Week One Impressions

Three practices is not enough to get a great gauge on how the Wildcat football team is shaping up, but it does give us a first impression. Coach Mike Stoops mentioned that he puts a lot of stock in first impressions. Here is what we've seen from the first week of camp.

Most of the positions on the team are set. There are a few great battles for the remaining spot.

QUARTERBACK: Willie Tuitama is heads and shoulders ahead of the other QB's. He can make passes and reads that the others cannot. Adam Austin has not looked his best but remains the No. 2 ahead of Tyler Lyon and Kris Heavner.

RUNNING BACK: Chris Henry and Xavier Smith are both doing their best to secure the No. 1 RB job. Henry is getting more reps and has done a nice job. No fumbles and a few big runs. Smith has looked consistent. The story of camp so far may be walk-on Chris Jennings who has been very impressive and is going to be a factor in this fight.

FULLBACK: This is Brandon Lopez's job to lose and he has been good enough to keep it but he is getting a lot of pressure from Brooks Reed and Earl Mitchell. Reed has shown the ability to catch the ball, while Mitchell will likely see the field as a blocker.

WIDE RECEIVER: Syndric Steptoe and Mike Thomas have been as advertised. They are making plays and hanging onto the ball. Where it gets interesting is the No. 3 spot. Anthony Johnson seems to be the guy still, but the three freshmen are making themselves known. Delashaun Dean, Terrell Reese and Terrell Turner have all had their moments and it is way too early to pick one over the others. Two should be able to see the field this season.

TIGHT END: Brad Wood is still the go-to guy. He's a favorite target of Tuitama. Travis Bell and Brandyn McCall have also made themselves known. It remains to be seen if any of the young guys can steal snaps, but that is partially due to the success of the FB/H-Backs.

OFFENSIVE LINE: This is the toughest one to judge because guys are not in pads yet. On top of that a few incumbent starters have been dinged up. Eben Britton has been impressive and James Tretheway has shown a willingness to mix it up. Colin Baxter has gotten his share of reps at center and that battle with Erick Levitre and Blake Kerley could be a good one.

DEFENSIVE END: We'll know a lot more about this spot when Louis Holmes gets up to speed. He's a day behind the rest of the team and will be in full pads a day later as well. Holmes, Marcus Smith and Johnathan Turner will get the bulk of the reps, with Jason Parker also seeing action. This could be a very strong unit.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE: This group already looks deep. Yaniv Barnett, Lionel Dotson, Paul Phillipp and Donald Horton give the Cats four solid defensive tackles. Guys like Conan Amituanai, Mana Mikaele and Dave Bertrand are guys who can also play if needed. The most depth in the last six or seven years.

LINEBACKERS: Spencer Larsen, Dane Krogstad and Ronnie Palmer have cemented themselves as the starters. They are just a good, solid unit. Adrian McCovy and Xavier Kelley have been very good, but not good enough to unseat the veterans.

CORNERBACK: Depth is still a concern. Antoine Cason and Wilrey Fontenot are entrenched as the starters and are far ahead of the others. Devin Ross looks solid, but the youngster has a lot to learn and has given up a few big plays against veteran receivers. The team really needs to get Michael Turner eligible to further bolster the unit. Cam Nelson and Cory Hall have gotten reps at corner backs, but their futures seem to be at safety. Walk-ons are getting quality reps.

SAFETY: Michael Johnson is the starter at strong. He has played well and shown a willingness to challenge the big boys whenever possible. The free safety battle has been a fun one to watch. Nate Ness has been very good, picking off two passes for scores. Brandon Tatum and Dominic Patrick have also played very well, but right now are behind Ness. Patrick has also been getting reps behind Marcus Hollingsworth at nickel back.

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