2008 Cats putting versatility on display

KSR's Lonny Demaree discusses position changes with Matt Lentz, A.J. Nance and E.J. Adams; and talks about the versatility the Cats are displaying this spring.

As the football team expands itself in quality numbers, it becomes more versatile as it relates to position changes. Changes that enable them to get the best twenty-two on the field and take advantage of the talent the team has been able to build up. For instance, last season the replacement of a center was needed and Rich Brooks move journeyman Eric Scott into the position. That move benefited the team as well as Scott. Scott is now being looked at as a pro prospect at that position.

Another significant case was the move of Zip Duncan from tight end to offensive guard. The year before was the move of Dominic Lewis to defensive end.

Brooks evaluated his squad and saw the need to make 2008 changes. He moved E.J. Adams from cornerback to wide receiver. Redshirt quarterback Matt Lentz was moved to safety. A.J. Nance from linebacker to fullback. Upon the initial move, Brooks said these moves were in the test mode. After four practice sessions, he pronounced them permanent. This type of versatility is facilitated by growth of quality numbers on the roster.

"All three guys that we moved last week have impressed me," Brooks said. "Lentz made some plays today (Monday) at safety. Nance is doing some good things at fullback and E.J. did some good thing at receiver. It looks like those moves are here to stay."

It appears that Ventrell Jenkins will play a lot of defensive end this season, especially in light of Jamil Paris having to give up football, and Jeremy Jarmon sitting out most of the spring after having a knee scoped for loose cartilage. "Ventrell Jenkins has moved out there and has looked very good and I think he will be a force for us at defensive end."

A.J. Nance was asked if he like the move.

"Yeah, I like it so for," he said with a curious grin. "It's not as bad as I thought it was going to be. It's pretty much the same to me."

What was the nature of the apprehension?

"Looking at it from the defensive standpoint, we use to love taking on fullbacks and blowing them up but it's not as painful as I thought would be."

What about the natural aggression of defense that translates to the offensive side of the ball? Does this benefit him?

"Yeah, but it's a little bit different because you have to start working on getting your body positioned differently, and getting inside out blocks - things like that. I think offense is a little bit more mental than defense but at the end of the day, it's still going in there and banging somebody."

The modern day fullback in most offenses is used primarily as a blocker and a pass catcher out of the backfield. He has, at this point, taken to the position like a duck to water. He said he played tight end in high school and can catch the ball well. This move creates another flexibility situation for the possibility to get Maurice Grinter on the field at tight end.

Joker Phillips said that E.J. Adams is a smart kid and understands coverages having been a DB.

"He knows how to practice," said Phillips. "The younger receivers (Kyrus Lanxter and Anthony Mosley) are still learning how to practice."

Matt Lentz, after getting his introduction Saturday in live scrimmage action by being bowled over by Moncell Allen, had an interception in practice Monday. The quarterback to safety transition in college football has historically had a high success rate.

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