Don't believe the Weights. Well, not really. The official site released the reporting day roster, which is good, because you get an idea as to who is here and the approximate weights and that's a place to start.. We've had a really good time taking some of these weights as gospel and that's fine and all, but sometimes I simply wonder as to the veracity of the scale. I think I saw on Twitter yesterday where Davis Webb said he was up to 223, he weighed in a 216 a week or so ago and now he's checked in at 209. Maybe Davis' weight fluctuates with the wind, but I think I'm getting to the point where these weights are general ideas of size and not really putting a lot of stock into the actual weight and if someone asks me, I'll just say that Davis Webb is around 210-215, whatever it takes.
They're Here. They're Really Here. The best news is that all four JUCO defensive linemen showed up and that' shalf the battle. Marcus Smith checks in at 6-3/310, Rika Levi checks in at 6-2/367, Keland McElrath is at 6-4/312 and Brandon Thorpe is at 6-3/277. This represents a significant upgrade in size. As an aside, Levi is supposedly at 348 right now and if I had to guess, Levi has always pretty much been at 348 the entire time. It's just hard to lose 30 or so pounds in a month or two. Either way, whether or not Levi is at 345 or 330 or 360, it is still significant. Add in Branden Jackson at 270 and Jackson Richards at 275. That's six big players that will play a few positions on the defensive line and these aren't the only players.
Defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt understands that he has to get these players acclimated and ready to play as soon as possible:
"A lot of those guys have not played a game," Wallerstedt said. "When people say we're going to have a lot of success against the Central Arkansas and UTEPs, we've got a lot of question marks. It looks good on paper. A lot of these guys are highly touted, but putting the pads on, producing and having success on game day, there's nothing like a game day experience. Whether you're a high school kid or a junior college kid, Central Arkansas, UTEP and Arkansas (early in the schedule) are going to be important to get us ready for conference play. Those games will be huge for us."
Despite the importance of having those players get their feet wet, Kingsbury added there's no choice but to throw them into the fire because they need those guys to contribute.
"I think the biggest thing is getting those defensive linemen acclimated to how we practice, how we play and on the same page, because they've got to come in and play right away, and they know that," he said. "And we've got to continue working on protecting the football and getting more takeaways. That was a very low point for us last year and we got to get much better at that early."
Hell Yes. Le'Raven Clark will play at right guard and Alfredo Morales will play at left guard and Clark will play at right guard. Seriously, this sets up perfects for some guys that will pull and make waves. Believe that this will happen. And this is only scary if Dominique Robertson can't take care of the left side, but the risk is very much lessened because Clark can play left tackle. And now, you have a right side that has Rashad Fortenberry and Clark, which should be pretty good. The other good thing about Fortenberry is that initial reports had him at 295 rather than 285 and that would be a nice addition over the offseason.
Position Changes. LAJ's Don Williams reports that there are a handful of position changes that we can look forward to this fall.
* Former cornerback Tyler Middleton has been switched to split end. Split end, which is Eric Ward's old spot on the left side of the field, the X-receiver position.
* Former safety/linebacker Caleb Woodward will be moved to Y-inside receiver. This is where Amaro played and Bradley Marquez will play this year.
* Jah'Shawn Johnson was originally slated as a safety, but with the three game suspension of Nigel Bethel, II, Johnson is moving to cornerback.
* Jakari Dillard is starting out at flanker, which is the Z-receiver position.
* Cameron Batson is at the H-receiver spot, which is Jakeem Grant's current spot
Ward Wanted to Switch. Again, from LAJ's Don Williams we find out that after Texas Tech's bowl game win against Arizona St., he went to head coach Kliff Kingsbury and asked to be moved back to offense but was told that this wasn't goign to happen, so he then just had the best spring on the team.
"We talked, I told (Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury) I was going to stick it out, and that’s where it ended," Ward said. "Once he told me I couldn’t, I decided to suck it up, because Tech’s the only place I really want to be. I don’t want to leave. I never will, so I sucked it up and now I regret wanting to switch."
Sometimes we wonder why a player might transfer, and sometimes it is as simple as a position change. Or not receiving permission to change positions.
The article also focuses on J.J. Gaines, who was injured the tail end of last year as a sophomore, and now, as a junior, he is hoping to lead the secondary:
"The years prior, I was a young boy," Gaines said. "The script flipped that quick. Now I’ve got to lead the younger guys, make sure they know their assignments and make sure they’re doing their stuff off the field, because we’re accountable for each other."
Oregon's Power-Play. I spent a few hours writing about the idea of running Oregon's Power-Play play last week. I had a vision that this was something that could be implemented. Kingsbury mentioned again that he will implement something from his visit with Chip Kelly and I have to believe that you'll see something to this effect. Yeah, it doesn't work as well without having a quarterback that's a threat, but it's better than just man blocking and we're not talking about something revolutionary here. I asked Allen Corbin via the Twitter, who was at media day and this was his response:
@SethC_J didn't get an answer. Kind of got a grin from asking it. So...not sure.— Allen Corbin (@allencorbin) August 3, 2014
My pants have been flying around the room ever since.
Miscellaneous. The LAJ has some quotable quotes (yes, this means that I'm old enough to know about Reader's Digest) . . .