Rantoul2012 XXXIII: Mailbag 4 August 13, 2012
As I’m going through these mailbag questions, I’m noticing that many of you asked similar questions. So if you don’t see yours answered, please know that I’ve set the following guidelines as I’m responding to the questions:
1. If you sent me multiple questions, I’ll try to answer at least one of them.
2. If you asked a similar question to someone else but they worded it in a way that made my answer easier, I probably chose theirs.
3. But seriously, thanks for all the questions. I’m kind of overwhelmed by so many people sending so many questions. Thanks, seriously.
4. When you ask five really good questions like this next guy, I might just answer them all.
1. Is Church working at RB at all, or is he just a slot receiver? Is he returning kicks at all? I really liked his film and was thrilled when he came on board. However, I have a hard time seeing him as receiver given how small he is. I can’t see him doing anything but catching swing passes and bubble screens, which of course would be obvious to the defense.
I read this email right before I got to practice on Thursday, so I was able to watch for a lot of these things. As for Church, I saw him going through drills with both the tailbacks and the receivers. Which makes for an even more overwhelming camp experience for a true freshman. Learn two playbooks, adjust to the speed of the college game, adjust to being away from home for the first time – there’s a reason 90% of college football freshmen make zero impact their first year.
As for him being a “receiver”, without seeing the offense, I’m not exactly sure how that works, but I think our slot receiver position will be way more tailback-y than receiver-y. My guess for the players who get the most reps there: Miles Osei, Devin Church, and Justin Green. Maybe even some Josh Ferguson moving out and getting creative from that spot.
2. How’s Karras doing? I was under the impression that he would be the favorite to be a starter this fall and haven’t heard anything. 2a. Is Boles in shape? I had high hopes for him too but haven’t heard anything.
Dinged up and dinged up. Boles wasn’t even in Rantoul. They can only bring 105 players, and because Boles was injured, he didn’t make the trip. Karras was there, but they limited his role a bit as he nursed an injury (or maybe it was an illness, but pretty sure it was an injury).
3. Is Hill working at center at all? He was listed as a center coming out of high school, he’s clearly got talent (I like him as much as you), and our current starting center is undersized and is apparently the weakest link among the starters. You would think Hill could push him aside.
In my view, Hill is way too mobile to be a center. I want him pulling all day every day. Get him out around the corner and let him blow somebody up. I generally want my tackles to destroy people with powerful arms, I want my guards to be mobile like Jon Asamoah, and I want my centers to be drain plugs.
I think Feldmeyer can be a solid drain plug. And I think Hill can eventually be a great guard once he gets in tip top shape. Both might take some time.
4. I saw that Feldmayer is currently listed at 295, which is plenty big of course. However, its a huge step up from the weights he’d been listed at previously. Is that a legit number? Is he really 20 or 30 pounds bigger than he was when you saw him last year in Rantoul?
It’s deceiving. You see him standing between Graham Pocic and Michael Heitz and you think he’s tiny. But when I stood next to him while interviewing him, he’s plenty big to play center in the Big Ten. Especially in a spread.
5. You’ve highlighted Teitsma as a good player. Who are your other two guesses for the “two pair and a spare” at DT along with Foster and Spence?
Spence and Foster are the obvious starters. Teitsma backs up Foster, and Jake Howe backs up Spence. Both are ready to fully get their feet wet before starting next year. As for the spare, I think one of Teko Powell and Vontrell Willams redshirts and the other is our spare. Twist my arm and I’ll say… Powell is the spare.
OK, a few more for today…
Haven’t heard much on Hayden Daniels since he got on campus – there was talk of a greyshirt and he ended up redshirting last year. He’s a big body at receiver, was an athletic spread option QB in high school and comes from a family where all four siblings have played college athletics. Any chance he gets minutes later in his career? Could he bulk up and play TE like his QB-turned-NFL TE brother Owen?
Pat, is that you? Wait – the question didn’t revolve around all the things he’s done right. Wrong Fitz.
Hayden Daniels was in a green no-contact jersey all week, so he didn’t play much. Not sure what the injury was that kept him out, but he was no-contact the whole time I was there.
It’s interesting that you asked the TE question, because I was thinking the same thing. He’s pretty tall with broad shoulders, and his brother plays tight end in the NFL, so it’s only natural to think he could bulk up and move there (worked for Eddie Viliunas). But I just haven’t seen enough from him to get a read on whether he could do it.
Once healthy, he should have the opportunity, though. We’re down to seven scholarship receivers, and he’s one of them.
I know it is very early in camp, but what role do you see Tommy Davis in? Do you think he could be our primary punt and kick-off return man?
I didn’t see one punt return in Rantoul. They hadn’t gotten to that yet. They worked on the fundamentals of catching the ball, and playing the wind, but they didn’t run any full-on punt return drills. So all I know about Davis is what you know – he was the two-time first-team KR in the MAC. Which means he’ll more than likely be our returner.
As for playing much safety, I’m just not sure. I think the top-4 are clearly Supo Sanni, STEVEHULL, Earnest Thomas, and Patrick Nixon-Youman. The fifth safety is probably a tossup between my guy walkon Ben Mathis, Tommy Davis, and maybe freshman safety Taylor Barton who stuck out to me in Rantoul. So to answer your question, I think Tommy Davis was brought in to return punts first, return kickoffs second, and play safety fourth.