August 7, 2006 COVINGTON
|All eyes will be on Tyler Kanet and the offensive line to see who steps up in the trenches.
Summer conditioning, camps and the passing scrimmages are in the past and two-a-days are in the works. For the 2006 Covington Buccaneers, it's a chance to separate the men from the boys and find out who can cut the mustard.
A lot will happen between the first session of full contact and the season-opener just three weeks away against New Bremen. Two weeks of full contact practices and two scrimmages will provide the coaches enough information to determine who will earn starting positions and who will contribute on special teams and back-up roles. It will also give the coaches an opportunity to gain valuable looks at which plays will work best with the personnel at their disposal.
Over the course of the next few weeks, their will be some heated battles for open positions. Here are the top five things to watch between now and the season-opener against New Bremen.
1. The battle for starting positions in the trenches.
The offensive and defensive lines were hit the most by graduation losses, but there appear to be capable replacements waiting in the wings. Seniors Tom Sampson, Bryant Hale and Tyler Kanet and juniors J.J. Thomson and Jake Wise are strong candidates to power the trenches, but there others who could find their way into the line-up. Sampson has made significant strides over the past two years and recently was crowned the heavyweight champion in the team's annual lift-a-thon. J.J. Thompson saw significant playing time on the defensive line last season, while Hale saw action at the nose as a back-up. Wise has been blessed with natural physical abilities, but has yet to showcase his talents at a consistently high level. If he can flip the switch in 2006, he could be in for a breakout season. Regardless of what these players bring to the table in regards to talent and experience, they'll have to perform over the next two weeks to ensure their spots. Should any of them falter, there will surely be someone willing to step in and take their place.
2. The progression of Gene Studebaker at quarterback.
It's no secret Gene Studebaker is talented running the football. He displayed his brilliance as a freshman and sophomore at running back. Even with the switch to quarterback as a junior, Studebaker was a force running the ball as evident by his 1,726 rushing yards...a new single-season record. It wasn't like Gene was only a running quarterback. He threw the ball well for over 800 yards and 8 scores, impressive for his first year behind the controls. It will be interesting to see how well Studebaker progresses through two-a-days and scrimmages now that he has a year under his belt and understands the position better.
3. Who emerges opposite of Seth Mohler at the wide receiver position?
Seth Mohler may be more talented than his older brother, Ross. That's saying a lot since Ross owns virtually every single-season receiving record. If he can stay healthy, Mohler will have a great year. The spot opposite of Mohler is up for grabs, however. Last year's starter, junior Jordy Burelison may be needed elsewhere, which could open up an opportunity for sophomores Andy Sparks and Logan Wollock. Both have decent size and speed and each have good hands. It may come down to whoever is the better blocker, which where Burelison was a valuable asset. The next two weeks will be huge for players looking to make an impression
4. The Running Back Position.
The Buccs have had the luxury of having talented running backs over the years. Hopefully this year will be no different as both the running back and fullback positions will consist of new starters. Senior Corey Patty has the potential to be a good one and has seen action over the past two years. Junior Brock Iddings is another option and may even see time on the field with Patty. Iddings has impressive speed as evident by a 70-yard touchdown run a year ago. We'll find out in the scrimmages against Eaton and Versailles who will be the work horse for the Buccs' ground attack.
5. The Youth Movement.
Who's are the young players who will make an impression? The incoming freshman class has some talented athletes with size and speed. Ben Christian, Jordy Meyer, and a host of others have an opportunity to earn some varsity playing time on special teams, but they'll have to prove their worth during two-a-days and the two scrimmages. It would greatly benefit the team if a handful of freshman can be counted on to give the starters a breather.