Tight end Cole Bennett, who had already graduated, also decided to come back for another season following a medical redshirt in 2006, which created a log jam at the position. Michael Goggans, who would have been the fourth option, was then moved to defensive end and is having a solid spring at the new position.
"I made the move right after the bowl game," Goggans explains of his switch to defense. "I talked to coach (Terry) Price and he told me that we needed a little help at defensive end, and I told him I'd be able to do that. I want to get playing time and get on the field. Right now I'm backing up Quentin Groves and everything is coming pretty good so far."
Antonio Coleman, who played weakside linebacker last season, was moved to strongside to start opposite Groves.
Goggans is shown against true freshman tight end Brent Slusher in spring drills.
"I spent time between tight end and defensive end," Goggans says of his prep career at Benjamin Russell High School "I have a good feel for the defensive side of the ball and it came back naturally to me when I went back to the defensive side.
"I just have to get my technique and everything back down," he adds. "I feel pretty comfortable out there."
Goggans, who currently checks in at 258 pounds, would have been a blocking specialist on the offensive side of the ball, but he says he has the mentality better suited for defense.
"I love contact," he explains. "It's a collision sport and it's all about making contact. I have a nose for the ball and I just like to get after it.
"I would say right now I'm starting to like defense more," Goggans continues. "At one time I thought I knew everything about tight end and that would be my specialty, but now that I'm on the defensive side of the ball I know all of the calls and everything. It's coming along pretty good."
Goggans showed that love for contact in Tuesday morning's practice in a fight, which was actually more of a wrestling match, with offensive lineman Bart Eddins.
The redshirt freshman defensive end showed a quick first step and got into the backfield several times in the Tigers' first scrimmage of the spring on Saturday. He was one of the defensive highlights in the scrimmage, but says he needs to be more consistent at the new position.
"The hardest part so far is learning the playbook," Goggans says. "I was kind of behind coming over late, but I think I came in and adjusted pretty well. I feel real comfortable about how I did on Saturday. I've got some things to work on as far as my pass rushing moves, but I think I played the run pretty good and did okay.
"I made a couple of mistakes like stepping inside and getting reached by the tight end," he adds. "That was a big mistake and they ran outside of me a couple of times. That's just something I have to work on."