LAJ's Don Williams is reporting that linebacker Victor Hunter has moved to noseguard and linebacker Julius Howard has moved to safety. I'll let defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill take it from here:
"Vic’s quick, powerful, strong, tough. Put him at nose and let him make plays," McNeill said. "One of the things that football has gone to — and what I’ve always believed in — is let’s find roles. Everybody’s role is important."
"Our job is to try to — and I’ve done this since Mike (Leach) named me (defensive coordinator) — put people in places where they can be effective," he said.
Williams reports that Hunter, previously 5-11/256, is now up to 275. Someone's been eating some cheese hamburgers. Meanwhile, Howard has lost almost 20 pounds, down to 205.
Here's Howard on the position switch:
"I always kind of wanted to play safety, but I could never drop the weight," Julius Howard said. "Once I dropped the weight, I felt good and conditioned to do it. … At safety, I know what’s going on under me. I just need to figure out a few more routes, and I’ll have it down."
And here's Hunter:
"It’s been a while since I’ve put my hand on the ground," said Hunter, who was a defensive end in high school. "It’ll take some getting used to, but it was fun."
I suppose it doesn't matter whether or not it's on offense or defense and this is exactly what the spring is for. On one hand it's refreshing to see players dedicate themselves during the offseason to either put on weight or lose weight in order to get some playing time that they weren't previously receiving.
Of the two moves, I think Hunter's move to noseguard fits best. He was Texas Tech's best run-stopper at the linebacker position and if he can have that same type of intensity at the noseguard position, this could really help the depth at tackle and put a little pressure on Chris Perry and Myles Wade if these guys aren't ready to play or don't quality, in Wade's case.
I know that Howard has tremendous speed and athleticism, but there's always been something that's been holding him back. It will be interesting to see if this position switch gets him on the field.