As with every other spring, I like to caution folks to not read very much into anything written about particular players, because it is just spring. We've had 4 time All-Spring-Americans who havent done squat come August and September, so keep that in mind when you see someone gushing over a hit they saw put on someone, or the stats that are inflated against a pitifully thin secondary that will be forced to play true freshman against UGA.
This year's spring has been particularly quiet on my end. I haven't had a chance to talk to many who have been at practice to really say what is going on with the team. Dabo and "Coach" Munson have put everything on lockdown so all you end up getting his his spewing of superlatives about players. We did hear some stuff about the first scrimmage this past week though.
- Hot Rod has basically taken the first string slot, as we expected. He's going to end up in a by-committee approach come fall when Dye and others get here though, because he's not big enough to handle the carries at 190lbs. Morris has laid the law down to them all on getting better or losing carries to the freshmen this fall. I do suspect he and Howard will get the majority until the others learn how to block better.
Zac Brooks has been told to gain weight and is working on it still, now at 190 with the goal of 200 this August. His ability to catch the ball and be a threat in space is a plus working in his favor, but he still needs to work on his consistency and picking up blitzes.
- One thing I've heard from several is the abilities of early enrollee TE Jordan Leggett. I am not sure he'll be ahead of Jay Jay McCullough this August just based on knowledge of the system, but he may end up taking snaps away from the other flex TE/WR tweener, Seckinger. Word is that the LBs are having a hard time covering him. Leggett is a receiving TE and won't take Sam Cooper's spot as a line TE anytime soon. If he can continue this in fall he may avoid a RS.
- Most have been fairly happy with the progress of the OL. As of now, Ryan Norton is starting at Center with Guillermo backing him up, and both have done well. Shatley is cemented at RG, with Brandon Thomas taking more snaps at RT than LT, where Battle has done more of the work. Battle's consistency is his only real problem. I know others have told him that he has the talent to end up a very high NFL pick, if he chooses to commit himself. Eric MacLain is backing up Battle at LT.
- Not much glowing positivity has come out about some of the other backups, like Region or Kalon Davis. I believe Kalon can be a help behind Beasley, but I'm losing hope on Region. If these guys cannot get in better shape when the heat gets here, I don't think they're going to go any further than they currently are, and the surplus numbers on the OL will disappear.
- Stoudt and Kelly are in a serious battle for the #2 spot. Kelly's speed and the ability to run the ZR are working for him, but Stoudt knows the passing game better and is executing there at a higher level.
- I have heard very little about the starting WRs, other than that Sammy is back to his old self and is working more on the boundary 9 spot that Nuk owned. This opens up PT for the 2-backs behind him, namely Germone Hopper. Bryant has reportedly stepped up and gotten more serious about football and academics.
- Starting LBs today would probably still consist of Shuey, Anthony, and Christian. However, Kellen Jones is pushing hard at WLB. It appears no one will be pushed into the SAM spot to create competition for Quandon, which I find very disappointing. He has looked fine so far though. I do not believe Shuey has the speed to play outside against the pass and if anything should be backing up Anthony instead of Goodson. Personally my thought is that if Jones is fast enough he should go over to SAM and press QC.
- Tony Steward hyperextended his knee last week and was held out, he's still working just WILL. His weight is down now to the 230 range.
- In the secondary, the feeling is that Blanks has added serious ability to the back end. His presence there has improved the back of the defense a great deal, though they are very thin. Robert Smith will man the SS spot and has also done well, though I personally have my doubts. This will be something I key on in the spring game in 2 weeks.
- Darius Robinson and Breeland are starting CBs as expected, with Jenkins still limited due to his injury.
- Mike Hamlin is back as a GA.