The defense in particular has seen plenty of winter shuffles. Only time--specifically, the 15 practice days spread between March 7 and April 9—will show if these moves are merely experiments or permanent placements, and if changed Dogs end up back in their original slots. For certain, it will make for a most interesting and potentially entertaining camp.
The Bulldogs are generally healthy going into spring training with only a handful not at full strength after winter corrective surgeries. These include OT James Redmond, DE Jeremy Jones, DE Stephen Arant, and LB Titus Brown. All are still expected to participate to at least some extent in camp.
OFFENSE--‘*' marks returning 2004 starters
Right Tackle: JR James Cochran; JR Erik Watkins; JR/TR James Redmond
Redmond is expected to win the spot when fully-recovered from a minor, unspecified injury.
Right Guard: JR Donovan Davis, rFR Anthony Strauder, SO Royce Blackledge
Time for Davis to step it up. Strauder moved over from DT last October, and the staff must like the depth here to move Otis Riddley to LG.
Center: *SR Chris McNeil, SR Avery House, rFR Dio Herrera
McNeil should thrive as a senior. Herrera has a future, but in a pinch Brian Anderson would snap.
Left Guard: *JR Brian Anderson, SR Johnny Wadley, JR Otis Riddley
Anderson will also practice at center. Moving Riddley from RG looks like a spring test.
Left Tackle: JR Brad Weathers, rFR Roland Terry, rFR Jeffrey Farr
2002 starter Weathers has always been a guard, but this is a good test after two years-off. Terry has potential, and good to see Farr getting healthy.
Tight End: *SO Eric Butler, JR Blake Pettit, SO Jason Husband, SR Britt Cross
Great potential here as the startesr are still young but already experienced. Husband a bit slow at WR, might find a job as extra TE.
Split End: *SR Tee Milons, SO Joey Sanders, SO Jonathan Lowe, SO Lance Long
Flanker/Wide Reciever: *JR Will Prosser, rFR Keon Humphries, SO Tyler Threadgill, rFR Jamayel Smith
We know what the vets can do. This spring is when we get to find out what younger speedsters Lowe and Humphries can add to a unit that will be under a microscope all camp.
Quarterback: *JR Omarr Conner, rFR Michael Henig, SR Brett Morgan
The spring is for teaching, fall for competition when new QBs arrive. But whoa there, Henig is still a freshman? Hmmm, gotta make a phone call tomorrow.
Fullback: *JR Bryson Davis, SO Dezmond Sherrod
With a logjam at tight end Sherrod gets a chance to add depth at fullback before fall rookies arrive. Carlton Rice is back at LB.
Halfback: *SR Jerious Norwood, rFR Brandon Thornton, rfR Demarcus Johnson, SR Derek Ambrose, SO Kentrel Brooks
Norwood needs little spring work (and contact), but redshirts Thornton and Johnson do to develop depth.
DEFENSE—‘*' marks returning 2004 starters
Defensive End: *JR Michael Heard, rFR Solomon Ono, rFR Jeremy Jones
With Deljuan Robinson getting a spring-look at tackle, Heard has the top job to himself. Keep an eye on Jones.
Defensive Tackle: *JR Deljuan Robinson, SO Avery Hannibal, rFR Mike Evans
It's Robinson's bulk vs. Hannibal's agility and meaner streak.
Nose Tackle: *JR Andrew Powell, SO Corey Clark, JR Markell McKinley
Powell was a good young DT, and might be better on the nose. Clark needs to make a push right now.
Defensive End: *SR Willie Evans, SR Rob Walker, JR Stephen Arant
Evans is a sure thing, Walker can be a big(ger) help at end.
Middle Linebacker: *JR Quinton Culberson, JR Brad Horton, SR Rico Bennett
So, QC is getting a look in the middle this March? Does this signal a shift in game tactics?
Strongside Linebacker: *SO Gabe O'Neal, SR Clarence McDougal, SR Terrence Beaman
Culberson moves inside, O'Neal goes outside. Doesn't matter, both will find the ball.
Weakside Linebacker: rFR Anthony Littlejohn, rFR Fred Akines, *SO Titus Brown
Littlejohn gets to show why the staff was so high on him last fall. Akines brings speed at 205 pounds.
Strong Safety: JR Jeramie Johnson, SO Jonathan Hill, SR Marcus Evans
Even if Darren Williams hadn't been let go, Johnson might have won the job anyway. And a few of the LBs could always play here in backup.
Free Safety: *SO Mario Bobo, rFR De'Mon Glanton, Jr Adrian Griffin
Bobo started at corner, and Griffin would have last fall if eligible. Now they'll get a look at safety, which might say more for what the staff thinks of the young corners.
Left Cornerback: *SR Kevin Dockery, SR Jamaal Johnson, SR Marcus Evans
Right Cornerback: *JR David Heard, FR Keith Fitzhugh, rFR Corey Spells
Now why do I suspect that by fall Fitzhugh and Spells will find places to play even if they don't take starting jobs on the corners?