Top 5 Position Battles of Fall Practice

With the season opener against Texas A&M less 10 days away, takes a look at the top five position battles taking place during fall practice.

#1. Chris Clemons vs. Sergio Gilliam (CB)
Sergio Gilliam has more experience, but Chris Clemons is the better tackler. Who wins? Coach Bowden says it won't be decided until the season opener against Texas A&M. Don't be surprised to both players on the field, but long-term, Clemons brings more to the table. He's the better form-tackler, and he has the ability to provide more of a physical presence than Gilliam. Clemons could also provide support at safety if necessary.

Edge: Chris Clemons

#2. Reggie Merriweather vs. Duane Coleman vs. James Davis vs. Kyle Browning (RB)
This quadruple threat in the backfield is the most complex battles taking place right now on the team. Merriweather's 4.9/yards per carry average last year proved he can handle the load when called upon. Coleman is the best receiving threat out of the backfield, proven by his 34 receptions two years ago. Browning has had his share of big plays, including the game-winning touchdown last year against Wake Forest, and Davis has more talent than the other three, but needs to learn the offense to see the field more. Tommy Bowden has said numerous times that all four backs will play against Texas A&M.

Edge: Reggie Merriweather

#3. Cory Groover vs. Donnell Clark vs. Rashaad Jackson (DT)
The coaching staff continues to challenge Cory Groover, who is now practicing behind Clark and Jackson on the third team at defensive tackle. Clark has been injured, but he has been the most consistent performer at the position throughout all practice. Redshirt freshman Rashaad Jackson has been touted by defensive line coach Marion Hobby has a "special talent," and should see the field extensively this season. Don't be surprised to see Groover shoot up the depth chart in the very near future, but for now, Clark gets the edge.

Edge: Donnell Clark

#4. Cory Lambert vs. Marion Dukes (RT)
Cory Lambert has been a pleasant surprise and appears to be headed toward serious playing time as a true freshman while Marion Dukes is entering his third year, his second as a fulltime starter. Dukes will get the nod against Texas A&M, but don't be surprised to see Lambert get more snaps as the season wears on. At 6-7 295 pounds, Lambert's presence on the field is hard to ignore. In addition, he reported to fall practice in surprisingly good condition after working with a personal trainer during his year away from the field.

Edge: Cory Lambert

#5. Bobby Williamson vs. Cole Downer (TE)
In somewhat of a surprise, Tommy Bowden named Cole Downer as the first-team tight end after the first the few weeks of fall practice. Downer is a big, physical target has demonstrated good hands in the spring game, and has continued to progress during fall practice. Williamson is the better athlete, but Downer's physical presence may give him the edge in terms of blocking. Don't forget, in new offensive coordinator Rob Spence's offense, multiple tight ends have the opportunity to see the field, but right now, Downer looks to start.

Edge: Cole Downer Top Stories