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Depth chart tea leaves

I'm not thinking ahead to 2009 all that much at this point, but here are a couple of thoughts to consider when there's not much to talk about.

  • QB Dom Natale seems to have firmly established his role as backup quarterback ahead of Chris Paul-Etienne. Jabu Lovelace was so ineffective at quarterback that, if he's able to successfully rehab and returns for his fifth year, he should strongly consider switching to safety. A lot of fans want to immediately anoint Tom Savage or D.C. Jefferson, but I think they're both raw enough that the odds are overwhelmingly against them (and Steve Shimko) from seeing the field before 2010.
  • Jourdan Brooks is ahead of Mason Robinson right now. I just wish that both would see more consistent work so the coaching staff has a good opportunity to see what they can do in game action. Eric LeGrand has been getting work at FB, and that might continue until Andres Morales finds his way out of the doghouse.
  • Before his recent leg injury, former walk-on QB Andrew DePaola had seemingly passed Julian Hayes on the depth chart, as well as Marcus Cooper. If Britt leaves for the NFL draft, Timmy Brown is likely to be counted on as RU's big play receiver (Campbell in the slot?), but I'm not sure who will be the next possession receiver if not Hayes or DePaola. Cooper has a similar body type to Underwood, while it remains to be seen whether Keith Stroud or Tim Wright have a little Britt in them. The underclassmen look talented, but it's hard for them to get much experience when RU's depth chart is very crowded at the position this year.
  • Giving Graves the starting TE job over Brock was a good decision. They're similar players, but Graves has another two years to improve. I'd imagine that McGovern won't petition for a sixth year if he can't see the field as it is. Ruiz is bigger than Graves, but he's still not the mauling, Sam Johnson-type blocker that you'd want behind Graves at this point. Maybe with another offseason working with Jay Butler.
  • Art Forst could be on the Anthony Davis path, only with his eventual destination at right tackle (pure speculation on my part). A couple of the beatwriters did mention that Lange and Hardison switched uniforms for the Pitt game, but Hardison is still at the depth chart at center. Besides, at 280 lbs, can anyone see him playing defensive tackle for a Greg Schiano team? It'll be interesting to see whether the staff brings in any junior college help this year. The trio of Stapleton, Muldrow, and Newell were three of my favorite recruits in their class. The fact that we've heard nothing about Muldrow or Newell lately has been a little disturbing, but they might just be late bloomers.
  • With Gary Watts taking a medical redshirt, Sorie Bayoh has taken his place as the fourth DE, and I've seen him come in with a couple DL rotations this year, even though Freeny seems to get more snaps, including some with the first team. I had wished that Alex Silvestro would have stayed outside, but it looks like he's on the Tverdov/Foster path. I can't recall seeing Farrington this year, and it's possible that he's getting his redshirt back, I'd have to check the game logs.
  • I'd imagine that Bines takes over at nose tackle next year, and Scott Vallone goes back into the rotation as the fourth tackle, as he was seeing some time before taking a medical redshirt. Justin Francis is coming off redshirting/suspension, and he did see a lot of snaps as a freshman. What especially makes this position crowded next year is the fact that the team still has Thomas and Wynn in reserve. If either of those players makes major progress next year, maybe they could force a couple of the speed rushers at this position outside.
  • Munoz seems like a favorite of the coaching staff at linebacker, so he's a likely favorite to beat out Lowery for the WLB job, even though I'd love to see the latter in a bigger role. At least that means that Munoz won't be in the middle. With LeGrand at FB or DT, I don't see another thumper to back up D'Imperio in the middle, which is a little disturbing. Dumont seems like another favorite of the coaching staff, there was some noise about Laryea in camp. Maybe Lane will see a bigger role. Witherspoon might, but he's just as likely to move to DE. Booker has seen time on ST this year too.
  • Could David Rowe be on the fast track to leapfrogging Bing and Anderson, and starting opposite McCourty the Younger next year? He has played more than fellow freshman Brandon Jones. I'm a little worried that we haven't heard anything from Hutchins or Alexis to this point. Lefeged and Kitchen will clearly be RU's best two returning safeties, but they can't both start, as someone is going to have to help the corners in coverage. Pat Kivlehan has seen some reps this year, so he's probably a better bet over Smart if the latter comes back for a fifth year. There was also a lot of hype before the year about Khaseem Greene seeing time early, but that hasn't worked out.