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November 13, 2013

Shepherd tested every day in practice

JaCorey Shepherd has made big jumps since moving from wide receiver to cornerback. This year he also is learning a new style. The Kansas cornerbacks have been playing bump-and-run coverage with the wide receivers all season.

That is a big change from last year.

"You learn as you go," Shepherd said. "Me personally I would prefer more bump and run because I feel like it puts you in a better position as long as you start off right with your footwork."

The transition started last spring with the corners. As time goes on they have improved with the new technique. It puts them on an island but Shepherd believes they adjust as each game progresses.

"I feel like it is one of those things as it goes along you start to learn what you can and can't do," he said. "Once the ball gets snapped and you get an idea who you're going against that gets better during the game. You start to learn the receiver and see how fast he is and things he likes to do."

One area that helped Shepherd with the move to defense was the fact he played wide receiver. That helps him understand what the receivers are doing and the routes they run.

Another boost to learning the position has been going up against Nick Harwell in practice. Harwell is sitting out this season and will be eligible next year after transferring from Miami, Ohio.

"He has helped me a lot as far as being able to do what I do," Shepherd said. "He gives me a good look every time. Most of the time, depending on what team we play, I'll tell him what the receiver I am going against likes to do. Most of the time I try to get him to go up against me because I would rather go up again someone that is a veteran and gets me prepared."

Shepherd said he will go out of his way to make sure he can face Harwell in practice. He is pushing Shepherd now and will help the offense next season.

"In practice I always try to make sure I'm going against him," Shepherd said. "I feel like if I can cover Nick then I can cover anybody we are playing on Saturday. He is just as good or better than those guys. I feel like he will really help out next year."

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