The unquestioned leader of the offense seems to be Davis Webb, who has assumed that role as the offensive leader, especially with the graduation of Eric Ward and Jace Amaro to the NFL.
The offense seems to be in capable hands from a leadership standpoint, I think. The coaches continually talked up Davis as a vocal leader, as did the players, that he wasn't afraid to say something despite just being a true freshman. I suppose there's always the fear that this could rub the other players the wrong way, but that's part of putting yourself out there. There's a sense of confidence and if the player is right, then that transcends over the course of a season.
But the defense is really in a bit of flux with the graduation of so many important and influential pieces of that defense from last year. From Kerry Hyder, Will Smith, Terrance Bullitt, Bruce Jones, and Tre Porter. There's a lot of leaders that were lost off of last year's team and I think thats's somewhat problematic moving forward. That's not to say that there won't be players that step up, but that's what we hope to talk about.
I also really thought about who was the leaders of the defense last year and I don't know if any of those seniors really struck me as being vocal in the sense that the coaches really talked about Webb doing that. I don't really recall Matt Wallerstedt talking a guy leading the room. I tend to go back and forth on how this really works and if you really need a guy in that huddle that catches everyone's attention. I'm not a rah rah sort of guy, so I don't think it would have affected me, but I could see how this is important. To have a guy that's the voice when things are tight.
Maybe this was one of the problems last year was that there wasn't that one voice.
So here we are, halfway through spring practice and with news not really pouring out of camp, I thought we'd talk about who that might be. Or maybe who it should be.
Maybe the most obvious choices are Pete Robertson and Branden Jackson on the defensive line. They've played the most snaps I think at the linebacker and defensive line spots. You could probably add in Sam Eguavoen as an emerging player, but I think Jackson and Robertson have seen more time. In the secondary, you could maybe make a case for J.J. Gaines, but he's been in and out and maybe Justis Nelson, but he's only been a starter for just a few games.
That doesn't leave a lot of options as far as returners, so maybe the focus would be on the JUCO guys. The problem for us as casual fans, we don't get to know the personalities of some of these guys, like Josh Keys and Rika Levi as potential leaders. It seemed like Sam Fehoko was a natural and vocal sort of leader and I wonder if V.J. would be able to follow suit. Or maybe the newest defensive player, Kenny Williams. There's not doubt that he's leading by example by volunteering to play defense.
So my question is maybe two-fold: 1) How important is having a vocal leader of defense or is it important at all? 2) Who do you think will emerge as the vocal leader of the defense?