April 3, 2008

Offensive depth chart breakdown

The month of April brings April Fool's Day, the start of warmer weather, and of course the first depth chart of the 2008 football season. Coach Jags has released his, and on it you'll find some no brainers and surprises, the biggest perhaps being redshirt freshman quarterback Dominique Davis as the backup to Chris Crane. Here's how the offense breaks down.

Quarterback- Chris Crane has come out of the pack as the leading candidate to start at QB this season. It appears the time Crane spent under the wing of Matt Ryan has really paid off well, because he's got a better grasp of the offense than any of the other QB candidates. The comfort level Crane has had is making him look cool, comfortable, and confident so far.

Coaches have also been pleased with the quick development of RS freshman Dominique Davis, who's been placed on the depth chart as the backup QB. Davis has shown quickness and elusiveness that's very unique at the QB position. You could consider him the 1st true 'Steve Logan type' of QB that's been on the BC roster since the new coaching staff has arrived.

Rounding out the 3rd string QB spot is JUCO transfer Codi Boek. So far, Boek has looked pretty raw, and hasn't been showing off the skills that got him ranked by Rivals as the #1 JUCO Dual Threat QB. This could probably be attributed to an adjustment period to learn a brand new offense. Boek's spot on the depth chart could improve as he learns the offense better and gets more confidence.

Running Back/Fullback- Josh Haden is getting better reviews than a new Martin Scorsese movie right now. Believe it or not, the freshman RB has looked better than advertised, which is a scary thought for the rest of the ACC. The most impressive part of Haden's game is his ability to cutback and change directions, which fits perfectly into the zone blocking scheme.

James McClusky is a lock as the starting FB, so he and Haden have solidified the starting backfield.

The real question marks stem from who will back these guys up. At the moment Dan Mulrooney is listed as Haden's backup at RB. The converted safety has been banged up a little, so it's still a little early to get a good read on him. As for backup FB position, the coaching staff is hoping a candidate will emerge from the freshman class that comes in the summer. Most likely to fill that role? West Virginia native Jerry Kelly.

Wide Receiver/Tight End- Perhaps the biggest injury of the spring on the offensive side of the ball comes at wide receiver, as Brandon Robinson is out with a shoulder injury. "B-Rob" had shoulder surgery prior to the spring and should be ready to return to action in the summer.

No injury news is good news, but Robinson's absence has helped wideouts Rich Gunnell, Clarence Megwa, Justin Jarvis, Ifeanyi Momah and Billy Flutie all get more reps in practice. It should give the WR's the chance they need to separate themselves from each other.

Likewise, the coaching staff isn't too worried about B-Rob's missed practice time, because he already has a very good grasp on the offense. In addition, it's thought that he's already as fast as he can be, so there's little room to improve there as well.

The news isn't as good for sophomore WR Ryan Lindsey who is still working his way back from being injured last year. Lindsey is still missing a step on his quickness, and is trying hard to get it back.

At tight end, there really aren't any surprises. Ryan Purvis has control of the starting spot, with Lars Anderson the favorite to back him up. It seems that nagging injuries are keeping Jordon McMichael down at the 3td string TE spot. McMichael has time to shorten the gap between him and Anderson, but so far he hasn't done it with his play on the field.

Offensive Line- Many prognosticators expressed concerns about the shape that BC's OL was in headed into the spring, and rightfully so. From an outside perspective it appeared that there were many, many question marks about the big nasties. So far, at least some of those questions have been answered, but definitely not all.

The left side of the line appears to be in the most solid shape. Matt Tennant will start at C, alongside him will be Clif Ramsey at LG, and Anthony Castonzo at LT.

As for the backups, the staff has been more than impressed with Nathan Richman, who's solidified himself as a solid backup at LT. Backup RG John Elliott has shown improvement, but at a much slower pace than Richman.

On the right side of the line, the biggest surprise has come from RG Thomas Claiborne who looks like he could be the real deal in the future. The sophomore guard has shown great quickness for his 330-pound frame. As expected, Nick Rossi is slated as the backup to Claiborne while the two players battle for the starting job. Finally, Rich Lapham finds himself as the starting RT, which was a no brainer after Pat Sheil went down with an injury. Sheil has torn a pec muscle while benching, and will miss the spring. When Sheil returns, expect a fierce battle between him and Lapham for the starting RT spot.

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