The Real Position Battles in 2005 - Part 2

The loss of 2 veteran players has Northwestern fans scratching their heads, wondering who will finally play where, but Center and Right Corner aren't the only places where questions about starters exist. In Part 2 we look at a couple of other big questionmarks on the Purple Wildcat's 2-Deep...

In part one of our story, we talked a lot about the loss of two key players and who might replace them; one from offense, Center Trevor Rees, and on defense Cornerback Jeff Backes.

After you scour the 2 deep to try to figure out who plays where, then you stop to consider some of the other "challenges" the NU Coaches might have this August in Kenosha... After you do some thinking, it does get dicey.

On the Defensive Line
Everyone forgets that we graduated two big D-Linemen, Luis Castillo and Colby Clark. Both of whom signed Pro Contract and both of whom were a big part of the defense's success in 2004.

Sliding over from Defensive End is the very physical Barry Cofield. His position coach calls him the most physical player he's ever coached, but who guards his right side?

Right now everyone's depth chart says Trevor Schultz and David Ngene.

If Ngene can stay healthy, he's going to be good, very good. He's probably faster than Loren Howard, and plays DE like a lineback, up and looking around.

Schultz was injured most of the spring, and what we saw was a real shuffle job with whoever was healthy, including some other DE's playing that second tackle spot.

For now, I'll take the starters from the spring 2 deep, but I wouldn't be surprised if we don't see a lot more in and out up front on defense.

Running Back
Here's the tough one - Terrell Jordan was supposed to be the guy who took over for Noah Herron in the Spring and established himself as #1.

But his annual hamstring injury [he seems to have one in April every year] allowed Brandon Roberson a shot at showing what he could do behind the first team O-Line. Running behind his old friend Trevor [they're both from Pearland], he was pretty good at hitting that inside hole and grinding out yardage.

He's pretty good in the open too. My guess is that Jordan will have to win the job back in Kenosha, then we see backs moving in and out based on who's hot.

All this doesn't allow for the two very speedy frosh making the traveling team. There are those who say the real star of the future is Omar Conteh, but the Ohio coaches put Tyrell Sutton behind a big O-Line in the annual Ohio North-South game, and he was spectacular too.

Coach Walker doesn't like to start frosh. Traditionally he'd rather they spend a year learning the system, etc., but NU has had freshmen come in and win jobs in Kenosha. Many Cat fans are betting this happens in 2005

The other "clinker" in all this was the play in the Spring of former backup QB Chris Malleo.

He was nothing short of spectacular, running the ball from fullback, catching passes, blocking [altho he needs more work there] and generally making defenses have to stop and consider a Fullback at NU who can also toss the ball 60 yards.

The other thing you have to consider at fullback is that Erryn Cobb, a very big presence in the backfield, is a threat to run the ball a long way if given a chance, and he's capable of doing that with two or three guys hanging off his back.

There's a new position coach for these guys. If he can coach the way he played [and he's been the offensive grad assistant for a while] we just might see more tricks from the Offense's bag of passing tricks.
There are probably more battles to be waged at various spots on the team. We'll continue our thoughts about who plays where, and continue this if we come up with more, but right now Kenosha seems to be the place to hang out if you're wondering who will play where in 2005.
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