Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spring Football notes

The Spring practice for football has kicked off culminating in the annual scrimmage on Saturday April 25. The Spring and Summer practices will be critical to determine a number of pressing issues with this team in flux. A huge group of seniors departed this team and there is a void that will have to be filled by younger players. I'm not sure that it is all bad that this team will have a different character than the squad from last season. There was clearly a lack of leadership last season and the senior class had a fair number of players who never really lived up to expectations. It remains to be seen if the younger players will step up to replace the departed veterans but this team is accumulating more talent if they are sacrificing experience.

Safety Kenny Tate will stay at his position instead of switching back to wide receiver. Tate was the most heralded local recruit last season and was used his freshman season to provide depth at safety. Right now Terrell Skinner and Jamari McCollough are the starting duo at free safety and strong safety with Antwine Perez and Tate are the backups. The depth at receiver probably was the main reason Tate did not switch back to receiver where he would have to learn a new position and likely be put behind as a result.

Defensive tackle Dion Armstrong and LT Bruce Campbell will sit out the Spring to focus on academics. If Campbell were to become ineligible it would be a major blow to the offensive line. The current starters on the depth chart are: RT Paul Pinegar, RG Justin Lewis, C Phil Costa, and LG Lamar Young. Lewis is a freshman and Young is only a sophomore. I wouldn't be surprised if the depth chart gets shuffled after the Spring game.

The defensive line is also being reshuffled. The four starting linemen are: DE Derek Drummond, NT Dion Armstrong (A.J. Francis will play in his spot this Spring), DT Travis Ivey and "Anchor" Jared Harrell. True freshman De'Onte Arnett is already listed on the depth chart and will be worth watching. He is perhaps the most exciting freshman in this class.

Other noteworthy depth chart listings: Tommy Gault is listed ahead of Lansford Watson at tight end, Emani Lee-Odai is listed as the slot receiver replacing departed Danny Oquendo, and former tight end Drew Gloster, who was in danger of flunking off the team, is currently the starting middle linebacker with Alex Wujciak sidelined due to injury. Nick Wallace is listed as the current place kicker with David May as the kick off specialist. Place kicker will be a very interesting spot to keep an eye on before the season starts.

Also out with injury are LB Ben Pooler, FB Cory Jackson, WR LaQuan Williams and DB Richard Taylor.

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