Q: Last season, three players participated in the 2011 All-American Bowl in Minneapolis, MN, how will you replace Kevin Davis on offense, as well as Luke Butts and Kenny Clady-Mason on defense?
A: Those guys made a huge impact for us last season, and throughout your career. The records that Kevin set, may never be broken, and Luke appears on the top 10 all-time in Tackles and Interceptions. What you don't see in those number is the leadership that they gave in the weight room, on special teams, and in making on field adjustments for our team.
Positionally, I expect senior Rocky Al-Mutawa to step up and replace Kevin at WR. Rocky has had a strong off-season and is looking to become a bigger part of our offense. Austin Sobey, who started opposite of Kevin, and broke the school record for touchdown receptions will likely be our leading receiver in terms of receptions, but Rocky provides us the big play ability. He has great top end speed and will give us a strong vertical threat. By serving as a back up the last two years, Rocky has learned all three wide receiver positions and has the ability to align in different positions just like Kevin did last year.
On defense, we have a great group of defensive lineman who will be looking to replace Kenny. Junior Michael Garetto-Balmer has been a part-time starter over the last few years, and I believe is ready for a breakout season. He was favored to be a starter last year before a foot injury slowed his progress down. In addition, sophomore Ramel Samuel, had a great off-season and with a spring ball of maturation, he looks ready to have a breakout season this year.
In my opinion, Luke Butts will be the hardest to replace. On the field, Luke made a lot of our adjustments on the field, and was a great communicator to the coaches of what was taking place on the field. This is why I am thrilled that he has decided to follow his passion and get into the coaching field.
Aidan Price returns at the one safety spot, his knowledge of our defense is very strong, and I am hopeful that he will become more vocal in Luke's absence. Additionally, Dominick Campagna, who was a part-time starter will be returning this season. Senior Mike Dotson had a tremendous spring, and if he can stay injury-free he will do a lot of great things.
From an on-field adjustment standpoint, I am expecting to see more of the adjustments made by our linebacker Jordan Cruz, John Preston, and Bryce Jones have expressed a desire to be more controlling of the defense on the field, and I am excited they have shown this desire. I am hopeful that during camp they will demonstrate the necessary characteristics for this exchange to take place.