With this, I want to take a way too early look at what we could see in the fall. I am going to look at EVERY player, so some of these guys won't be here for the spring. This is a preliminary look, so a TON could change in the next 6 months. Alright, taking a look at the offense, there are a few big question marks, especially at QB and the offensive line. We lose the following players in the 2-deep:
QB Nick Florence
RG Cameron Kaufhold
RG Jake Jackson
C Ivory Wade
WR Lanear Sampson
WR Terrance Williams
WR Darryl Stonum
RB Jarred Salubi
The two big holes and most difficult spots to fill both resided on the offensive line. Right Guard and Center are going to be an interesting battle in the Spring and Fall, especially Right Guard. With both 2-deep players gone, and the Bears missing out on a junior college player to come in and fill the spot, the Bears will have to lean on the development on either a project player, or ask one of their tackles to slide inside. On the center position, there are still questions about whether Tyler Edwards will make it to Baylor. Right now, I am not counting on that happening.
I have also put some of the freshman that I think will have a chance to break the 2-deep. Most of the class will redshirt, and even some of the players below I think will redshirt unless injuries happen, or an excellent performance in camp changes the coach's minds. So with that all said, let's take a look at the way too early 2013 offensive depth chart.
Starter- Bryce Petty
Backups - Seth Russell, Chris Johnson (REDSHIRT?)
QB will always be the big question mark anytime there is an opening, but to me, I just trust Briles to get someone to at least a good level there. I mean, what is the worst QB Briles has had in college, Kevin Kolb? Case Keenum? Nick Florence? RG3? I mean wow. I do think Petty will win the job, but Russell will give him a run for his money. I also expect Johnson to redshirt, unless something real bad happens.
Starter - Lache Seastrunk / Glasco Martin
Backups - Devin Chafin, Johnny Jefferson (REDSHIRT?)
I am putting both as starters, because they pretty much are. They are going to the two backs hopefully getting 99% of the carries. We don't have a lot of depth behind these two, with Chafin coming off of a redshirt year. B.J. Allen would have been here, but moved to CB. Jefferson has a TON of talent and I think could be great, but with two guys coming back that can BOTH be 1,000 yard rushers next year (you heard it here first), he should redshirt.
Starters – Antwan Goodley and Robbie Rhodes
I was not a big fan of Goodley at the outside wide receiver position entering the spring game last year. He looks like a running back out there in terms of his build. His performance this year changed my mind though, as he was quick enough on those quick plays to the outside to make something happen. Plus his power helped him run over some poor helpless defensive backs and also make him a very good blocker as well. Joining him on the outside is the 5-star recruit that Coach Briles has to be drooling over to get into the lineup. Rhodes is a special talent and one that has all the skills to start from day one.
Jay Lee could give either a great challenge, as he has the prototypical size you would normally want on the outside, but I think he needs a year to get more reps and get more comfortable in the offense. Hawthorne and Moore will probably just represent depth next year, and I am not expecting either to seriously challenge for a starting job.
With both returners coming back, this should be an easy decision. But if any one remembers what Corey Coleman did 2 years ago in high school, you can squint your eyes and see him possibly moving Norwood to the outside, who at 6-1 might have the tools for that if Rhodes isn't ready from the start. Both Fuller and Linwood will be decent depth options on the inside as well. Outside of running back and the tackle spots, this is probably the position on offense you feel the best about.
Starter - Jordan Najvar
Backups – Jerrod Monk, Gus Penning
Another position with a returning starter, this one also gets a boost from the return of Jerrod Monk, granted another year due to a medical scholarship for last years shortened campaign. While the tight end position has not been an emphasis in the passing game under Briles, the Bears have three excellent tight ends that. Najvar and Monk are both capable blockers and pass catchers, while Penning comes in as more of a threat in the passing game.
Starter – Stefan Huber
Backups- Kyle Fuller
Huber was the backup last year to Ivory Wade and played in every game for the Bears, mostly on special teams. He is going to be given a very large role, and really is the only natural center on the roster that I see. Behind him, I honestly have no idea. One guy that I would like to see get a shot is Kyle Fuller, someone that I think has the quickness and smarts to play that spot.
You could make a case that the two guard positions both feature the best player on offense and possibly the weakest or at least biggest question mark. Cyril Richardson was one of the best linemen in the Big 12 and probably the country. He is a rock in the middle and the type of lineman that you can build around. On the right side, is a big question mark, one that was made larger and more important with the late decommitment of Dionte Savage, a junior college player that could have stepped into this spot.
There are a bunch of options for this position. They could stick with McGowan or Hilliard or even give true freshman Porter a serious look as well. I think that for the second year in a row, the Bears spin a tackle down to guard, this time with Tory Baker making the move inside. Baker started last year at right tackle and it makes sense to me to move him inside given his strength and size. I do think Maurice Porter won't redshirt and will give the Bears some great depth on the inside.
Starters – Spencer Drango (Left), Kevin Palmer (Right)
Backups –Pat Colbert, Tre'Von Armstead
With both starters from last year returning, you wouldn't expect there to be changes to the tackle position, but with the hole at the right guard spot, it opens up the right tackle spot for Kevin Palmer, who played well at times last year at the tackle position and a guy I think is ready for a larger role in his senior campaign. Colbert played quite a bit last year as an extra lineman or blocking tight end and with some added weight could be ready for a larger role at the tackle spot. Armstead is coming off of his redshirt year and could be a big contributor in the future, though I think he needs a little more time.