CHARGERS: Young corners benefit from full offseason programBY CHRISTOPHER HADORN email@example.comSAN DIEGO ---- In late January 2011, Clemson's Marcus Gilchrist and USC's Shareece Wright were starting together in the backfield for the South defense during the Senior Bowl, college football's premier all-star game, which also serves as a scouting showcase for NFL personnel evaluators.There in Mobile, Ala., Gilchrist and Wright forged a friendship, but little did they know that they would eventually end up together on the same NFL team. Three months later, Gilchrist was selected by the Chargers with in the second round (50th overall) of the NFL draft and Wright was taken one round later with the 82nd overall selection.As rookies, both cornerbacks had to wait until training camp for their first exposure to their new vocation. Because the NFL lockout didn't end until July 25, neither Gilchrist nor Wright had the luxury of attending rookie camp, OTAs and minicamp, which help smooth the transition to pro football for rookies."My head was spinning when I first got here," Gilchrist said. "There were a lot of things thrown at you, playing nickel, man corner. I was trying to learn a little bit of everything."Filling in for an injured Quentin Jammer in Week 4 last season, Gilchrist made his first start and intercepted a pass in the Chargers' 26-16 win over Miami. Five weeks later, Gilchrist found out how difficult life in the NFL can be as 2011 league MVP Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers picked on him for 129 yards passing, two touchdowns and completed a perfect 7-for-7 in targets directed at him.By the end of the season, Gilchrist made four starts, intercepted two passes and was credited with four passes defended.Wright mostly contributed on special teams, playing just four snaps on defense.Now with an offseason program at their disposal, both cornerbacks have become more comfortable in the Chargers' defense under first-year defensive coordinator John Pagano. Both are vying for key roles in the team's nickel and dime packages. They're getting a lot of quality repetitions in the slot matching up against quick and explosive wide receivers Eddie Royal, Roscoe Parrish and Micheal Spurlock."They're really good players," said Chargers head coach Norv Turner. "They're young guys that didn't have an offseason last year, didn't have the OTAs, and came into camp and everything was totally new to them. I think they're guys that are going to really help us and make a strong impression in terms of how they play."Wright, who only started one full season at USC because of a neck injury and an academic eligibility issue, has embraced the offseason program, which has helped him make up for lost time during the lockout."It's slowed everything down, I have to say," Wright said. "It gives you time to learn what it is you need to do and go on the field and execute."Turner was very complimentary of Wright's abilities, describing him as "probably the quickest of all our DBs (defensive backs)."Turner characterized Gilchrist as a ball hawk who plays a physical style because of his long arms and upper body strength, which should suit him just fine in Pagano's style of defense."(Pagano) is an aggressive play-caller," Wright said. "He wants to play a lot of man (coverage). He wants to play a lot of cover zero (scheme with no safety help). He is asking us to be great cover corners, and that's what we are all here to do."First-year defensive backs coach Ron Meeks has also had a positive influence on the development of both sophomore corners. Meeks, a former defensive coordinator with the Super Bowl XLI champion Indianapolis Colts, has been one of the most vocal and animated coaches at the OTA practices at Chargers Park. After each play in 11-on-11 scrimmages, he often chimes in with his critiques and praise to his corps of defensive backs."He's very passionate about everything," Gilchrist said. "Everything he does and everything that he preaches, he walks at the same time. He is a big technique guy. He always wants you to be sound."Said Wright: "He demands nothing but the best. That's it. No excuses. No explanations. Just make it happen."