Southern Miss cornerback C.J. Bailey had a freshman season in 2007 that included some highs and some very visible lows.
The Moss Point native started 10 of the 13 games last season as a redshirt freshman and new USM defensive coordinator Todd Bradford has been able to look back on Bailey’s first year through film.
“He had some real good plays and he had some plays where he’s capable of playing better,” Bradford said. “There isn’t a harder position to play as a young guy. He was forced to play through an injury to help the team and he’s finally healthy so we’re looking forward to see what he can do.”
Bailey took it on the chin at times during the season as he was beaten on a few long pass plays that wound up hurting his team, and nobody knows it better than the corner himself.
“I’d say my worst game was UCF,” Bailey said. “I let the team down and I took it upon myself. My coaches and teammates encouraged me, but I felt like it was a game I could have stepped up because it was late in the season and we were trying to get a conference championship.”
Central Florida topped the Golden Eagles 34-17 on Oct. 28 as USM wound up 7-6 and 5-3 in Conference USA, good enough for fourth in the Eastern division. Bailey had 40 tackles and a pair of interceptions to his credit last season.
No matter how tough it was at times in 2007, Bailey just believes his first year on the field will only benefit him down the road.
“It was a great learning experience,” Bailey said. “It’s something that every freshman goes through. I’m looking forward to having an improved season.”