Eleven Adjustments #3: Injury Prevention October 18, 2012
Here’s the depth chart I put together after Rantoul (first and second string). Guys in bold have missed time this season due to injuries.
QB: Nathan Scheelhaase (JR) / Reilly O’Toole (SO)
Scat-RB: Josh Ferguson (rs-FR) / Devin Church (FR)
Power-RB: Donovonn Young (SO) / Dami Ayoola (FR)
Split-TE: Jon Davis (SO) / Matt LaCosse (SO)
Power-TE: Evan Wilson (JR) / Eddie Viliunas (SR)
LT: Hugh Thornton (SR) / Scott McDowell (rs-FR)
LG: Graham Pocic (SR) / Alex Hill (rs-SO)
C: Jake Feldmeyer (JR) / Tony Durkin (rs-FR)
RG: Michael Heitz (rs-SO) / Teddy Karras (rs-FR)
RT: Simon Cvijanovic (rs-SO) / Pat Flavin (rs-FR)
WR1: Darius Millines (JR) / Justin Hardee (FR)
WR2: Spencer Harris (JR) / Fritz Rock (rs-SO)
WR3: Ryan Lankford (JR) / Kenny Knight (rs-FR)
Leo: Michael Buchanan (SR) / Darrius Caldwell (rs-FR)
DT: Glenn Foster (SR) / Austin Teitsma (rs-SO)
NG: Akeem Spence (JR) / Jake Howe (rs-SO)
DE: Justin Staples (SR) / Tim Kynard (JR)
WLB: Houston Bates (rs-SO) / Ralph Cooper (SO)
MLB: Jonathan Brown (JR) / Henry Dickinson (SO)
Star: Ashante Williams (SR) / TaJarvis Fuller (FR)
CB: Terry Hawthorne (SR) / Eaton Spence (rs-FR)
SS: Steve Hull (JR) / Earnest Thomas (rs-SO)
FS: Supo Sanni (SR) / Patrick Nixon-Youman (SR)
CB: Justin Green (SR) / Jack Ramsey (SR)
K: Nick Immekus (rs-SO) / Taylor Zalewski (rs-FR)
P: Justin DuVernois (SO) / Ryan Frain (FR)
So either we’re the unluckiest team in the history of college football… or we need to rethink some things about the way we practice and train.
Now, granted, several of these injuries have come in games. We all watched Nathan’s ankle get rolled up on. We saw Terry Hawthorne carted off (although that was his third injury this season). But on the flipside, Henry Dickinson broke his leg in practice. TaJarvis Fuller (later kicked off the team) broke his hand in practice. Supo Sanni? Injured at practice. Jake Feldmeyer? Injured at practice. Devin Church? Some unknown season-ending injury back in August. And there are many others.
Injuries happen. They’re part of football. They’re why you build depth. But when your starting kicker injures himself kicking an extra point, you have to start to question the strength and conditioning program. You just have to.
Note: I THINK Nick Immekus hurt himself kicking an extra point. He kicked one XP during the Charleston Southern game and then left the game. He hasn’t kicked since. But the whole “we don’t talk about injuries” policy from this coaching staff makes it hard to say whether he hurt himself while kicking or hurt himself playing bocce ball on the sideline.
Of the 48 players listed above, 22 are in bold. That’s either the worst luck in the history of the game, or there are some things our training staff can adjust to help our muscle preparedness and that our coaching staff can do to help injury prevention in practice. I know it’s a balance – don’t tackle in practice, don’t go full pads, and you’re probably not ready for Saturday.
But going into Saturday down eight starters (like the Charleston Southern game) isn’t helping either. There’s a balance, and we haven’t found it yet. We must.