Good morning, all-
Hope you are well.
I’ll answer a question that Patrick asked, as it was something that I had actually asked Paul Johnson about earlier in spring practice, about how coaches decide to move players. (By the way, if you have any other questions you’d like answered, keep them coming.) More or less, Patrick, you were on the right track. It’s a variety of reasons.
Some players move on their own. Correy Earls, for instance, requested to switch from wide receiver to defensive back, a position where he excelled in high school. Generally, it sounds like most of the moves, though, are made at Johnson’s request.
Before spring practice started, Johnson thought the team would have a shortage on the defensive line, so he decided on moving Jason Hill from the offensive line and Osahon Tongo and Albert Rocker from linebacker. He said factors such as body type, athletic ability and their chances for playing time at their old position vs. the new one go into the moves. (Things don’t always work out the way you want. As Johnson has noted, the offensive line, because of injuries to Nick Claytor, Dan Voss, Clyde Yandell and now Cord Howard has gotten pretty thin. I want to say they’re down to 11 healthy bodies now. As I wrote in today’s story, only two linemen who started the last four games of the season – tackle Austin Barrick and guard Joe Gilbert – are still healthy.)
Defensive line coach Giff Smith said he chose Jason Peters to move from defensive end to tackle because he thought Peters had a frame that could allow him to put on more weight and also because he had played some tackle in high school.
Said Johnson, “If you’ve got two or three players that you feel like are really good at one position and you might be void a little bit at another position, it only makes sense to train them to play (at the new one).”
Sean Bedford, a walk-on center who is working with the first team, was a scout-team defensive tackle up until fall practice last year.
Said Bedford, “[Johnson] grabbed me one day in warm-ups, just pulled me by the shoulder pads, said, ‘Hey, come get some snaps and it’s been center ever since then.”
It’s working out pretty well so far. I think Bedford will have a shot at keeping the job, even when Voss comes back from his shoulder surgery in the fall. Larry wrote about Claytor and Voss earlier in the spring, and Johnson said that a player won’t lose a job because of an injury. But, when that player comes back, if he’s rusty and it’s clear that the replacement has surpassed him, the replacement will keep the position.
It’s no fault of their own, but Claytor and Voss are missing a lot of snaps and practice time in the spring, and because cohesion is such a part of good line play, it will likely have an impact in the fall.
What do you think?
Check out Johnny Crawford’s photo gallery from Wednesday’s practice.