So it's Friday, we're just shy of two weeks out from our first game of the season and I've got some things to throw out there that I thought worth sharing and getting everyone's thoughts.
Some of it could probably be extrapolated from coach Mangino's quotes following camp, while other stuff probably not. Regardless, I tried to get some of the questions answered that we've been asking in the polls during the positional previews of the past two weeks.
Some interesting stuff and some very positive things I think as well. I'd be interested in everyone else's take and hopefully you all find a little bit of something new.
There are still two weeks before kickoff so things could change, but as of today some things are starting to take shape.
QuickNote: There are four new stories up on the site today so be sure to scroll down and check them all out. Might make your long Friday in the office go a bit quicker.
QuickNote2: I've received an email and it's been pointed out that my "after the jump" comments are unnecessary. Apparently the "continue reading this post" hyperlink will suffice. So, in my ongoing effort to improve, consider it removed. :D
For starters let's take a look at the offense. Specifically beginning with the offensive line. At the moment we're looking at a starting line of Hawk, Thorson, Hatch, Capra and Spikes. Appears Thorson has stepped over from center and the staff likes the experience at the guards over the youth. Also have word that Spikes has really stepped up his play and seems to really "get it" from a mental standpoint this year so that is good news. The o-line was definitely an area of concern but it looks like we might start more upperclassmen than many initially thought.
Seeing a lot of 4 wide sets at the reciever slot with McDougald the 4th starter in place of a tight end. Certain scenarios when the tight end comes in either McDougald or Meier are coming out depending on the play.
Also, looks like Toben Opurum is running with the 1's rotating carries with Sharp. Running back is still wide open but he's worked his way in there. Sounds like Lewis is probably the backup most familiar with the offense and is as we suspected a pretty powerful guy so I wouldn't rule him out yet. Also, Porter is very talented, just maybe need a little more time getting the system down.
Defensively, sounds like Anthony Davis and Daymond Patterson have the corner slots locked up and Thornton is moving back to safety as Mangino mentioned. Primarily rotating through with Stuckey and Strozier.
Linebacker is up in the air big time. Seems there just hasn't been a consistent look at anyone for a variety of reasons. Arist Wright does seem the closest to locking up a spot. Huldon Tharp as Mangino has mentioned is very much in the mix and Justin Springer is fine with the knee. Good chance if he's healthy he might win out in the middle.
Defensive line looks good early. Sounds like Zlatnik and Richard Johnson Jr at tackles with a rotation of Wheeler, Woods, Laptad and Max O at the ends.
Special teams we're looking at Stuckey, Patterson, Briscoe and McDougald all still working in the return game but it's good to see we've narrowed it a little bit.
In terms of newcomers and other position changes it sounds like Quigley is one of the hardest hitters on the team and is starting to get there at linebacker. Still has work to do though.
Greg Brown a reshirt freshman corner is a stud athletically and from a speed standpoint. He'll be a factor somewhere, someday, just might not be today.
Freshman likely to forgo the redshirt; Kande, Patmon, Opurum, McDougald and Tharp. Looks like the lean is to keep it for Omigie, Young and maybe McGriff who were all reported to possibly see the field. Depth at their positions may afford the opportunity to give them a developmental year.
Calvin Rubles is working #2 corner so that's a good thing. About where you'd expect him and it's good to know he isn't disappointing.
So there you have it. Like I said some of this is probably a little bit of old news, but hopefully some of it gives you a little further insight. Another bit of good news is we came out of camp without any serious injuries. A few nagging muscle pulls here and there but for the most part everyone's still good to go.
I think the biggest news so far would have to be the O-Line, McDougald, A. Davis, and the continued lack of a consitent solution at linebacker. Again there are a variety of reasons for that so I'm not saying it won't happen, but it's a position where a lot of combinations are being thrown out there.
A lot could change as there are still two weeks to go, but it seems like some things are starting to take shape.