Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Camp Countdown

Q: Coach, who will step up to replace the voids cast by graduating two 30+ game starters in Anthony Garetto and in Tanner Compton at linebacker?

A: No one. Both Anthony and Tanner are different from any player in our current program. They had intangibles that were extremely unique. Whether it was Anthony's ability to motivate his teammates emotionally, or Tanner's ability to lead them from a toughness perspective. I think that there are some players on our team that can be leaders in those traits, but i don't know that it is prevalent in their current roles.
As far as the on-field ability and performance, there are a few players that have been waiting in the wings for the opportunity to claim their playing time. At outside linebacker, Jake Rotkvich has had an amazing off-season for the second year in a row. I am excited to see him on the field.

At the inside linebacker position, we return four players who have started games for us at that position. Junior Aidan Price, sophomore Jordan Cruz, and sophomore Michael Somma all saw action at inside linebacker. Michael's season was cut short due to injury, but the other two players are in the midst of what could become highly decorated careers. Sophomore Bryce Jones has started at inside linebacker, but has also seen time at outside linebacker and defensive end for us. He could be a very complimentary swing player who sees time at all three positions. Bryce has a very high football IQ and is going to be a force on the field somewhere.

I am looking for returning junior starter Joe Stella to provide a lot of leadership and direction to this group of players. Joe really started to embrace this position during the spring semester in our non-traditional season. I know that with guidance from Coach Little and Coach Kurz, these two position groups will provide us with great strength.