Is Albert McClellan ready to be Albert
McClellan again? Will his return finally mean the defense will be
Greg Perry, GoHerd.com
Absolutely, McClellan is ready to be the Albert McClellan that drove
opposing offenses crazy during his breakout freshman year.
Losing McClellan during late-summer drills was a
pretty significant blow to the Marshall defense in 2007, make no mistake
about it. Everything we're hearing is that Albert is ready to go in
spring drills, and hopefully we'll see evidence of that in March and
Combine that news with a look at coach Mark
Snyder's excellent recruiting class (John Youboty, anyone?) and you can
see it's going to be an interesting year for Marshall football in 2008.
Snyder, fans, everyone around the program can see that improvement is
coming, and fast.
Is it possible for Tulsa to replace
QB Paul Smith?
From Wesley Allen
"Tulsa will struggle early in 2008 to match the leadership,
intelligence, and play making that Paul Smith gave the offense. If
the Hurricane do find a suitable replacement, it will be a race
between Senior David Johnson, Sophomore Clark Harrell, and JUCO
Transfer Jacob Bower".
What's being done to improve the defense?
"Recruiting season focused mostly on meeting defensive
needs. Tulsa signed 7 defensive backs and 4 linebackers, to improve
the pass defense. The 2008 unit should be more athletic and will
have another season of experience in the 3-3-5 defense.
Will Rice get any better under David
Rice just signed several
cornerbacks (Jarrett Ben, Chris Jammer, Michael Patterson) and a
couple of defensive linemen (John Gioffre and Mike Smith) that will
play this fall. Signing P/K Kyle Martens out of Spearfish, S.D. will
help us with field position too. He was rated the #7 punter in the
country by Chris Sailer and had 90% of his kickoffs go for
touchbacks. The Owls also have two players moving from offense over
to the defensive line. One is RS-FR Davon Primus (6-3 310) who has
lost 35 pounds in the Rice conditioning program since arriving at
Rice. The other is former TE Chance Talbert, a 6-5 280 pound tackle
who's returning to the D-line where he played as a freshman.
He's also playing on the Rice basketball team right now. We
also have a returning senior Free Safety - Bencil Smith was a two
year starter who was injured on the first play of last season. Also
coming back is redshirt sophomore LB (Jonathan Arceneaux, 6-0 222).
He sat out last year but was playing as a true freshman when he
severely injured his knee. Overall, we played a lot of true freshmen
on defense last year - we were decimated with injuries and lack of
depth. We had 23 surgeries during or after the season! Those
freshmen have hit it hard in the weight room so hopefully the
experience they gained last year combined with their offseason
workouts will result in a much improved defense.
Freshman All American DE
Scott Solomon will be a player to watch - he is currently 6-3 262
and just benched 427. Brian Raines is the Iron Owl (strongest player
on the team), he played hurt all last year and looks to rebound with
a big senior season. Speaking of strong, Senior nose tackle Chris
Ptaszek is another converted OL who played his first full season on
the DL last year. By season's end coaches were really pleased with
his progress - at 6-4 310 he boasts a 450 bench.
On offense, we return all but 3 starters
from season's end. What we're adding to the group is speed. We
just signed 3 players that will likely play this fall, Shane Turner
at RB (4.4), Denzel Wells at WR (4.34!), and Roddy Maginot at the
Slot position (4.4). All three are also kick/punt returners. Returning
starting RB Justin Hill is pushing 220 pounds, runs 4.4, benches
400 lbs and has a vertical of 37". All American and Biletnikoff
Award nominee Jarett Dillard will see far fewer double coverages as
a result of the influx of speed. He will attempt to improve his
record best 42" vertical to 44" next week. We also return a big
weapon (literally) in Freshmen All American James "Thor" Casey, at a
chiseled 6-4 250 pounds, he runs 4.6 and also benches over 400. He
can play QB, TE, or inside receiver. Another freshman, that will
give us great blocking and another red zone option is TE Kody Emmert,
6-7 260. The O line likely will be improved too, as we will
have freshman starter Scott Mitchell back, he finished the season as
the starter last year at LT weighing only 250 pounds after an August
bout with esophagitis. He's up to 270 now and will play at 285 this
fall. David Berken will return at guard (6-4-300) after going
through his first offseason in two years, previously missing due to
injuries. Another freshman guard the Owls are high on is Jake Hicks
(6-4 290), who would have played last year if not for a bout with
mono. Then there's senior QB Chase Clement, who set 18 school
records last year. He won't have to learn any new terminology this
spring and will have more weapons at his disposal this time
around. Most don't realize it but this will be the first spring in 3
years that the Owls will have the same coaching staff. Speaking of
last spring, we only had about 60 players available for drills. This
year including walk-ons, we'll have about 90...