Consistency, physical toughness push Charlie Rogers to No. 1 left cornerback


Jonathan Krueger/Iowa State Daily

ISU redshirt freshman defensive back Charlie Rogers at the team’s media day in early August 2013. Rogers will be the Cyclones’ starting left cornerback during the 2013 season. 

Dylan Montz

Charlie Rogers doesn’t feel cautious when going for a tackle, despite recently implemented targeting rules.

“If you play with a cautious mindset, I don’t think you’ll get everything you can get,” Rogers said.

But what if a receiver lowers his head?

“I’ll just get lower,” Rogers said with a laugh.

The redshirt freshman defensive back from Iowa City, Iowa, is No. 1 on the depth chart at left side cornerback heading into Iowa State’s season-opener Saturday against the University of Northern Iowa at Jack Trice Stadium.

Rogers, at 6’1, is one of the two tallest starters in the ISU secondary, which is something that has allowed to him to play more physically. Perhaps the biggest lesson for Rogers throughout fall camp has been “to play under the pads.”

“That’s what we’ve got to keep emphasizing with Charlie,” said secondary coach Troy Douglas. “When you get a tall corner like that, the tendency is to play high. He’s got to play with a low pad level, but other than that, he’s been doing fine.”

In addition to playing cornerback, Rogers has also been taking reps at the nickel back position. Douglas feels that Rogers’ versatility in the secondary will make him more “multi-dimensional.”

Rogers, who played quarterback at Iowa City West, said the mindset he approaches each position with doesn’t change. The physical nature he brings to the secondary doesn’t change no matter where he is, but Rogers thinks he can be even more hard-nosed.

“If I’m at nickel, I know what the corner is doing because I play that position,” Rogers said. “When I’m at corner, I know what the nickel is doing and which zone I’m supposed to be in or when the nickel is coming to help out.”

Coach Paul Rhoads has taken notice of Rogers’s improvement, too. Rhoads said Rogers was able to maintain his position atop the depth chart by improving his game overall and his knowledge among the secondary by taking reps at two positions.

“With that long frame, he’s adapted to the different coverages that he has to excel at: deep, man, underneath,” Rhoads said of Rogers. “He’s a more physical player, and I think he’s improved his tackling ability, so he’s continued to grow much as we anticipated.”

Playing next to Rogers in the secondary at strong safety redshirt senior Deon Broomfield, who is No. 1 on the depth chart. The one thing Broomfield has noticed most about Rogers is his consistency as a nickel back and cornerback.

“What he has is size and can come up and hit you,” Broomfield said of Rogers. “Day in and day out, he’s consistent and likes to learn. He’s coachable, which makes it a lot easier.”