True freshmen that will travel to Columbus are C.J. Wallace, Carl Bonnell, Anthony Russo, Michael Braunstein, Sean Douglas, Corey Williams, Quintin Daniels, Bobby Whithorne, Sonny Shackelford, Tahj Bomar, Robert Lewis and Jordan Reffett. Bomar, in fact, has never even been on a plane before.
Walk-ons Evan Knudson, B.J. Newberry, Mike McEvoy, Scott Ballew, Garth Erickson, Eric Roy, Jason Simonson, Justin Booker and Clayton Ramsey will also be on the 72-man squad headed east.
Of the 31 yet to take a snap, 26 players have not even traveled before, but Keith Gilbertson is not concerned at all.
"Really, that's about where it should be," he said. "You take a bunch of true freshmen, add those redshirt freshmen in and walk-ons and even our JC guys, and that sounds about right to me."
Some position battles look to have been resolved. Knudson kicked well Wednesday and has distanced himself from Braunstein, the true frosh from Gilbert, Arizona. "But Braunstein looks to be the best kickoff guy for us right now," Gilbertson added.
Garth Erickson appears to have won the starting punting job, but Gilbertson acknowledges true frosh Sean Douglas has a 'lot of leg' and might see some action if Erickson falters.
Evan Benjamin will start at strong safety, with Jimmy Newell securing his spot at the free. Graham Lasee will start at the defensive end spot over Dan Milsten, more because of his experience having already been in games. Mike Mapu will travel as the third DE, but Gilbertson loves what the JC transfer from American Samoa has done with the short snapping and might see action there.
Gilbertson said that the starting offensive line will stay intact since Friday; Khalif Barnes and Nick Newton at the tackles, Clay Walker and Tusi Sa'au at the guards and Dan Dicks at center. "And certainly (Todd) Bachert, (Rob) Meadow and (Brad) Vanneman will be in the rotation," he said.
Dawgbytes - 8/28
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