After an extra day of deliberations, Skip Holtz and his staff released the first depth chart of the fall yesterday. Let's take a closer look.
-- There are an awful lot of -or-'s on this chart, aren't there? Especially on offense, at the skill positions. In fact, none of those positions have a settled two-deep. Either the starter is up in the air, or the backup, or in the case of the tight ends, both of them. There are a total of 33 players on a 12-position, two-deep roster.
On one hand, it's good that there's this much competition, and I assume that the coaches would feel comfortable putting any one of those players in the game. On the downside, I hope there's at least a little bit of separation between now and the start of the season so that the coaches aren't still running a bunch of players in and out of games trying to make up their mind. Then no one gets into a rhythm or develops a rapport with B.J. Daniels. We saw that for a long time with Jim Leavitt's teams and I don't think it benefited anyone.
-- As everyone talked about yesterday, Matt Floyd is nominally the #2 quarterback.
-- The true freshmen that have been talked up already are the ones you see on the depth chart -- Sean Price, D'vario Montgomery, Chris Bivins, Tashon Whitehurst, and Eric Lee. Daniel Perry is a new name out of that group, but remember that Julius Forte has been injured and won't be listed on the chart until he's healthy. So Perry's appearance on the two-deep may be short-lived.
-- Same thing with Cory Grissom's absence from the depth chart, although he has started practicing in the last couple of days as he finishes recovering from his broken ankle. Grissom is probably the run-stopping tackle, but I don't know whether Luke Sager or Elkino Watson is currently holding that spot.
-- An intriguing tweak with Sam Barrington moving to middle linebacker, possibly to make room for Reshard Cliett at strong-side. Michael Lanaris had his problems against the run last year (I especially think of the Pittsburgh game when Ray Graham pretty much owned him), and putting Barrington in the middle gives him a chance to make more plays. At the same time, bringing Cliett in gives them a hybrid defender against running backs and other short pass targets. Reshard is a converted safety, so you could look at this as kind of a 4-2-5 setup if he's on the field. If this depth chart holds, I'll be curious to see if they play like a 4-2-5 or if Cliett is more of a traditional linebacker.
-- Interesting to see three of the redshirt freshmen crack the two-deep on the offensive line. Thor Jozwiak is a backup center, Brynjar Gudmundsson is the second-string at right guard, and Max Lang is backing up the Age of Quinterrius at right tackle.
-- Terrence Mitchell continues to hang on to a starting receiver spot, even though I can't imagine him lining up on the outside unless he was running some kind of screen. Maybe he's the #1 at a slot receiver position, which would make more sense.
-- The second CB spot still makes me kind of nervous. George Baker has been pretty inconsistent over his career, and he's backed up by two players who have yet to play in a college game.
-- mperry99 will be happy to see Mattias Ciabatti continuing to hold on to the punting job over Justin Brockhaus-Kann.
-- I have no insight on Mark Popek moving to guard and Darrell Williams taking over at left tackle, but that also happened.
Any other things on the chart that you all want to talk about? Let's discuss in the comments.