I finally got a few minutes to myself today, and got to listen to Coach Weis' press conferences from spring practice. Based upon his observations and comments, here's how I feel about our team at this point.
First and foremost, our running backs are scary good. James Aldridge is a bruising back with a second gear. Armando Allen doesn't look like a freshman. Junior Jabbie is impressive. And that's just the young'uns. Travis Thomas is moving back to running back full time, and is penciled in as the starter, but the depth here is very very very good.
Weis knows better than to give any hints about the quarterback battle. Each of the four scholarship QBs get one week at #1, and Coach Weis will whittle it down to 2 after spring practice is over. Even cleverly crafted questions are being deflected, and Weis is as tight lipped about this as anything.
Only the captains are safe. Carlson is our tight end. Zibby is our safety and punt returner. Sully is our center. Laws is a starting defensive end. Mo Crum is a starting ILB. Everything else is up for discussion. Everything.
Burkhart is still struggling to develop any confidence in the mind of the coaches, being passed for now on the depth chart by a walk-on kicker, NAte Whitaker. Unsurprisingly, Geoff Price will continue to handle the punting duties.
Wide receiver isn't looking so good. Grimes' experience places him in the lead. West has looked good so far. Everyone else is in "the pack." My dark horse favorite, D.J. Hord, has looked rusty. It's still to early to tell with him until someone knocks the rust off. Literally.
Our defensive line, after Laws, needs some time to develop. Stewart is still early in the learning process, and nobody else seems to stand apart.
Inside linebacker competition isn't as close as I'd hoped. We have solid starters (Crum, Brockington) and then the guys fighting for second. The reports of Toryan Smith's ascension may have ben exaggerated.
Outside linebacker is a mess. Vernaglia looks good, but the rest is unclear.
The secondary is very good and very deep, but after Zibby, we are still looking for people to grab onto the other starting positions.
Offensive line is shaping up fairly solidly. Weis claims that the starting lineup isn't set yet, but it looks to me from his comments that our lineup (from right tackle to left tackle) will be:
Young Wenger Sullivan Olsen Turkovitch
Allen and West are both competing at kick returner, but Zibby is far and away the best punt returner. And Zibby likes it that way.
Most importantly, these kids look like they are having fun.