Monday, January 12, 2009

Looking ahead to '09 'Dogs offense

Let's talk about what to expect from the young up-and-comers in the program who saw little to no playing time this past season but will figure in to the 2009 campaign...

QB: Ebahn Feathers redshirted this season but is already a fan favorite because his speed is so unique to the position it makes fans gawk. Problem is, he came in as a raw thrower with a ton of refining to do. But he's also the type of youngster who is coachable, modest and willing to work at it. Will it be good enough to beat out the elder statesman Ryan Colburn and an even newer young stud, Derek Carr?

RB: A.J. Ellis and Michael Harris both redshirted. Ellis might have been able to help out in 2008, but came out of high school super skinny and would have been knocked around a little at the running back position. But Rashad Evans was much undersized and did a fine job as a true freshman at receiver. While Harris might be more likely to develop into a "featured back" so to speak, Ellis has the potential to develop into a multi-threat lining up in the backfield, the slot and as a return man.

WR: Jamel Hamler was the offensive scout player of the year after academic issues caused him to redshirt this season after playing as a true freshman in '07. Though many don't realize it yet, Hamler has the ability to be the best wideout on the team, and is set to make the type of impact next season that Seyi Ajirotutu did this season. Matt Lindsey, with his height, hands and ability to go up and get the ball in traffic, will be plenty capable too, but this unit might just be too deep and talented for Lindsey to get on the field much before 2010.

TE: We saw what Ryan Skidmore is capable of late this year, and he'll be the main receiving threat, along with Issac Kinter, next year. But more unknown are Tapa Taumopeau and David Gory. Taumopeau started on special teams as a true freshman before an injury led to him redshirting. When Gory steps on the field, many fans will think Bear Pascoe is back until they notice he's wearing No. 88 instead of 85. Gory has a very similar body type and came in listed at 6-4, 235 pounds but looks to be more like 250 now.

OL: There will definitely be an adjustment period here with 2-3 new starters, but it might be a short one considering big talents like Kenny Wiggins and Bryce Harris have been around a while. Wiggins has had the best size and footwork of the unit for two years now and will finally get his shot to start with Kenny Avon and Bobby Lepori gone. And Harris is an athlete who adapted quickly to the switch from defensive to offensive line. The guard spot will be more interesting with Charley Robbins, Devan Cunningham and Richard Pacheco all vying. Pacheco is a senior spot starter, Cunningham could dominate if he dedicated himself to getting in better football shape and Robbins practices and plays well enough to deserve the job. But watch out, highly-touted prospect Douglas Spacht, who redshirted this year and is a true center, has looked good enough to make a run at a starting spot at guard if others don't step it up.

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