Coach Weis released the official depth chart for the Georgia Tech game today, and made some brief comments about some of the closer battles.
Here is the breakdown:
Quinn - Heisman trophy candidate - no surprise here.
Sharpley - Sharpley's understanding of the offense gives him an edge in the backup battle, but Coach Weis stated in his press conference that all four quarterbacks are coming to the games. He does not sound as sure of Sharpley's athletic talents.
Walker - Third year starter, and with T. Thomas moving to LB and Aldridge injured, it's no surprise that he wasn't even close to being passed on the depth chart
(T. Thomas) - Despite move to linebacker, Thomas will back up unless he is too tired.
Prince - Will backup Walker when Thomas is winded from starting at linebacker.
Schwapp - Clear #1 Starter
McConnell - If this guy sees anything but mop-up action, I'd be surprised.
Samardzija - Biletnikoff Award Candidate and Heisman darkhorse, but might be the 2nd best receiver on team
Grimes - made huge strides from last year to this year, and will be the 3rd receiver in 3 WR sets
McKnight - Possibly the best athlete on team, McKnight is poised to have a huge season with all of the attention on Samardzija
Anastasio - Came back from injury to establish himself as the 4th WR due to his experience and exceptional speed
West - This one baffles me. He is amazing with the ball in his hands, but drops too many passes (Note: Weis said he is bringing several other receivers to games as well)
Carlson \ Carlon's lead over Freeman is razor thin, and we will see many two tight
Freeman / end sets, as well as a frequent rotation between the two.
Young - A freshman starting his first game out of the gate at right tackle. This kis is a beast, and if he continues to develop during his career, may be one of the best lineman ever to come out of Notre Dame.
Duncan - He is right on the heels of Young, and may step in several times this year to give Coach Weis a chance to chew out Young for freshman mistakes.
Morton - Lost his father this week, so say some prayers for him and his family. He is one of the rocks on this offensive line.
Mattes - Mattes is actually Coach Weis' #2 guy on the entire line (besides center); Coach says he feels comfortable plugging Mattes in at any position - if Sullivan goes down, Morton would shift to center and Mattes will step in; Mattes also might step in ahead of backups at the other positions.
Sullivan - An excellent leader for this offensive line, Sully's health will be key to the success of the offensive line this season.
(Morton) - If Sullivan goes down, Morton would slide over to fill in, Chervanik is more like a 3rd stringer
Chervanick - unimpressive thus far, but apparently good enough to be in the mix
Santucci - Clear starter
Olsen - Like Chervanik, more of a 3rd stringer, as Mattes would probably step in ahead of him; he would be in if there are multiple injuries.
Harris - Clear Starter
Turkovich - I'm disappointed that Turkovich wasn't able to step it up this year; another 3rd string guy behind the roving Mattes.
Left Defensive End
Abiamiri - Needs to have a big year; is our biggest pass rush threat. We need him to be not just healthy, but at 100% all year to take some pressure off the linebackers and secondary.
Ryan or J. Brown - Much like on the O-line, if Abiamiri went down he would probably be replaced by Talley or Frome. These two are more like third stringers.
Left Defensive Tackle
Laws - A force on the inside, he will have to stay healthy and driven to keep Leitko from sneaking up on him
Leitko - Securely back in the mix at DT, Leitko will push for playing time this year.
Right Defensive Tackle
Landri - Beast, clear starter.
Kuntz - Needs some work, but wouldn't be a bad option if he's called on. He is basically the fourth guy behind Leitko.
Right Defensive End
Talley - This race at right end is neck and neck. A little surprised that Talley was listed first.
Frome - I expect these two (and so does Coach Weis) to get a similar number of snaps this year.
Vernaglia - These two are similar players, and neither one has really separated themselves. I hope somebody steps up. Still think Crum should be Sam.
Crum - Best linebacker, his talents are being wasted at Mike.
T. Smith - Had hoped that he would have won the starting Mike job as a freshman, freeing Crum to play the Sam. Disappointing.
T. Thomas - Great in coverage and contain, not so good against inside runs.
Brockington - Not really an option right now. If Thomas goes down, I'd expect either Vernaglia or M. Thomas to step in ahead of Brockington.
Wooden - I love our corners. Wooden has to be good.
Walls - 'Cause if he isn't, Walls is on his heels.
Zbikowski - Herring won't see the field. Zibby is too tough.
Herring - I hope Herring doesn't see the field too much
Ndukwe - I hope he develops a little more discipline this year. He's got the physical tools.
McCarthy or Bruton - Again, I'm not sold on the depth, but they aren't too bad.
Richardson - Again, Richardson needs to stay on top of his game.
Lambert or McNeil - I am amazed that McNeil hasn't earned a starting nod. He looked excellent in practice. I must have missed something. Lambert is no slouch either, and had a pick 6 last year.
Jansen - amazingly consistent - we don't have to worry too much about bad snaps.
Duncan - good backup, but long snappers don't get injured much.
Zbikowski - not the fastest returner I've ever seen (but still pretty darn fast), but by far the toughest and most fun to watch.
Grimes - Kid's got some moves, I expect him to spell Zibby fairly often in this role.
West - Kid's got some amazing talent with the ball in his hands. His hands are suspect, though, which is why he's not pushing Zibby right now.
Price - This kid can really boom his punts. He needs a little more work on control.
Renkes - Good leg, but very inconsistent. Needs work on technique. Big dropoff from Price.
Grimes - Good combination of speed and moves. Nothing too spectacular, though.
West - his suspect hands aren't as much of a problem on kickoffs. I expect to see him break a couple of big runs this year.
Gioa - Leads by a razor thin margin.
Burkhart - Will develop into a better kicker than D.J. was, just needs some time to develop better and more consistent technique.
Renkes - His leg got him the edge here.
Burkhart - Again, Burkhart is in the mix, just needs more time to develop.
Samardzija - best hands on the team
Sharpley - the usual role for a backup QB