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roster rumblings

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Roster rumblings | by Pat


Spring practice is nearing the halfway point so let's take a minute and do a quick recap. As you can expect from mostly closed practices, information isn't exactly flowing out but from the online spring prospectus and the various media stories there are still some items worth noting.


Moving On


The big news every spring is attrition and this year the program has lost two players, in addition to tight end Joey Hiben. Defensive back Labrose Hedgemon has transfered from Notre Dame and will be playing football next fall at Jackson State. Former defensive back turned running back Junior Jabbie has also left the team, but at last official announcement is still enrolled at Notre Dame. Both players seemed buried a bit on the depth chart at positions seeing an influx of numbers and talent in the fall.


Number Games


Perhaps only interesting to me, there didn't seem to be any number changes this spring. Usually the younger players will grab the numbers once held by graduating seniors but for whatever reason, that didn't happen this year. Maybe no one wanted to change, but I also think that Weis held back certain numbers for incoming recruits (e.g. #21 for Barry Gallup) Again, not something that's terribly important, just something I noticed.


Picture This


The South Bend Tribune has a online photo gallery from the past few practices. Plenty of excellent pictures and, while I'm at it, kudos to the Trib for deciding to put out photo galleries from various Irish athletic events and keep them up for longer than a week.


Open practice


Weis opened up an entire practice to the media last weekend and some hints about the up-for-grabs right tackle and linebacker spots came out. Irish Eyes has a great free rundown on the practice and the first and second teams shown at practice, but we'll just focus on the aforementioned key position battles.


At right tackle, Paul Duncan got the starting nod with Brian Mattes on the first team at right guard. I wouldn't read too much into that as this battle won't likely be won until August. Mattes has the experience advantage while Duncan and Turkovich seem to offer a bit more size. Should be an interesting battle, especially once Sam Young gets thrown into the mix.


Linebacker seems to be shaping up a bit, but injuries are limiting some of the likely starters to only spot duty right now. For the media open practice, Maurice Crum and Joe Brockington sat out so the first team of linebackers was Steve Quinn at outside linebacker, Mitchell Thomas in the middle, and Anthony Vernaglia at Apache. The second team was outside backer Scott Smith Nick Borseti manning the middle, and Kevin Washington at Apache.


From the sounds of things, it sounds like Crum on the inside with Brockington and Vernaglia on the outside is the likely starting lineup in the fall. That's a really fast linebacking corp, but not much size. Then again, I'd rather have experience in the middle of the defense helping communication than the size that someone like incoming freshman Toryan Smith provides. (Feel free to clip, save, and throw this back in my face at some point in the season.)


Random bits


• It seems nearly everyone is getting a shot to try returning kicks. Terrail Lambert and George West seem to be getting plenty of reps, but I think the kick return positions are far from being filled. I imagine once the rest of the freshman show up they will all get a look too.


• Evan Sharpley just might be emerging as the backup to Quinn at QB. Practice reports have him getting the bulk of the snaps between the backups.


• Weis said in his most recent press conference that for last year's coaching clinic, over 600 high school coaches showed up for the weekend. This year's clinic, which will take place this weekend, has over 1000 coaches showing up. That can't hurt future recruiting.


posted by Pat @ 7:00 AM | Permalink Comments (7) | Trackback



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