Will those evaluations be harder this year? "Hard meaning because we have a lot of people fighting for positions that are athletic and could be factors for us this year? Yeah, it is hard that way, but that's a nice problem and kind of fun as opposed to when we were just hunting for bodies," Petri said.
Petri says he cannot say who has impressed him the most so far. "It's unfair to name names. Every day someone new impresses me. Someone may not impress me as much one day as the next. But every day is good. I would like to see someone consistently impress me, but that's hard. Right now we are looking at everyone and finding out who can push through and make the most of his opportunities," Petri said.
Freshmen Corey Peters, Josh Minton and Jamil Paris have been impressive enough that there has been no talk yet of redshirting them. "Right now we are just talking about who makes us the best team and best defensive line," Petri said.
The two players who made the biggest impression during spring practice, tackle Myron Pryor and end Dominic Lewis, have continued to play well even though Pryor has been limited by a toe injury. "We've seen a little more of Dominic than Myron. Myron is fighting through it. When he feels a little better, you see that old explosiveness. Both those guys have picked up where they left off. It's nothing serious with Myron. Just something that kind of hurts and slows him down."
Pryor's injury along with a minor injury to Jason Leger, another returning veteran tackle, has given more playing time to sophomore Ventrell Jenkins. "He is doing a little better. With Jason out, it gives him more snaps and he has taken advantage. He always plays with a lot of energy. I never worry about that. He flies around and makes plays. He is a guy who always comes to work. I never worry about getting on his effort. He is very blue-collar, but he has playmaking ability."
So do Lamar Mills, Ricky Abren, Jeremy Jarmon, Durrell White and Ni Adjei Oninku. That's why Petri has to feel so much better about the line than he did a year ago when an injuries to Mills, Abren and others left the Cats almost defenseless up front.
"We are looking for productive snaps. Everyone on defense wants to make plays or they wouldn't be playing. Or you hope they want to make plays. They want to be out there making sacks and causing fumbles. If you are fresh, you can fly around, play with quickness and do that."