July 28, 2011

Positions battles and freshmen to watch in fall camp

Entering fall camp, there are several positions that are solidified and it will take something drastic in order for those players not to start. Others however are going to be very competitive, like quarterback.

Quarterback

The quarterback battle seems to already be down to two - Colby Cameron and Nick Isham. During this summer's voluntary 7-on-7 scrimmages Cameron and Isham received the most work. The thought is this was determined by offensive coordinator Tony Franklin before the scrimmages began. At the conclusion of these scrimmages the battle was much closer than it began. Given Isham has not had much one-on-one time, if any, with Franklin his understanding and performance in the offense is impressive. The obvious freshman to watch amongst the quarterbacks is Isham.

What happened to Taylor Burch?
Burch slipped seemingly to the bottom of the depth chart during the summer, as he received no action during 7-on-7 with exception to one series on the final evening. His accuracy seemed to take a dip following baseball season, which leads you to believe the throwing motion of a baseball versus that of a football may have caused the accuracy issues.

Receivers

Andrew Guillot and Myles White
Richie Casey and Lyle Fitte
David Gru and Taulib Ikharo

Running back

With the starting position seemingly solidified by Lennon Creer and the backup position to Ray Holley there really is not a battle at running back. The freshmen to watch will be the walk-ons Blake Martin and Hunter Lee. Lee physically already looks the part and Martin has good speed and plays 110% every play. Which of these guys will emerge on top? The guy who wins that battle will likely receive a scholarship from head coach Sonny Dykes.

Offensive line

Most of the positions on the offensive line are solidified with exception to right guard where Vincent Cano and Oscar Johnson will compete to find out who will be the starter there. Cano is much shorter Johnson but has great athleticism and knows what is expected from him more than Johnson. Johnson is a tall and wide body that will be hard for a defensive lineman to get over or around to disrupt a pass play. At right tackle, who will backup Jordan Mills be with Houston Lantrip no longer on the roster?

Defensive line

Where will freshmen tackles, Dirk Tanner, Malcolm Pichon, and Tyler Porter fit in to the rotation and in the depth chart? Tanner will likely play behind Jon'al White and Adam Hymel while Pichon behind Justin Ellis and Shakeil Lucas. Porter on the other hand is kind of a mix between Pichon and Tanner and could play either position.

Linebacker

Strongside
Dusty Rust, Rufus Porter, and Antonio Mitchum will be in a battle. Rust is the most experienced, Porter was the most recruited out of high school and has extreme upside, and Mitchum is a junior college transfer who is a hybrid between Rust and Porter.

Middle
Adrien Cole and Solomon Randle return for the Bulldogs and really are interchangeable at that position. Cole is a little quicker and has better instincts than Randle, but Randle is a very worthy backup for Cole. It is possible for Randle to take the starting position from Cole, especially given Cole's issues off the field academically.

The freshman linebacker to watch will be Beau Fitte. It is almost a guarantee Fitte will be on the field at some point during his true freshman season. Whether that time is spent on special teams or at linebacker, only time will tell.

Cornerbacks

Left corner
With the move of Ryan Williams to safety, Dave Clark will likely get the start at left cornerback with Justin Goodman behind him. Goodman had moments this summer that showed he can play at a high level. If he can consistently do that, he could win the job. Thew freshman to watch there is Levander Liggins. Liggins had a good start to his career at Tech this summer and should really flourish under cornerbacks coach Kevin Curtis.

Right corner
If Terry Carter can consistently play well this position should be his, but Blasher Saintvil is right on his heels to take that starting position away.

True freshman Brice Abraham is probably a guy that fans will be most surprised with. Abraham may have been lightly recruited, but he showed up in a big way this summer during the 7-on-7 scrimmages breaking up passes often.

Nickle
At the nickle position will be a battle royale between Chad Boyd and Javontay Crowe. Crowe will probably be the favorite just because he played there some during 2010 but Boyd is truly a head hunter and will do very well at this position.

Free safety
Jamel Johnson and Quinn Giles will also be in an intense battle. Johnson will be the early favorite as he ended 2010 on a high note starting at free safety for the Bulldogs. Giles is a guy that Tech has had extreme difficulty finding the right fit for him on the field. Giles was highly recruited out of Evangel Christian Academy in Shreveport but has never showed consistently why he was so highly sought after. If he can do that, Giles could become Tech's starting free safety very easily.

Walk-on true freshman Vincent Moore will probably play some special teams in 2011 for the Bulldogs and very well may earn a scholarship before his time at Tech is over. Also, redshirt freshman Conner Nichols could see playing time once he is 100% following a torn Achilles tendon in the spring.


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