On Spring Practice
Prior To Spring Practice
"The primary objective of spring practice here is to provide an opportunity
for young players to learn and step forward to help the football team. We have
a lot of young guys who have the ability to be productive players and we want
to put them in the best position to be successful."
"Offensively, we didn't lose that many players in terms of numbers, but did lose some very outstanding individuals like wide receiver Chris Doering, and linemen Jason Odom and Reggie Green.
We should have good competition in the offensive line for the two starting positions (tackle and guard) and for all the backup spots, where we hope to be much improved over last season. We redshirted several freshmen and a transfer (Zach Piller) and all of them have shown a lot of potential. The competition there in the offensive line could be the offensive highlight of the spring.
Jeff Mitchell, Donnie Young and Mo Collins are returning starters up front. We look for them to continue to improve and believe Mitchell and Young have a chance to be among the premier players in college football at their positions (center and guard) for 1996.
Other than Doering, all of our receivers return. Ike Hilliard had a wonderful sophomore season and could be one of the best wide receivers in the country this year. He is an exceptional talent who can catch, run and block. Reidel Anthony also has a chance to be a big-time receiver for us.
Tremayne Allen, Shawn Nunn and Taras Ross are all back at tight end. Erron Kinney is a redshirt freshman who might seriously challenge them, so we expect to be improved at this position.
Obviously, we are in excellent shape at quarterback with Danny Wuerffel backed up by Eric Kresser. That's a lot of ability and experience.
All of the running backs return and redshirt freshman Eugene McCaslin showed a lot of promise last fall and should compete with Elijah Williams, Terry Jackson and Fred Taylor. Fullback is in good shape with Jerome Evans and Dwayne Mobley."
"We're excited about the 4-3 defense which defensive coordinator Bob Stoops will install this spring. The competition for playing time at every defensive position should be intense. With a new coordinator and a new defense, there is a lot of opportunity for all of our players to earn a spot.
We lost three of four starting defensive linemen for the second straight year. Keith Council and Ed Chester are the only returning tackles who saw much action last year, although Mike Moten and McDonald Ferguson played some. We also lost the defensive end starters, Mark Campbell and Johnie Church, but have some returning veterans in Willie Rodgers, Willie Cohens, Tim Beauchamp and Cameron Davis. Redshirt freshmen Reggie McGrew, Ernie Badeaux and Anthony Mitchell should challenge there in the line.
James Bates is a returning starter at middle linebacker, but he should get strong competition from Johnny Rutledge and other players who develop during the spring. Kavin Walton will miss the spring due to his knee surgery, but we expect him back at full speed by the fall. The competition at the two other linebacker positions (strong-side LB (Sam) and weak-side LB (Will)) will be wide open. Mike Peterson and Xavier McCray have played a little there, but this is an area where a lot of players will have the opportunity to compete and contribute.
The most experienced area on our defensive team is the secondary. Anthone Lott, Fred Weary and Shea Showers all saw a lot of action at the corners, and Teako Brown, Mike Harris and Demetric Jackson all started at safety at various points. Lawrence Wright was an all-conference player at strong safety and Tony George is a young player with potential. We have some fine young redshirt freshmen who will also get a good look this spring.
The coaching staff on defense will take a close look at how our players are progressing this spring, and there will probably be many position changes in an effort to put players in the spot where they can best be successful and help the team. It will be interesting to see who comes forward to claim the starting and key backup jobs.
- Special Teams
"All of our kicking specialists return. Hopefully the competition this spring and in the fall will make us better. Bart Edmiston, Robby Stevenson and Matt Teague will all be in the battle."
"The primary objective of spring practice was to provide an opportunity for
young players to learn and step forward to help the football team and it was
a good spring from that standpoint. Our young guys got a lot of work and many
of them showed significant improvement. If this will carry over into the fall,
and if they continue to improve themselves in the offseason, a lot of them will
be important contributors to the 1996 team."
"Center Jeff Mitchell, guard Donnie Young and tackle Mo Collins are returning starters on the offensive line, and we have good competition for the other two starting positions and for all the backup spots. We hope to be improved over a year ago. Mitchell and Young have a chance to be among the premier players in the nation at their positions for 1996. Zach Piller could develop into a solid tackle. Ryan Kalich and Deac Story are battling for a starting role at guard.
Other than Chris Doering, all our receivers return. Ike Hilliard had an outstanding spring and could be one of the best wide receivers in the country next season. He's got a chance to be a super player before his career is over here because of his great attitude, work habits and ability to catch, run and block. Reidel Anthony also has a chance to be a big-time receiver for us. Hopefully Jacquez Green will be fully back in the fall. Jamie Richardson had an excellent spring. We should get some quality backup people from a group which includes Nafis Karim, Travis McGriff, David Nabavi and Tyrone Baker.
Tremayne Allen came out of the spring as the number one tight end and is being pushed by Shawn Nunn, who had an excellent spring, and Taras Ross. All three are improved over last season.
All of the running backs returned and have improved. With Fred Taylor, Eli Williams, Terry Jackson and Eugene McCaslin we are in good shape at tailback, and Jerome Evans and Dwayne Mobley give us a solid fullback position.
Obviously we are in excellent shape at quarterback with Danny Wuerffel and Eric Kresser. That's a lot of ability and experience. Wuerffel was named the nation's top college quarterback last season (Davey O'Brien Award) and he improved in the spring. Kresser is an exceptional talent. Behind them we have Brian Schottenheimer and Noah Brindise competing for the third spot."
"We're excited about the 4-3 defense which defensive coordinator Bob Stoops and his staff started installing this spring. They are in the learning and developing process now but showed a lot of improvement during the spring. The competition for playing time is intense.
It all starts up front where we lost three starters from last year's team. Ed Chester and Keith Council are the most experienced tackles we have, but Mike Moten and Reggie McGrew are really pushing hard for playing time and starting roles. Ernie Badeaux and McDonald Ferguson could contribute. At end, young players like Willie Cohens, Willie Rodgers and Tim Beauchamp were impressive in the spring, and Cameron Davis is a senior who is competing with Beauchamp for a starting job.
James Bates finished spring as the starting middle linebacker and Keith Kelsey was impressive there, also. Johnny Rutledge has a lot of athletic ability and could be a standout weakside (Will) linebacker. Mike Peterson and Jevon Kearse played well at times at strongside (Sam) linebacker, and Lawrence Wright could play this position. These are positions where several players have a chance in the fall to earn playing time.
The most experienced area on our defensive team is the secondary. Anthone Lott and Fred Weary are all-star candidates at the corners, and Shea Showers is a solid player there. Lawrence Wright is an all-conference strong safety and the free safety position is a close race between Mike Harris and Teako Brown. Demetric Jackson could play strong or free safety. We've got a chance to be good in the secondary."
- Special Teams
"We were very good in coverages, returns and blocking kicks last season and take a lot of pride in these areas. We must improve in the kicking aspects and maintain what we did on extra points, where Bart Edmiston was perfect and set a NCAA record. The competition will be between Edmiston, Robby Stevenson and Matt Teague. We lost our snapper and that job is wide-open going into fall practice."