Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

August 12, 2008
Eugene rebounds from tough end to 2007

NAPA - Hiram Eugene was given the opportunity to be the Raiders starting free safety last year.

After five starts in the last six games where Eugene struggled with his tackling it was clear the Raiders needed an upgrade. That led to the addition of Gibril Wilson and Michael Huff moving to free safety.

Eugene hasn't sulked. He looks like a better player.

"Coach (Rob) Ryan always says 'I'm going to see what you can do,'" Eugene said. "And he'll put me in the position and I've just got to show up."

Eugene has a knack for intercepting passes in practice and is showing versatility.

With the team short on cornerbacks Eugene filled in covering receivers in the slot.

"He looks bigger, he looks stronger and he looks more confident," said Raiders coach Lane Kiffin. "He has a better look about himself. He looked more confident in the game so I think it was valuable for him to go through last year and struggle at times and get that out of his system, just like Johnnie Lee (Higgins) did hopefully. I'm excited about both those guys."

Eugene said he played cornerback in college so covering slot receivers in dime packages isn't completely new.

He credits dedication to studying the playbook with making the transition easier.

Eugene intercepted a pass in the exhibition opener and had an interception in the preseason last year, too.

His work on special teams is lauded, too.

"I take it one day at a time and I take it for what it's worth," Eugene said. "And if I get a chance to start again I'm just going to be happy and go hard for it. And like I said, take it one day at a time and see how it goes and prepare like I'm a starter."

--Jason Jones

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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