Spring practice begins in less than two weeks, and while the coaching staff is busy working on ways of improving the team and record, Coach Riley met with members of the media to discuss the team. Yesterday we examined the offense depth, while today we dive into the defense and special teams depth chart for Spring Camp.
Perhaps the deepest position for the entire defense is defensive end. With All-Americans Scott Crichton and Dylan Wynn anchoring the unit, there are experienced players behind them who will see plenty of playing time.
Defensive tackle has plenty of bodies, but many of them are young with little to no game experience. Riley's optimistic about the young guys however.
"I'm really excited about Desmond Collins, Brandon Bennett, and Lavonte Barnett," he said. "They all have ability and it will be fun to see them in Spring Ball. They all showed up well on the scout team and they are all athletic and fast."
Portland (Ore.) Jefferson athlete Noa Aluesi was penciled in at tight end, but recently was moved over to the defensive line. It had one time been believed that Aluesi would embark on his LDS Mission this summer, however those plans look to have changed.
"I'm excited about his (Aluesi's) athletic ability," Riley said. "He has a big body and is a good athlete. He may be more of a defensive end than a tackle, but with the players we have at end we want to get him in a position where he can play."
Lots of familiar faces at linebacker, but like the defensive front, many of them are young. Spring will give the coaches a good idea as to how much they have progressed.
Safety looks to be in good shape, although starter Anthony Watkins will not participate in spring because of shoulder surgery this past winter. The Beavers will add depth with three freshmen who will join the team this fall.
Riley said that he is very excited to see what Tyrequek Zimmerman and Peter Ashton can do this spring.
"Zimmerman is a football player and will surface on the field somewhere," Riley said.
Cornerback has the most question marks. Starters Jordan Poyer and Rashaad Reynolds are back in the mix, but beyond that Riley said that they are searching for viable guys who can back them up.
While kicker Trevor Romaine enters his sophomore season, the Beavers will be breaking in a new punter and long snapper. Tim McMullin and Keith Kostol will compete for punting duties, while Michael Morovick and Troy Whalen will vie for long snapping duties.
Walk-on long snapper Jacob White and walk-on kicker Andrew Mickelson will also be on the spring roster.
"Keith Kostol has really, really improved in his time here," said Riley. "We're just going to let those guys compete. We think Tim has a ton of ability."
"It's been too long since we've played," Riley concluded. "It will be fun to get on the field again."
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