I had a post about players that just plain blow up. I'm not talking about tranfers or players that were redshirted or players that suffered significant injuries.
I define a blow up player as a player that was here and eligible but he wasn't an impact player and he isn't receiving any preseason recognition. He wasn't great last year so no one expects much one year later.
I don't have an impact player for '18 but I am going to nominate an impact position. SAM LB'er
You may have noticed in the scrimmage Saturday that the #2 defense hung in there nicely against the #1 offense rushing attack. I thought McKnight, Powell (playing with a broken hand) and Draka (stepping up to #2 with Vandenburgh temporarily absent) all looked good but my favorite for August Camp is Kelly-Martin.
Kelly-Martin was a starter last season but he had games where he disappeared and he lost his starting position. Message rec'd loud and clear. Kelly-Martin is playing with speed and intensity and he's flying around making tackles or otherwise changing the course of the action.
But as I said Kelly-Martin is with the 2's. As near as I can tell he plays the same LB'er position as Tuvone Clark. Clark is looking good too. We may have our two best LB'ers at the same position. So we move Kelly-Martin somewhere else right? But where? WLB is manned by Zack Matthews. He's not perfect but he's highly productive. A lot like a walk-on predecessor at the position (Rivera) Matthews has stuck it out over time and earned the position. We're fine at WLB so leave that alone.
I think we need to step up at Mike LB'er. Last year we were only ok at Mike LB'er and it's hard to have a great defense if your Mike isn't hitting everything from sideline to sideline and dominating. Coach Spack says DeForest plays well in space but so far I haven't seen it. He could be valuble for goal line situations but I don't know if he's an everydown MLB'er. So who are going to believe Coach Spack or me? For those of you keeping score at home I said Kolbe was holding his lead at the QB position on Friday and on Saturday night Davis was named the starter - so there you go. We have depth at the position. I thought Vandenburgh might step up at MLB'er by now but I don't know that it has happened and he was busy being a best man Saturday afteroon. As noted Draka played well in his place. So to get back on topic I see the Mike position as unsettled but I don't think it is a LB'er position well suited for either Clark or Kelly-Martin and they also aren't going to unseat Harris at the Jack.
I guess that leaves them where they are and that's why I'm naming the SAM LB'er position as my blow up nominee for the '18 season. Both Clark and Kelly-Martin will play and both will be good as both will be fresh. Together I expect a lot of big plays. They'll have to share opportunities so neither will put up huge numbers for post season recognition but if you put the two together it should be a highly productive position. Play it SAM.
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