Thursday, August 19, 2010

Coast to Coast: Fall Camp Updates

Today we'll take a look around the country and see how fall camp is going for some of the top teams around the landscape of college football. We'll start on the left coast and work our way east.

First up, USC.

The Kiffykins led Men of Troy have have had a rash of injuries in the past few weeks, so much so that Lane has eliminated all tackling from practice and scrimmages. Of particular concern has been the offensive line. From what I understand, they were running practice with a 5th string guard yesterday and at least 3 other backups along the front five. It doesn't get talked about much but Cartoon Pete left them in a tough spot. It seems like talent is down markedly and it's hard to imagine the NCAA penalties won't significantly affect them in the next few years. I thought it was hilarious when Joe McKnight's Jet teammates were making fun of him on "Hard Knocks" for dogging it in practice because he was "taking a pay cut".

Texas seems to be having a rough go of things on the offensive side of the ball, particularly at the skill positions. There is no real play maker in the backfield and no one receiver has stood out from the others. Fozzy Whittaker has been the back of choice and with a name like that I can't see how he wouldn't. The defense seems to be on course to have another good year. There has been a lot of praise for sophomore QB Garrett Gilbert, if you remember Marcel Dareus dealing with him in the NC game last year. I also hear that the o-line may be a little shaky at best. Despite some initial concerns, there is no way this team is losing more than 2 games.

Oklahoma coaches have had tough time deciding which receivers will see time beside entrenched starter Ryan Broyles, who I feel is honestly a little underrated. According to Jay Norvell, there are at least seven receivers that could start in the 3-wide set. The o-line seems to be a little better this year and there are plans to incorporate a more dynamic offense with Demarco Murray getting more totes this year. MLB has been a spot of heavy competition for backup minutes, but since Tom Wort's back injury there have been question marks as to who will provide depth there. Jaydan Bird and Daniel Franklin look to fill in there.

The Terrell Pryor led Buckeyes have looked good in camp. They seem to be gelling and Pryor's role in the offense is expanding. From what I've read, he will have more passing opportunities this year because of his development since last. On the defensive side, they seem to be a little thin at corner but have a lot of good young players. Their defensive line may be a little sketchy past Cam Heyward, with a lot of new faces and veterans that haven't had a full-time role thus far. Nathan Williams at end has been limited since last week with what is thought to be a sprained knee. I think the Buckeyes are flying a little under the radar now with Alabama getting so much love. They will easily be in the top-3 by season's end, in my opinion.

Florida has apparently had a remarkable fall camp from John Brantley, or that's what I gather from ESPN. There seems to be a giant hole at MLB, where no one has really taken root. John Bostic is the leading candidate to fill that role. Jordan Haden, Joe's younger brother who plays safety, was released from his scholarship this week on good terms apparently. Kick and punt returners have not been decided either, but it looks like Chris Rainey has a leg-up on everyone else. I'm still not convinced the Gators have a legitimate threat at wide receiver, but Carl Moore is making strides with Deonte Thompson in tow.

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