Fox changes positions for all-star game
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
Alex Fox has an extra challenge — to change positions and practice against some of the top players in North Carolina.
Fox switched from linebacker to cornerback during practices at the East-West All-Star Football Game, which is at 8 p.m. tonight at Jamison Stadium at Greensboro Grimsley High School. Fox was an All-Northwestern Conference linebacker during the 2011 season, but moved to cornerback for the all-star game.
“Playing cornerback is a different look for me,” Fox, a four-year starter at Watauga at inside linebacker, said. “I'm used to be in the middle of everything. But I'm learning how to play cornerback and I'm about ready to go.”
Avery head coach Darrell Brewer, is helping Fox make the adjustment. Brewer is the defensive back coach for the West.
“He's a great guy,” Fox said. “I didn't know him too much in the past, but he knows what he's talking about and he gets to the point. He knows what you need to be doing and what you don't need to be doing.”
Fox knew what he was doing at inside linebacker while at Watauga. He led the Pioneers with 112 total tackles, 10 of them for losses of 39 yards.
He also recorded 2.5 sacks for minus 11 yards, and intercepted three passes. Fox returned one for a touchdown.
But playing cornerback takes on a different responsibility. Cornerbacks have to funnel sweeps to their side by not letting running backs get outside.
They also must make sure they are in proper coverages should the offense pass the ball. It may sound simple, but learning the coverages is not.
“I've got to play the coverages right,” Fox said. “If I'm playing cover three, I've got to drop because I've got the deep third and I can't lollygag up front. I have to play my assignment and be fast out there.”
It's not the first time Fox has had to overcome a challenge. Fox suffered a knee injury in the third game of the 2010 season after racking up 25 tackles. He also was a starter his freshman year.
The teams have been undergoing two-a-day practices since they reported to camp July 12. There was a banquet on Sunday honoring the players, and the West team has been practicing mostly in the morning to avoid the afternoon heat.
Fox said most of the hard practices are over. He's ready to get on the Jamison Stadium field to play.
“We're done practicing hard. We've got everything down,” Fox said. “We're just staying in shape now. I want to have a good time and get a victory.”
Fox also knows he'll be playing in his last competitive football game. He'll attend UNC Wilmington, which does not have a varsity football program, in the fall.
“It's bitter-sweet,” Fox said. “I love football and I'd love to keep playing, but it has to come to an end at one point. I hope to come with a win in my last game.”