Reese: True freshmen to get an August shot at PT

Monday at Denius, defensive coordinator <B>Carl Reese</B> made it clear that at several spots, true freshmen will have an opportunity to earn early playing time. And at one spot, maybe even a start.

"Miguel McKay continues to be a guy we feel we can get 15-20 snaps out of this fall at tackle," Reese said. "That's why he's still running No. 1 right now and I bet he stays that way (but) we're figuring we're gonna have somebody else start. I don't know who." Given that McKay has beaten out both Adam Doiron and Stevie Lee during spring, it's highly unlikely Reese is alluding to either of those guys as potential fall starters, meaning healthy newcomers Rodrique Wright and Tully Janszen are the guys that will get an August look if "somebody else" aside from McKay will start.

Reese also had some interesting comments about a couple of his young DBs. "In the end, having to play those two corners (Cedric Griffin and Michael Huff) at safety has really helped us," the D-coordinator said. "If we played today, they could both be playing."

Here's IT's conversation with Reese:

IT: Are you comfortable with the three guys you've got starting at linebacker to be guys on Day One when the season starts to give you 50 or 60 snaps?

Reese: Oh yeah. I think so. I think the MIKE 'backer has still got some growing to do. That's (Eric) Hall, (Aurmon) Satchell and Reed Boyd, plus the guys we bring in. They've shown enough that they can do some things but I think that as a coach what you really want to do is feel where these young kids fit. We've got a couple of guys that can play MIKE out of the recruiting class so I'm going to take a good look at them. I think our back-up SAMs and WILLs will come out of our recruiting class.

IT: Are the young guys in the secondary capable right now of stepping in at a starting role.

Reese: You bet. You never want to throw young kids into the game but they've really had a good spring and they've shown us they'll run and try to hit ya and try to learn the tempo of the game, so if they were the best we had, we'd start 'em.

IT: What does that mean to Doc Pearson and Phillip Geiggar?

Reese: Basically, it moves on. Like the old covered wagon days, we've moved on and those ol' boys are back there and they're going to have to catch up. Just like today, if we had to play we'd play those two young kids. Then if we add names in the fall and we get into two-a-days and they start scratching, we know what both the other kids can do but (Pearson and Geiggar) have got to come back and join the squad and get with it.

IT: Are Huff and Griffin guys you see as a third cornerback and at safety?

Reese: You bet. That's exactly what happened to Vasher last year. If we would have lost (Rod) Babers or (Quentin) Jammer last year, then Vasher would have been our next corner. We're looking at those kids playing safety, possibly as starters, but if we lose a corner we'd have to make another decision on who would be the next guy to roll in there. Both of those kids right now are back-up corners.

IT: Is Austin Sendlein a guy that has shown that, if Kalen Thornton is not available to start early in the season, he can be a guy that can step in and be a 50 or 60 snap player?

Reese: To me, he's just like Miguel McKay. He's proved that he's a football player and we need to get some snaps out of him. So as a coach, you're thinking 20 snaps but he may be the starter if he's the best we've got. What that does is open the door for all the young ends we recruited to come in, plug 'em in at No. 2 and see if they can beat him out and see if they'll be the 50 or 60 snap guy. Or maybe both of them will get 30. But I think (Sendlein) has had a great spring and I think Miguel has (as well) because coming into it we as coaches didn't know if we'd get anything out of them.

IT: Is O.J. McClintock's situation similar?

Reese: O.J. is similar, you bet. O.J.'s a guy I think we can get 20 snaps out of right now. What we're doing as coaches is looking at a whole new squad. The guys are getting ready to play and look like they can help and you're also trying to find a place for all these young kids to come in and give them a chance to help the football team.


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