Changes loom in lineup
Tony Levine may have a blank depth chart, but that doesn’t mean that there cannot be educated guesses and informed predictions about who will get the most reps this spring. These are the top storylines going into today’s first practice:
1. Who is going to start at receiver?
All four of the Cougars’ starters from last year are gone. The spring will provide many of UH’s veterans an opportunity to step up and replace program stalwarts Patrick Edwards, Tyron Carrier, Justin Johnson and E.J. Smith. The staff is expecting veterans like Isaiah Sweeney, Ronnie Williams, Darian Lazard, DeAndre Perry, Mark Roberts and Dewayne Peace to step up. Sweeney and Peace might have the edge on the outside, while Williams has a solid chance to assume Carrier’s role in the slot.
“Guys that have been in our program like a Ronnie Williams, this will be his fifth year, it’s time for him to step up and start for us,” Levine said.
A sleeper in the receiver race to watch is sophomore Daniel Spencer.
2. How will the defense adjust to the 4-3?
Levine is confident that while there might be a learning curve in switching schemes, UH will be successful with its new look.
“I think we have a great staff and I think coaching is teaching; I think we have great teachers on our staff,” Levine said.
3. Who will start as returners?
Levine’s approach to picking returners is to put playmakers in space where they can make things happen. The Cougars haven’t shied away from that in the past even if they are premier players, using Edwards and Carrier last season.
For punts, expect Damian Payne, Kent Brooks, Charles Sims, Casey Martin and Wayne Beadle to get looks, while Isaiah Sweeney, Jeffery Lewis and Daniel Spencer will audtition for kickoff return duties.
4. Who will start at right guard?
Last season’s right guard Kevin Forsch will slide over to center to assume senior Chris Thompson’s place.
The leading candidates at the moment to take Forsch’s old job are Bryce Redman and Emeka Okafor, with Josh McNeill and Ralph Oragwu also in the mix.