Even though most true freshmen can benefit from a redshirt year, very few like the idea, and that was the case for Trenier Orr in 2011. The Floridian actually played well enough in summer camp to often find himself challenging for a back-up spot at cornerback, but in the end, the UC staff kept him off the field so he would retain all four years of his college eligibility. After Tuesday’s practice session, Orr talked about what he learned from sitting and watching last season.
“No freshman wants to redshirt, but it went well for me,” he said. “I’m competing with the 1’s right now, and I’ve enhanced my knowledge of the game. I’m working way faster than when I first got there. There are still some things I need to improve, but I’m ready to compete.”
The fact that Orr is currently competing for a starting cornerback spot is pretty amazing because he didn’t start playing football until the ninth grade, and all through high school he starred as a receiver. In fact, his highlight package from high school showed no clips of him even playing on defense.
“From my freshman till my senior year in high school, I was a receiver,” said Orr. “In my junior year, they started rotating me in at nickel, and it wasn’t until the end of my senior year that I started playing more corner. They started rotating me in with the cornerbacks.”
Despite his inexperience at cornerback, Orr said his UC teammates went out of their way to encourage him last year.
“The older players kept telling me, ‘You’re going to be good.’ But I didn’t have the knowledge of a corner because I hadn’t really ever played it.”
Moving from receiver to cornerback wasn’t the only peculiarity in Orr’s recruitment. He had originally committed to a Big Ten school.
“I was committed to Illinois, but it was kind of shaky with them,” said Orr. “I came to Cincinnati on a visit, and it felt like a family. I told Coach Jones it was a family atmosphere.”
However, even after giving a commitment to the Bearcats just three weeks before National Signing Day, Orr considered trying to squeeze in one more official visit, but the trip never materialized.
“I was going to visit Colorado State just to take the visit,” he said. “My coach wanted me to see all my schools.”
Eastern Michigan, Georgia Southern and Southern Illinois had also extended offers to the Ocoee High School star.
The 5-foot-11, 185 pounder is one of the Bearcats bigger cornerbacks. Orr said he has added about 15 pounds since arriving at UC, and he is now approaching a 300 pound bench press.
“I think my max is about 290 on the bench,” he said. “I’ve improved a lot since I got here.”
Now Orr has had to make the transition from Coach Coombs to Coach Morrison. He was asked if there was much of a difference between the two position coaches.
“We’re doing the opposite of what Coach Coombs taught us, but not in a bad way,” he hurried to add. “It’s just two different coaching techniques.”
Orr listed his spring goals.
“One goal was to enhance my knowledge. I also want to improve my off technique, and to make a big play every day in practice.”
The most obvious way to make a big play is to get an interception, but even though Orr has good hands, he is still waiting for that first interception of the spring.
“I’ve had a lot of PBU (pass break-ups), and I working to get an interception. I’m going to get one.”
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