Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Brewster's Depth Chart for the Opener

Per Marcus Fuller in the Pioneer Press, the Gophers have released their depth chart for this Saturday's opener at Syracuse:

Left Tackle -- Matt Stommes, Dom Alford
Left Guard -- Chris Bunders, Ryan Ruckdashel
Center -- Jeff Tow-Arnett, Trey Davis
Right Guard -- Matt Carufel, D.J. Burris
Right Tackle -- Jeff Wills, Ryan Orton
Quarterback -- Adam Weber, MarQueis Gray
Running Back -- Duane Bennett, DeLeon Eskridge, Kevin Whaley
Fullback -- Jon Hoese, Logan U'u
Wide Receiver -- Eric Decker, Da'Jon McKnight
Wide Receiver -- Troy Stoudermire, Bryant Allen
Wide Receiver -- Brandon Green, Hayo Carpenter
Tight End -- Nick Tow-Arnett, Eri Lair

Defensive End -- Barrett Moen, Anthony Jacobs
Defensive Tackle -- Garrett Brown, Brandon Kirksey
Defensive (Nose) Tackle -- Eric Small, Jewhan Edwards
Defensive End -- Cedric McKinley, Ray Henderson
Strongside Linebacker -- Simoni Lawrence, Rex Sharpe
Middle Linebacker -- Lee Campbell, Gary Tinsley
Weakside Linebacker -- Nate Triplett, Keanon Cooper
Cornerback - Traye Simmons, Michael Carter
Strong Safety -- Kyle Theret, Mike Rallis
Free Safety -- Kim Royston, Tim Dandridge
Cornerback -- Marcus Sherels, Ryan Collado

Punter -- Dan Orseske, Blake Haudan
Kicker -- Eric Ellestad, David Schwerman
Punt Return -- Marcus Sherels, Troy Stoudermire
Kick Return -- Troy Stoudermire, Bryant Allen, Jay Thomas

No huge surprises here, although there's definitely a few positions to keep an eye on. Coach Brew announced last week that Tow-Arnett and Bunders had won the center and left guard spots, but had said the two guys they beat out, Burris and Davis, would see time in the opener. Interesting then (or perhaps it means nothing?) that Burris is listed as the backup at right guard behind Matt Carufel instead of left guard behind Bunders. As we, and everyone else, have been saying all spring and summer long, the offensive line is the key to a successful season, so we'll see how the line juggling plays out vs. The Cuse.

Duane Bennett gets the nod at halfback, which also seemed like a no-brainer as long as he was healthy. He's shown the most success of the three thus far, and if he can build on last year, I love him to be a breakout star. Eskridge to me is steady but unspectacular while Whaley has shown flashes of brilliance (like in the spring game), but has just had so much trouble staying healthy it's hard to know what to expect.

Also no Hayo! starting on offense. Coach Brew raved about him in an interview last week, but apparently he's not quite up to speed yet. I'm sure he'll get plenty of snaps in the Carrier Dome, and could even be starting by next week? Definitely a nice problem to have when someone as talented as HAYO! can't crack the starting lineup yet because that means only good things about Brandon Green and Troy Stoudermire.

On defense, as Fuller notes, looks like seniors Barrett Moen and Nate Triplett have won starting spots at end and linebacker. I expect redshirt frosh Keanon Cooper to see the field plenty, and if he can pick up the schemes well enough, he might be starting in a couple of weeks. While he's pretty light for a Big Ten linebacker (listed at only 206 pounds) he hits like a freight train and has far more upside than Triplett does. Also great to see Michael Carter listed on the two-deep at corner, even if he's fourth right now on the chart. I think he's the second most talented guy in that secondary behind Big Playe Traye, so it's nice they can ease him in as the fourth guy with solid players like Sherels and Collado ahead of him. When and if the Florida youngster starts outplaying those two, then you can move him up. Otherwise, he gets great experience this year and he can battle for a starting spot in camp next year.

Finally, I don't like that Sherels is listed as the top punt returner instead of Stoudermire. I know they want to use Troy much more on offense, but the guy is SO dangerous on returns, I'd want to have him with the ball in his hands as much as humanly possible. If it means he sits out a few more snaps on offense because he just busted a 30 yard punt return, so be it. We'll see how long Sherels keeps the job.


TREE said...

my favorite part of the depth chart...Logan U'u as our #2 TB. Let's hope he plays the whole 2nd half on Saturday! Gophs 38-13!

TREE said...

FB...BTW, love the site.