Chris Culliver doesn't care where he lines up in the South Carolina secondary.
You could even say that's secondary to him as he makes the move from free safety to cornerback this season. The primary objective for the senior from Garner, N.C.?
And if taking his talents to a different spot on the field can make a difference, he's all for it.
"I like to help the team out because my coach feels like that's a better fit for me and I feel like it is, also," said Culliver, a second-team All-SEC selection last season, when he compiled 62 tackles and a team-high nine pass breakups.
Four days into his new routine, Culliver is happy with the switch, which sent teammate Akeem Auguste from cornerback to free safety.
"Everything is going well," Culliver said. "I thought it was a good move. I like playing corner. I like to pressure receivers and get in their face."
USC defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward, who coaches the cornerbacks and free safeties, wanted to make the move for practical reasons. Culliver missed spring practice after undergoing shoulder surgery.
"Chris played well for us at safety, but last year he hurt his shoulders, and we expect a safety to be involved in a lot of tackling," Ward said. "So we thought it would be beneficial for us as a team and him in his career if we can get him out of all that physical contact with his shoulders. He's had surgery on both of them. I just think moving him to corner and using that speed will help us out on the island and putting those guys inside that can be more physical and get in the box and tackle."
It doesn't hurt that Culliver has the athletic ability to make the switch.
"No question," Ward said. "We wouldn't move him if we didn't think he could play it (corner)."
His professional prospects also may be better-suited for him at cornerback. He simply finds a way to do many things well, as the 6-foot-1, 201-pound Culliver has showcased his versatility throughout his USC career.
He began as a wide receiver his freshman season, but he made his first real impact as a kick returner. He moved to safety as a sophomore and made 60 tackles to go with three interceptions and two forced fumbles. Along the way, he has continued to excel in the return game by becoming USC's all-time leader in kickoff returns (94) and kickoff return yards (2,215), a figure that ranks fifth all-time in the SEC.
He and Auguste have discussed the responsibilities that go along with their switch, and he also has gotten with fellow cornerback and former South Pointe star Stephon Gilmore, who made the freshman All-SEC team a year ago, on what they need to do to keep things covered on their respective areas of the field.
His biggest adjustment is a matter of "just knowing what you're doing at all times."
Ward believes Culliver's biggest contribution could come in stepping forward and serving as an example for his peers. He likes what he has seen so far leading up to the season.
"He's doing things this offseason to show us that he's trying to be a leader," Ward said. "He's one of the seniors. We look for Chris to show a lot of leadership."
Culliver admits he tried to set an example in workouts and wants to send a signal to the younger players about what it means to compete in the SEC. It's not likely that he'll be benched this season as he was a year ago against Arkansas when his shoulder issues restricted his effectiveness.
He's more than ready to go full-bore, even if the move to corner was due in part to those shoulder problems. He's not going to back down on the field at all.
"I'm still going to try to get some tackles," he said with a big smile.
He'd even move back to his former spot if that's what the coaches ever wanted him to do.
"I still can play safety and come down and hit somebody if we need it," he said.
At this stage of his career, winning is what he wants most of all. He's certain this team has the talent to do big things in the SEC with 15 returning starters, and he's ready to help lead the way.
"I just look forward to everybody doing well and taking this team to the next level."