NEWS & NOTES
TB: Frank Gore vs. Tyrone Moss
Gore is 10 months removed from a torn ACL and is improving each day with his running ability. His speed has picked up, but now you are seeing more instinctive cuts as he goes through the hole. He has been limited in his practice availability because the team wants him ready for the opener. Moss has been much improved in his pass protection drawing praise from the straightforward running backs coach Don Soldinger. Soldinger doesn't sugarcoat things and has stated he has been very pleased with Moss. He also has shown good speed through the holes and rarely gets tackled for a loss.
Outlook: Gore will be the starter if the coaches truly believe he is completely healthy.
FB: Kyle Cobia vs. Talib Humphrey
This is one of those battles where it will depend upon injuries. The fullback position takes a constant toll on the body and Cobia is the perfect example of that. It is a very under appreciated position and not everyone can be successful at it. Humphrey got the early reps with the first unit and lately Cobia has been in there more. Cobia has shown surprisingly shown good speed after the catch and appears to be healthy other than a few nicks. Humphrey is an athlete at the fullback position that can get positive yards when asked to carry the ball.
Outlook: Humphrey appears to be the leader.
LG: Derrick Morse vs. Tony Tella vs. Tyler McMeans
Tella was the starter in the spring and up until now, but has since moved to right tackle to spell the ailing Rashad Butler who is battling an ankle injury. Morse and McMeans are aggressive guards—something you like to see at that position. Morse has stepped in and is doing a good job with the first unit. McMeans is currently the second-team right guard and one would think he would get more reps at left guard on the second unit if he were truly in the mix. But, don't count him out. He is a tough player and is consistently improving.
Outlook: Tella will get his position back as soon as Butler returns.
DE: Javon Nanton vs. Bryan Pata
Nanton added nearly 25 pounds to his frame in the off-season in hopes of making himself an every-down player. He is working hard on the right side going up against Eric Winston each day. It has been tough for him to get any real production out there because Winston is a monster. If Pata can shake off a bothersome ankle he will make a huge impact this year. He is up to 275 pounds, but has good speed on the outside. He is currently the second-team left end, but could make the switch to the other side as the starter.
Outlook: I expect Pata to start against Florida State.
MLB: Leon Williams vs. Jon Beason
This is the biggest position battle on the team. Williams is a junior from Brooklyn who has patiently waited to start behind Jonathan Vilma. Beason joined the team last year as a safety before moving to fullback early in fall practices. He made the switch to middle linebacker in the spring and has improved ever since. He has drawn constant raves from head coach Larry Coker and is making plays on defense. Williams currently is playing on the first team, but Beason is right on his tail.
Outlook: When there is smoke there is fire. Look for Beason to start in the opener.
RCB: Kelly Jennings vs. Glenn Sharpe vs. Marcus Maxey
Only recently has this been a battle since made it aware by Coker. Jennings appears to be the easy choice since he has the most experience of the three. Sharpe is coming off an ACL injury and has looked a bit loose on his coverage at times. Maxey is the one to watch. He reminds me of Alfonso Marshall, but bigger. He is a tough kid who has been shutting down people.
Outlook: I think Coker is pulling our chain and Jennings will be the starter.
A lot can change over the next 17 days and it will be fun to watch the coaching staff pull the right triggers.
Christopher Stock is a Staff Writer for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at email@example.com
The Friday Stock Report – 8/20
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