News of the day, 8/18
Hey everyone. Another day, another practice. The workout lasted approximately two hours and was attended by a gaggle of athletic donors and other people of influence. And, presumably, affluence. Tuberville didn't name a starting punter or placekicker as promised. He said that news will come on Sunday.
Check below for today's information. Looks like Chris Slaughter is moving up the list. Lee Ziemba looks like the starter at RT. Could Brent Slusher really play this season?
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Several younger players seem to have benefitted from strong performances in Friday's scrimmage. DT Jake Ricks, WR Chris Slaughter, TB Ben Tate and RT Lee Ziemba all received significant praise from their position coaches on Saturday.
Assistant coach Greg Knox didn't elaborate on his playing rotation. He said the other day that he has five wideouts he likes. He wants to play six. My revised top four looks like this: Rod Smith, Prechae Rodriguez, Rob Dunn, James Swinton. Either Tim Hawthorne or Montez Billings is the elusive fifth guy. Who is sixth? I don't know. You'd think it would be the lesser of Hawthorne or Billings, but Knox said Chris Slaughter will play this season. Not sure what to think.
Here is what Knox said today as far as who works where:
"z" (flanker) -- Rodriguez, Slaughter, (Billings)
"w" (slot) -- Dunn, Hawthorne, Terrell Zachery
"x" (split end) -- Smith, Swinton, Quindarius Carr
Billings is a tough situation. He's missed more than a week with a troublesome hamstring. He still isn't back. If he was healthy, I think he'd be No. 2 at Z. Has Slaughter taken Billings' spot? Knox said he was looking for ways to get Billings on the field "in other situations."
It appears that Ziemba has asserted himself as the top option at right tackle. I've covered enough practices to know that the depth chart along the offensive front changes quickly, but I think this one will stick. He's a freshman. He needs experience. If assistant coach Hugh Nall thinks Ziemba is his guy, it's imperative that Ziemba not split time. He needs reps. I don't think we've heard the end of Antwoin Daniels, though. He again was working at guard today. He's an excellent pass blocker. Nall doesn't want to waste that.
Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp confirmed today that redshirt freshman LB Craig Stevens is the team's top strong-side linebacker. I rarely hear a word about Stevens, which apparently isn't a bad thing. Muschamp is very high on Stevens.
Muschamp floored me by saying freshman Brent Slusher has a chance to play this year. I think Slusher is a good athlete. He has a great attitude out there. It's just that Slusher was a (terrible) DE less than two weeks ago. He looks much more comfortable at linebacker, no doubt, but two weeks is enough? Linebackers coach James Willis also said Slusher has a chance to play.
Here's my projected depth chart at LB:
Strong side: Stevens, (Bo Harris), Slusher
Middle: Tray Blackmon, Chris Evans, Josh Bynes
Weak side: Merrill Johnson, Courtney Harden, Adam Herring
Harris has missed several days with a shoulder injury. He was on the practice field today but didn't participate in contact drills.