Spring Practice Report Card: FB

Ryan Bass grades spring practice position by position, today he looks at the fullbacks.


Depth Chart: Mike Matthews, Brian Johnson, Jimmy Dixon (INJ), Jonathan Jackson (INJ), Kyle Pupello

Speaking of positions that had concerns as we entered spring practice, the Fullback position had many question marks about who could be counted on.

Jonathan Jackson was already out recovering from a brutal injury where he fractured and dislocated his ankle on a punt return against Duke late in the season. Jimmy Dixon was going to concentrate solely on the Fullback position but was hurt early in spring and had to sit out the rest of the practices.

That left us with Brian Johnson to carry the load. The coaches thought about moving Johnson to TE before spring, but it became apparent that it wouldn't be possible to make that kind of move. Johnson, while not breathtaking, had a solid camp and proved capable of making solid blocks and showed off his soft hands in the passing game.

The Fullback position got an extra injection of hope for the future when Mike Matthews moved over there after being a DE in his first season as well as half of spring camp. Having played some offense in high school, Mike made the transition fairly easy. His unusually large frame (6-4, 275) for a FB made him a force in pass protection but his agility makes him a weapon in the passing game.

Sometimes he showed good hands, other times not, but I think he'll get even better the longer he plays there. In just a few practices he was able to pass Johnson and move onto the first team. I think Matthews has the potential to hold down that position for sometime if he continues to play well and improve.

We finally have two bodies at FB that are not built like converted Tailbacks. Hopefully Jackson & Dixon will return healthy and give us several options to throw at defenses come fall. If not, we might see some true freshman help from the likes of Kyle Pupello.

Kyle was originally recruited as a LB but with Nick Moore re-committing on signing day, a move to FB for Kyle seems more likely.

Grade: C+

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