The logjam at quarterback thinned out a little more this week. Last week saw Dominic Goodman moved from quarterback to receiver. This week David Wess made a position switch to free safety. Both position changes had one thing in common. They were made in an effort to put UC's best athletes on the field.
Wess had been the #3 option at quarterback behind Dustin Grutza and Nick Davila, but Coach Dantonio talked to David a couple days ago about his chances at quarterback, and both agreed a position change was in David's and the team's best interest. David explained, "Coach Dantonio came to me in a respectful manner and told me that he didn't feel I'd have enough opportunities at quarterback since I hadn't been there long enough to learn the system. He felt now was a good time to move me and give me enough time to learn the defense at free safety."
Moving from offense to defense can't be easy since David will need to learn an entirely new set of plays, responsibilities and terminology. That fact wasn't lost on David. "It's been difficult. The hardest part is when the offense goes in motion. I'm doing okay when the offense is in a base set." Despite the growing pains of learning a new position, David sees some advantages to the switch. "At quarterback I was always worried about doing well and impressing Coach Enos. They thought I was a good quarterback. I just didn't have enough time. Over here (safety) I can just relax and play the position and have fun."
I had to ask David about his initiation to the defense on Friday when he tried to tackle Brent Celek in the open field. Celek delivered a blow that knocked David down and separated him from his mouthpiece. After we both stopped laughing, David replied, "Yeah I remember that play. He broke a strap on the side of my helmet. I hadn't tackled him before so I wasn't sure how to go about it. I basically kind of caught him, and he ran me over." David was quick to add that it was a learning experience. "I learned that I need to use my legs more. When I tackle, I need to drive through the player." Especially when that player is a 260 pound tight end.
In the spring, Coach Dantonio identified Wess as one of the best athletes on the team. He's also one of the squad's hardest workers. Strength coach, Tim Swanger, confirmed both points. "David Wess is a great kid. He's gone from 198 pounds to 217 pounds since he's gotten here. He benches 325 pounds and runs a 4.57 forty." BCI found David in the weight room on his only day off. It's not uncommon for David to use his "free" time either in the weight room or watching film.
Switching positions and going from offense to defense half way through training camp makes it difficult for David to earn a starting spot before the opener against Eastern Michigan, but David still has goals. "Right now I'm one of the #2 safeties, and I plan to play in that game. But I don't know about starting. I just know I plan to continue to run to the football and learn the defense. Those guys that are starting (Haruki Nakamura and Dominic Ross) are doing pretty good so my plan is to play in the game. I don't know about starting."
A guy with David Wess's ability and work ethic will be tough to keep off the field.