More Depth Chart Musings

IrishEyes looks at potential early season contributors in Part 2 of its depth chart predictions.

In his Monday morning press conference, Coach Weis explained that any serious depth chart movement would be revealed early next week.

So of course, I've decided to speculate with a few (educated) guesses as to which players you'll see play from scrimmage vs. Nevada and at Michigan.

Click here for Part One and the proposed offensive depth chart.

Defensive Starters and Contributors: Week 1-2

Defensive End:

Defensive Tackle (Three-Technique):

  • Starter: Ethan Johnson
  • Backup and Rotational Players: Hafis Williams
  • Spot Duty: Emeka Nwanko (as a result of the versatility available at his current defensive end position)

Nose Tackle:

Strongside Linebacker:

  • Starter: Darius Fleming
  • Rotational Player (multiple series): Scott Smith
  • Other contributors: Steve Filer, assuming he returns to the practice field by the end of this week.

Weakside Linebacker:

  • Starter: Brian Smith
  • Backup: Manti Te'o – limited duty at backup WLB but extended duty as the team's second nickel linebacker (along with Brian Smith).
  • Rotation or spot duty: None.

Middle Linebacker:

Strong Safety:

  • Kyle McCarthy with Sergio Brown spelling him for one series if games are close (more if they're not). No other SS contributors for Week 1-2.

Free Safety:


Nickel Back:

  • "Starter" – Sergio Brown. Spelled in long-yardage situations by McNeil with Darrin Walls (if relatively healthy) sliding into McNeil's spot or Gary Gray if Walls isn't (close to) 100 percent.
  • Dime Back:

    • Gary Gray in long-yardage situations resulting in a 3 CB/3 Safety package (more often than 4 CB/2 Safety).

      The final breakdown equates to 10 total defensive linemen (plus LB Darius Fleming); eight contributing linebackers; five safeties and five cornerbacks for a total of 28 total defensive participants over the season's first two weeks.

      For the sake of reference, 25 defensive players contributed in last season's opener vs. San Diego State and 23 saw the field vs. Michigan in Week Two. As mentioned, both the offensive and defensive players discussed rank as educated guesses…which is why we'll save the special teams contributors column for Aug. 31. Top Stories