Spring Practice Observations
Some things I noticed right away was the injuries. While CMU had fewer red shirts on the field than in past years, the talent level of those injured players was much higher. Bryan Anderson, Frank Zombo, Eric Fraser, LaVarus Williams, and Lorenzo White Jr. are all going to miss the spring while recovering from injuries, while Josh Gordy and Chaz West are among those who will be limited in participation.
The players and coaches were all in Adidas shoes but the players were still in New Balance clothing while some of the coaches were split, wearing Adidas shorts with a New Balance top. I guess you can't give up old habits.
The three freshmen, D.J. Scott, Jason Johnson, and Jeff Fantuzzi all seemed to fit right in and Scott looks to have a lot of athletic ability to utilize.
Well, let's get to the position battles. Here is what appeared to be the first teams on offense and defense, but some are due to injuries to other players.
QB: Dan obviously took first snaps, but it was Derek Rifenbury taking second team snaps while Ryan Radcliff was third in line.
RB: Bryan Schroeder was handling most of the carries but Paris Cotton and Carl Volny were also getting mixed in.
WR: With Anderson out, and Pitts unable to return with his neck injury, the WR's in the first team were mainly Kito Poblah, Antonio Brown, and Jeremy Wilson. Cornelious Gallon, Jerry Harris, and Cedric Fraser also got a lot of reps. Harris and Fraser are nice, tall, and athletic guys that could really shine in a few seasons. Jahleel Addae was also playing WR, which I think is a permanent move for him. Brown has put on some muscle and definition and is looking more and more like an elite-level athlete.
TE: David Blackburn took most of the tight end snaps as Rocky Weaver will be moving to the offensive line.
OL: Colin Miller was set at center and Darren Keyton and Jeff Maddux were at the guards for the first team while Allen Ollenburger and Weaver were at the tackle spots along with Jake Olson. I think Olson and Weaver still have a lot of weight to put on, as both look like tall, skinny tight ends, as opposed to offensive linemen.
DE: With Zombo out, Sam Williams, Larry Knight, and Darryl Stinson were the main D-Ends.
DT: CMU is struggling with depth here, but expect Josh Allison, Sean Murnane, and John Williams to see a lot of reps. Zombo may also see time at defensive tackle.
LB: Nick Bellore has really beefed up and is like a rock in his upper body. He, Tim Brazzel, and Matt Berning were making up the first team, but expect Mike Petrucci and Derek Carter to also compete for starting jobs. Carter was a defensive back, but is moving to linebacker.
CB: Kirkston Edwards and Taylor Bradley started with the first team and Bradley looks like he has put on some muscle and is moving to the ball well. Gordy was unable to do much in practice, but he would certainly be in the starting mix, along with LaVarus Williams.
S: Fraser are Chaz West are hurt, but Bobby Seay and Vince Agnew were taking first-team reps. White Jr. will also be in the mix come the fall and expect some of the new freshmen that come in to get moved around from linebacker to safety.
Stick with the Sun Sports Blog throughout Spring Football for updates on position battles and injuries. I will try to get to as many practices as I can and keep everyone up to date.