Left Guard: Alfredo Morales starting in place of Beau Carpenter is a surprise, but a small one. Morales looked very good in the spring and has maintained that momentum through fall camp. And Carpenter missing several practices with a concussion didn't hurt Morales' chances. Neal Brown has said for the last several weeks that left guard—even with Brian Thomas' defection—is one of the most competitive positions on the roster, and Morales' ascent to the top of the depth chart proves it. But don't be surprised if Carpenter starts a few games as well. Either way, the Red Raiders are in great shape at this position.
Right Guard: Tony Morales' serving as Le'Raven Clark's backup really is a surprise. James Polk has been a prominent member of the offensive line's rotation this month and I expected him to be in the two-deep at one of the guard spots. Apparently the coaches feel he's not yet ready for such an important role.
Right Tackle Depth: Although Trey Keenan is listed number two at right tackle, that is a bit of a misnomer. Should help be needed at that position, Le'Raven Clark will slide over and Tony Morales will move up at right guard. Neal Brown likes what he has in Keenan, but feels that he's not physically ready to stand up to Big 12 defensive ends just yet. Brown wants Keenan to get bigger and stronger. And he also wants to redshirt the kid from Argyle.
Running Back: Two observations here. First, Eric Stephens has become one stout little dude, packing 200 pounds on a five-foot-eight frame. He's always been a shifty scatback, but with that much muscle, Stephens won't be a pleasure to tackle. And second, I really like SaDale Foster. He's currently listed as co-number two along with Kenny Williams, but I do believe Foster right now is the better back. Foster has extended an excellent spring into a strong fall.
X-Receiver: With Bradley Marquez listed as Eric Ward's backup, I have to think that the plan is to redshirt Marcus Kennard if at all possible. This maneuver has been in Neal Brown's mind for some time, and so long as Marquez and Ward remain healthy and productive, I think a redshirt for Kennard will happen.
No Jakeem: Jordan Davis garnering the backup H-receiver spot behind Alex Torres is really no surprise. Jakeem Grant, who was the starter entering fall camp, has been very quiet, while Davis made play after play. So much so that he basically forced the coaches to bump him up the depth chart. Far more puzzling, however, is Grant's absence from kick return duties. It's a puzzle for which I frankly have no answer.
Dartwan Bush: Although Dartwan Bush is not listed as a starter (he'll be backing up Jackson Richards and Branden Jackson at both end positions), we should consider him a co-starter because he'll get just as many snaps as the Jacksons. This is a very solid triumvirate of defensive ends.
Micah Awe: The true freshman's presence in the two-deep signifies that he will be a special player. I love his speed and striking ability; Art Kaufman loves his football intelligence. Kaufman has said that Awe will play immediately on special teams, and will likely see snaps at linebacker later in the season, but perhaps not right off the bat.
Blake Dees: Although listed at only 215 pounds, Blake Dees plays much larger than that. He really does bring a load. He and Will Smith will make for an excellent middle linebacker tandem.