Sorry for the fuzzy resolution. Here's a link.
The depth chart for - at least - the Grambling game has been released. A lot of it is as expected, but there are certainly a few surprises. Some scattered thoughts:
- Stansly Maponga leads the team in starts with 25. Stansly Maponga is only a junior. This bodes well for next year's squad, not so much for this year's.
- Unless Casey Pachall goes on a 5 state murdering spree due to over exposure to drugs - not out of the realm of possibility if you listen to the media - he's in the clear. As we all learned a couple of weeks ago, backing him up will be So. Trevone Boykin who is apparently Matt Brown but with more size, speed and a bigger arm. I'd say that's some addition by subtraction. REALLY excited to see him play this year, probably in week one if the scoreboard holds to form.
- The aforementioned Brown has officially been relocated to the WR section of the depth chart, right below Skye Dawson and, even more interesting, right ahead of David Porter. Despite being almost a sure-TD every time he caught the ball last year, Porter has earned the ire of Patterson this off-season. Perhaps this is a motivational ploy? We'll see. As it stands now, after Skye inevitably drops his first TD pass, expect Brown to see some early PT.
- Early enrollee Tyler Matthews is currently sitting at 3rd on the QB depth chart, but will likely redshirt. In the unlikely case that Pachall and Boykin go down, I'd expect that situation to remain the same and Matt Brown would fill in. If it comes to that, you may as well pick a new team for the remainder of the season, though.
- Aundre Dean is penciled in at the 3rd running back spot, heavy emphasis on the PENCILED. I'd expect BJ Catalon to have every opportunity to beat him out, and I'd be stunned if he took a redshirt this season.
- The interior of the line is looking solid. Fry and Foltz are returning starters and Tausch, while moving over from Center, has size and experience. I'm not quite ready to sign off on Tayo, even with that frame, just because he's never played the position before, but I don't think we should be too terrified.
- The RT position features not one but TWO freshmen. A lot of this has to do with injuries and attrition, although it should be noted that while not on the 2 deep, James Dunbar is still on the roster. Collins and Big V have the size to maintain their own, but this is definitely a position I'd feel better about were it not Big 12, year one.
- On the other side of the ball, Maponga, Cain and Verrett are safe, but the rest all feel PRETTY wide open if you ask me. Let's take a looksee:
- DT1: Freshman Davion Pierson is penciled in as the starter while David Johnson is down with an injury. Johnson was pretty impactful as a freshman with seven tackles for loss and 3 sacks, so unless Pierson blows the balls off of opposing linemen, expect the position to be up for grabs once Johnson is healthy.
- DT2: Jon Lewis. I believe this is where DJ Yendrey would've started had his college career not literally gone up in smoke. However, with as good as Lewis and current backup Chucky Hunter are, it's entirely possible that he would've been beaten out anyway. Both players started games as true freshman last year - a rarity in the Patterson era - so they have experience. Lewis is the man for now, but Hunter is a 305 pound beast in the middle. Expect a good rotation of the two with the starting spot being more ceremonial than anything.
- RE: I think we all expect great things from Devonte Fields... but to start as a true freshman? Over a Sr. in Ross Forrest - I swear he's been here for 8 years - and expected breakout Matt Anderson? I'm not sure how to feel. At all. On the one hand, Fields has been all sorts of lauded by the staff during practices and who am I to say someone hasn't earned their spot? On the other, he's at least 25 pounds underweight and a freshman. I worry. This is your OFFICIAL "talk me off the ledge, guys" bullet point for this post.
- I've become numb to our linebacker depth at this point. Cain is firmly entrenched, and I feel a lot better about Paul Dawson since he is a JUCO. But other than that? In Randy Shannon we trust... Let's just move on.
- Let's just take the secondary as a whole here. Verrett, fine. Jonathan Anderson, haven't heard a TON about him this summer, but I think we can all agree that if he plays the way he did last year we will be just fine. Sam Carter is the starter at SS, but I'm not sure he stays there. We'll all remember how he won the starting role during practice and then promptly lost it after the Baylor game. Derrick Kindred and Jordan Moore, both freshmen, have been getting LOTS of love from the staff recently, but are clearly not ready to step up. Again, could be a motivational ploy, but if either of those guys get it together, Carter better watch his back. FS looks like a crapshoot and I'm not sure I want to talk about it. And then there's Kevin White. Kevin, good luck and all, but you're going to get thrown at about 75 times a game. Let's up his conditioning regimen.
So, all that said...
- Positions you should feel good about: QB, RB, C, RG, TE, All WR, LE, SLB, CB1, PR, KR.
- Positions you wouldn't be concerned about if we still played in the MWC, but should worry about at least a little this year: LT, LG, DT2, MLB, FS, SS, WS, K, P.
- Positions where you should hide the women and children and head for the hills every Saturday: RT, DT1, RE CB2.