Aaaaaand we're back.
It's spring and that means football is starting once again. With the two biggest offensive play makers on their way to the NFL, this spring practice session is going to be interesting on a lot of levels.
Who will take the reins at QB? Who will emerge as the go-to receiver? Who the $% will Coach Monken cuss out first?
On the flip side of that, what other position battles will be the most interesting to follow and who stands to see the biggest improvement during the practices?
Let's start first with the QB's. Right now, I think it is a two man battle between Clint Chelf and J.W. Walsh. Wes Lunt will get a good amount of practice reps but I honestly think the other two stand too far in front of him as far as experience and knowledge of the system for him to really make a push for the starting position. So with that said, both Chelf and Walsh will have to really step up to take the spot from the other. If the battle is really close, I think Walsh will win it for the simple fact that he has the most upside. If Chelf is to be the starting QB, he has to really shine and stand out as the clear choice in order to win the battle.
More after the jump.
In looking at the depth chart, there were a few moves and position changes that really caught my eye. The biggest being Nigel Nicholas moving back to his true position at defensive end. To me, that means very good things. One of my biggest questions after last season was how were the Pokes going to replace the effort given by Richetti Jones and Jamie Blatnick. The move for Nicholas gives me a lot more confidence in the position. Watch for how he readjusts to life on the edge and how depth follows behind him.
Nicholas's move back to DE also means that the coaches really like who they have at defensive tackle. To move your most experiences man in the middle out to the edge speaks very well of the talent currently at the position. With Anthony Rogers, Christian Littlehead, James Castleman, and the arrival of Calvin Barnett, the two deep at DT looks pretty damn solid right now and it will beinteresting to watch these four battle it out for the starting positions.
Staying on the defensive side, it will also be interesting to watch the improvement of the young linebackers. Last season, there were obviously problems stopping the run and much of it had to do with the inexperience at the position. Guys like Caleb Lavey and Alex Elkins were giving good effort but had trouble with tackling angles and shedding blocks. Look for these two to make some big strides along with Shaun Lewis on the Strong side continuing to get better.
On offense, the quarterback battle is obviously going to have the biggest spotlight. But the receiver position looks like it may end up just as important in the spring. With Michael Harrison being suspended and then leaving the program, it would seem that the #1 receiver is even more of a wide open race than it was a couple months ago. Look for immediate impact from the Tight End/Inside Receiver Juco recruit, Blake Jackson. I'm also hoping to see big improvements from guys like Tracy Moore, Isaiah Anderson, and Josh Stewart. Finally, the guy I have been looking forward to seeing ever since he set foot on campus is Torrance Carr. Right now, he is slotted behind Blake Jackson at Inside Receiver but If he can turn heads in the spring, he may earn a starting spot on the outside.
As spring moves forward, we'll keep you updated on all these positions and new developments during the practices along with any other tidbits as well. Stay tuned and go Pokes!