Rooster Report

Updates and answers regarding the football team and spring practice, which is just around the corner. Rooster shares insider information on players that may not return, on coaching duties, stadium improvement, on injuries and a few other little tidbits of interest ...

First things first since we probably receive more emails and board questions about this than anything else lately. That is, which returning players might not be around by the time summer practice gets here and which prospects might not qualify? The following should help you to rectify your numbers and in turn you can help us balance the Hotsheet.

Regis Edgerson is hanging on by a thread - he will not make it in all likelihood. He is a good guy but lacks solid work ethic and intensity. David Laggis is also on the bubble right now and the only reason we are not declaring him gone just yet is because we are waiting on some sort of official confirmation and announcement first. But according to our sources, he may not make it into spring drills much less summer practice. (Note: The Laggis situation has been updated and clarified since this report. For the latest, click here.).

Josh Malloy is probably not going to be able to continue either, because of his knees. His weight is prohibitive even though he has lost quite a bit of the extra weight he was carrying, his knees are still not 100% and another knee injury for a young man his size might leave him crippled for life.

There is also an indication that Rachiem Monroe will drop football but continue his studies at USC, intent on receiving his degree.

Andy Boyd is looking good and will return by this summer. At the moment he looks good in all drills except lateral drills and that is a warning sign that he is not yet completely healed. Lateral drills require left and right movement on a dime, and he is still feeling pain in those situations. He is unable to cut with any force.

Tyler Erving will return in time to practice with the team.

We believe Chris White is going to be cleared to play once again and will return full speed and compete for the starting center position along with John Strickland. That's all but a done deal.

Preston Thorne is making unusually quick progress and is expected to return in time for summer practices. Kris Mick had surgery and will not participate in spring drills.

As far as the new prospects are concerned there will be at least four that will not qualify to enroll, perhaps as many as six. Dorian Capers and Tremelle Kline are headed to Georgia Military Academy. Kendrick Lynch will be placed as well and C.J. Barber is going to be cutting it very close. The other one or two shall remain nameless for the time being ... Marque Hall is not on this list. He will qualify and enroll.

Coach Paul Lounseberry had ankle surgery last week and is on crutches. He had ligaments and tendons repaired but is expected to be full speed by summer.

The New Coaches

Rick Stockstill is really going to be an asset. He knows how to coach wide receivers to catch the ball and he of course is an excellent recruiter as well. In addition he seems to be the one that adapted himself to his new surroundings the fastest ... and he has history with Skip Holtz, having coached with Coach Skip at Florida State.

Rick Minter has yet to decide exactly what sort of defense he is going to run, but history tells us that he is prone to adopt defenses to fit his talent rather than the other way around ... and that's a good thing. Trying to fit talent into a defense doesn't work. It's like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. When you can mold your defensive schemes into something that takes advantage of your strengths and weaknesses in the talent department, that's when you succeed on defense. Expect some of everything with a little tiny bit of that Tampa Two worked in. We'll see 5-2s, 4-3s, 4-2s with a spur like creature outside and any mix of anything else that his mind might dream up and apply. Minter is a big time defensive coordinator with head coaching experience. His Notre Dame and Cincy defenses were always very good. Most importantly they were intense and his players were never faulted for not giving it 100%.

Expect Dave Roberts to mix up his backfield in any number of sets as well. We're going to see plenty of two and three back sets depending upon the situation. Daccus Turman will remain at tailback along with Demetris Summers and Cory Boyd. (Forget the worries about moving Boyd to the secondary ... he is at tailback to stay.) Also, do not be surprised to see Albert Ashcraft find a way onto the field this year. His size and exceptional speed will give him the opportunity to play. And wthout a doubt Antonio Lamar will play this year. He is a strong kid with excellent feet and very balanced lower and upper body strength as illustrated by his 56 feet shot put in high school this year. Most importantly he has very good hands so we might see more of the fullback catching the ball out of the backfield like we used to ... it's a nice option to have. You will see a split T backfield and a stacked I. Expect to see a lot of two back sets - this will not be an option only offense.

You will not want to miss the quarterback article that will be posted later today (Monday) or early tomorrow morning. It may surprise some of you.

Looks like stadium expansion and any major seating and amenities improvements are on hold for at least two more years. However, the wheels are in motion and activity on this project is about to gain a lot of momentum and steam coming into this season and throughout. As far as the new weight facility is concerned ... construction has begun and it is expected to be completed by October of this year. It will be located down at the south end of the stadium near the Cock-A-Booses.

Linebackers

Ricardo Hurley is healthy and tells me very near 100%. So is Lance Laury. Marcus Lawrence entertained thoughts of leaving early and declaring for the hardship draft - Dave Roberts talked him out of it. That should prove to be a good thing for all involved. Depth at linebacker is going to be a question mark until some of the smoke clears after spring practice. De'Adrian Coley and Ryan Brown are going to have to contribute this season. So are Steven Kennedy and Orus Lambert. The coaches like Brandon Samuels and Alonzo Middleton a lot as well. Both will be needed to contribute as true freshmen. Speaking of shot puts, Alonzo Middleton shot putted 59 feet in high school - quite a feat!

Syvelle Newton told me the other day that he is now up to 218 pounds - and he looks the part I might add. He has really gained some muscle since football season. He reminds me more and more of Sterling Sharpe every time I see him.

Steve Shankweiler will coach centers, tackles and guards. Paul Lounseberry will coach tight ends and special teams.

Coach Holtz (Lou) has declared himself the offensive coordinator, but we had better hope that Skip becomes the main voice for the offense. In other words, let Lou claim the OC title, but let Skip mastermind the offense. For those that believe Skip has not been hampered by Lou's input at times on the offense, you need to watch more of the past two years' games - or even go back to the Arkansas game in 2001. Hopefully, and we have all but confirmed this,but hopefully Skip is going to go back up in the box and call the games from there this season as we first reported in the chats a few weeks ago. Remember, he called games from the box until the first Outback win, but moved down onto the field for that one game - and ended up staying on the sidelines. This year we need him back in the box and this year we need Lou to let Skip call the games and get into a groove. That's how good offenses work.

Just incase you missed it, the coach that replaced Rick Minter at Cincinnati is none other than Mark Dantonio, a 1979 graduate of South Carolina. He earned three football letters as a Gamecock defensive back. Dantonio began his coaching career as an assistant at Westside High in Anderson, S.C.

According to the agents and scouts I have spoken with, Dunta Robinson is almost a sure bet to be taken in the second round of the upcoming NFL draft. He may have gone higher but for a couple of juniors that declared early. And Travelle Wharton is being ticketed as a late fourth round to early fifth round pick.

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