Rantoul2012 XXXI: Mailbag 3 August 12, 2012
Who has been used at KOR and PR? Who is the holder for kicks?
Watched for this on Thursday. In fact, I shamed myself for not watching to see who the holders were the first three days. How could I forget to watch for holders?
KOR and PR – every non-lineman. Seriously. Every single one. All I saw them work on in Rantoul was proper form for catching a punt or kickoff, and they worked on this with every tailback, linebacker, safety, wide receiver – everyone. Maybe they’re saving specific punt return drills for closed practices. Maybe they simply have an open competition and everyone has a shot at the job. All I know is, there was never a “Terry and Tommy – you go over there and work on punt returns”.
Who do I think will handle it? Total guess, but I’d say it’s between Ryan Lankford, Terry Hawthrone, and NIU transfer Tommy Davis for punt return. Wildcard: Miles Osei. For kickoff return, I’d guess some of the freshmen tailbacks get a look (Devin Church, LaKeith Walls), as well as some receivers (Lankford, Darius Millines). Josh Ferguson, too, plus some secondary guys like Hawthorne, Davis, and Justin Green. Wildcard: Miles Osei.
Holder? Looks like two guys. Tim Russell and, you guessed it, Miles Osei. My guess is Osei wins the job. Maybe all of them.
I am intrigued by T J Neal. Will he play a role at all this year. I understand his back up role at linebacker, but is special teams in the mix, or is this a wait and see year?
I have to be honest – I didn’t see much from Neal in Rantoul. The majority of time I noticed him, Mike Ward was teaching him something in breakout drills (positioning stuff). I can’t remember him in any 7 on 7 or 11 on 11 drills. Maybe he was nicked up and they held him out of contact? Not sure.
I DID notice both Mike Svetina and Mason Monheim. Monheim was running with the twos one day (Bates-Brown-Williams first string, Monheim-Dickinson-Fuller second string). Does any of this mean much? No. It’s the first week of fall camp. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Neal is ahead of both Svetina and Monheim next week.
But from what I saw from the freshmen linebackers, I’d say Monheim was in front with Svetina being kind of eye opening for a lower ranked kid.
If you were the OC, what WR/TEs would be in rotation?
*sits forward in chair* Me? You mean, I’M the offensive coordinator?? I’m glad you asked. Here we go.
I’d make the following “touches” list, and then I’d gameplan around these 10 guys getting touches in this order:
1. Darrius Millines
2. Jon Davis
3. Justin Green
4. Terry Hawthorne
5. Matt LaCosse
6. Ryan Lankford
7. Spencer Harris
8. Evan Wilson
9. Peter Bonahoom
10. Devin Church
Why? So glad you asked.
Millines because he can be junior year AJ (if he stays healthy). Davis because he’s the best overall athlete on the offense (size and strength without losing speed or agility). Green because I wanted everyone to react with YOU PUT GREEN IN FRONT OF HAWTHORNE? Hawthorne because he was born to play football. LaCosse because he can be the Iowa tight end we’ve all hated over the years. Lankford because he and Nathan have that McCoy/Shipley friendship that sometimes translates to a full understanding of each other on the football field. Harris because I still want you all to see him go up and highpoint a pass in the endzone. Wilson because we need a tall target. Bonahoom because we need a possession receiver who won’t drop the ball. And Church because he’s shifty.
What two players (one on each side of the ball) will be standouts on our 2015 Rose Bowl team?
I love this question. Question of the day award for Trevor. That was magical, Trevor.
Since I obviously can’t pick Aaron Bailey, because Aaron Bailey isn’t in Champaign yet which means he wasn’t in Rantoul which means I can’t pick him for a “what two players that you saw in Rantoul will be standouts on our 2015 Rose Bowl team” question, I’ll go with our two most fortunate redshirts, Darrius Caldwell and Josh Ferguson.
If Caldwell stays on the same path as Michael Buchanan (get stronger every year, get better every practice), then he can be just as good if not better. Give him four years in the same defense and I think he emerges in 2015 as one of the top pass rushers in the nation. He’d definitely win the award for “most salivating player” in Rantoul.
Honorable mention: TaJarvis Fuller. That 2015 defense is the Caldwell/Fuller defense that we’ll talk about for years.
For Josh Ferguson, well, I haven’t said anything crazy in a while, have I? Nothing on the level of “Juice will be Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year”, right? I’ve felt this one building for a while, so I might as well toss it out there. Ready? Here goes:
In career all-purpose yardage, Robert Holcombe is tops in Illini history with 4,737 yards. Ferguson should shatter that.