive backs.
“He’s really gotten in there, watches a ton of film, asks questions,” Popovich said. “He’s always asking when things are going to be pushed to him so he can watch it at home. And so that’s been great, he’s really come around from day one until now, he’s making huge strides. Really excited about his development.”