Notre Dame’s Matthias Farley switching from safety to cornerback
BY LAMOND POPE Sun-Times Media March 6, 2014 10:28PM
Updated: March 6, 2014 11:10PM
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Matthias Farley didn’t have any reservations.
Which is a good trait for a cornerback.
The Notre Dame coaching staff recently approached Farley about moving from safety to cornerback. And he embraced the change.
“It will probably fit my skill sets better,” Farley said.
Farley started 11 games in 2012 and eight more at safety last season. He’s spending this spring adjusting to the new role.
“The one thing that we’re looking for and [new defensive coordinator Brian] VanGorder is looking for is outside‑in players and inside‑out players at that position,” coach Brian Kelly said. “And we think that [Farley] can be a very good player, especially a tackler from an outside‑in position.
“He’s been playing inside‑out right; he’s been running the alley inside‑out. We think he can be a very good force player from an outside-in position and he’s really a good athlete. He can run and he’s got very good ball skills.”
Farley had 49 tackles in 2013. But he was part of a defense that struggled at times preventing big plays.
“We were trying to get him to replace [safeties] Zeke Motta and Harrison Smith, two pretty good players and two physical players. And he’s not that kind of player. He got that tag of he’s not as physical. Well, that’s not his best trait,” Kelly said.
“He’s really smart, he’s got some tools I think that if we play him in the right position, he can really help our defense. I’m not going to say he was unfairly evaluated in a sense, but he was put in a very difficult position last year and we really think he can help our defense in a role that doesn’t focus on him being a hard-hitting safety.”
Farley said it is a tough transition.
“You have to know how everything fits, how you fit in it, getting the calls to everybody. It was definitely a lot,” he said. “But I think it was a beneficial year, going through some struggles, some ups and downs and coming out better for it.”
Now he is tackling a different task.
“There’s more reading and reacting based on what the quarterback does,” Farley said. “You don’t have to think as much about what’s going on around you and I think that I am fast enough and strong enough to play the position.”