I'm still trudging through my last minute position previews and Georgia Tech preview postings, but I thought I'd take a couple of minutes to discuss the release of the official depth chart.
A couple things worth noting:
(1) Darin Walls beat out returning starter Ambrose Wooden for the left cornerback slot. This bodes very well for our secondary, as it means that Walls has improved enough to beat out Wooden, a solid cover corner with tons of experience (despite the bad rap he often gets from fans). Walls is the real deal at corner, and has some experience of his own at nickel and dime from last year. The younger, higher rated athletes are starting to win some of these positional battles. This team has more raw athletic talent than any Irish team of the past decade.
(2) Duval Kumara, despite the hype many online pundits placed on him, is in fact a freshman receiver, and won't be seeing as much playing time as other people thought - he's buried at the bottom of the depth chart. In fact, all of the freshman are buried at the bottom of the depth chart on offense and defense (except Clausen, 'cause nobody knows what's going on with the QB's outside the locker room). But, they are ON the depth chart, a testament to the athletcsm they bring to the table. Freshman most likely to see considerable playing time: Ian Williams (DT), Matt Romine and Taylor Dever (OT), Armando Allen (RB), Kerry Neal and Brian Smith (OLB)
(3) At kick returner, we have two true freshman starting - Golden Tate and Armando Allen. We may be holding our breath every time we receive a kickoff, praying for no freshman mistakes, but this is the clearest example of how Coach Weis' recruiting is paying off in increased athletic ability. Kick returners, more than any other position, must have speed first and foremost - that two freshman are providing that speed bodes very well for the future of the program.
(4) We STILL don't have a kicker or kickoff specialist. Also, wth the rule change, not only will we have to hold our breath during field goals, but we'll have to hold it during kickoffs, as they will rarely make it to the endzone. I'm not sure how to remedy this problem - maybe we should go after the country's best kicking coach or something this offseason.
[As a side note, my r and i keys are slightly malfunctioning, so please forgive me if I make some typographical and spelling errors as a result]