Thursday, August 7, 2008

fluff is less fluffy

One really nice thing about the offseason giving way to "fall" practice ("fall" being kind of a silly word - have you been to Virginia in August?) is that the fluff pieces put out by the local papers get less fluffy and more newsy. You can get a pretty decent look at how the defense will be shaking out this season just by reading these articles here.

First, a look at nose tackle. Junior Nate Collins is more or less the man here, replacing Allen Billyk as the starter. Collins is one of the reasons I'm not going "OH NO defensive line OH NO" despite the much-mentioned loss of all three starters. Collins got in on his fair share of snaps last year and contributed also his fair share of tackles to the nose tackle total of 69, which in a 3-4 defense is saying something. So we're OK there. More exciting for the future is the emergence of Nick Jenkins. The article is about Collins, but Groh is talking good things about redshirt freshman Jenkins and hopes to use Jenkins this season in Collins' role from last year, which would mean seeing quite a bit of him on the field.

Next we go to the defensive backfield for a look at safety, where Byron Glaspy holds down the spot with a lock and key - Groh himself says Glaspy has "ownership" of the position. As a former walk-on, Glaspy is a great story, having become a starter his freshman year and never looking back. He will definitely be one of the defensive leaders this season.

Before I link you to this next article, I have a rant. And I'm not complaining, mind you, because thanks to the world of half-assery that is the NCAA eligibility rules, we get an extra kicker, and that's a good thing because the more kickers on the roster, the less the chance that they all will totally stink.

Here's the deal: Yannick Reyering, before he came here from Doitchland for his tour of duty as a Wahoo soccer player, played some for a German semi-pro team. The NCAA said, whoa there, and then said, das ist nicht so gut, you nicht play. End of eligibility. UVA appealed, and Reyering got three years of eligibility returned to him. Those ran out after this last season. BUT HE'S STILL OK TO PLAY FOOTBALL? Again, not that I'm complaining. We got a kicker out of it. But I don't understand why we can't get a soccer player out of it. What is the point of denying eligibility in one sport only, I wonder?

Whatever. Here's the article. It's a gripping, tearjerking tale, if you hold on to an onion really tightly while you read.

Other notes gleaned from the articles linked above:

- The inside track on the non-Glaspy safety position belongs to junior Brandon Woods. The article calls him a "converted wide receiver" but he hasn't played that position since 2005 (a redshirt year) and played on defense in high school besides. He is competing with Matt Leemhius, Rico Bell, and Corey Mosley.
- Besides Reyering, there are five other walk-ons joining the team: LB Brady Stovall, K Robert Randolph, C John Maghamez, WR Johnny Pickett, and QB Kyle McCartin, the older brother of '09 verbal Connor.

Programming note: I'd intended to have the UNC season preview up tomorrow, but it's been a LONG week at work, especially today, and I don't want to bother writing it up tonight. Tomorrow afternoon is a recruiting update, so UNC will run Sat. or Sun., and the rest of the ACC will finish up next week.

1 comment:

dakotapalm said...

I'm guessing the soccer issue is the same as the reason why Ricky Williams could play minor-league baseball and still be eligible in football. The NCAA, I guess, allows eligibility in sports that the athlete did not receive money from playing.