Let's do this!
The pads are on and Kyle Flood is pumped!
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Day #3 Time For Pads! CHOP! <a href="http://t.co/i3R1JnFvRD">pic.twitter.com/i3R1JnFvRD</a></p>— Kyle Flood (@KyleFloodRU) <a href="https://twitter.com/KyleFloodRU/status/631460238500175872">August 12, 2015</a></blockquote>
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Although it is only shoulder pads today, there is no doubt players will be out there looking to knock someone out of their shoes. Today is one of the most important days of the preseason. The offensive lineman will finally have the opportunity to get really physical with the defense and Mitch Browning and former O-Line coach Flood will begin to gain a clearer picture of who will be the starters on one of the offense's biggest question marks.
Dan Duggan went through the entire roster and found out who bulked up the most this offseason, giving us a better picture of who should be improved from last year. These results will be put the test today and the rest of camp as it gets increasingly physical and intense at practice.
Let's take a look at who has the most to gain with shoulder pads and eventually full pads being implemented into practice.
The Big Boys
Tariq Cole has transformed himself from 6-6 375 to 6-7 320 and I think today will be his coming out party. When all the pads get on, I expect Cole to breakout and become a lock to start at LG for the Scarlet Knights. I also expect the offensive line to establish a starting 5 sooner than later. If I was Kyle Flood, my offensive line looks like this: Keith Lumpkin (LT), Tariq Cole (LG), Chris Muller (C), Dorian Miller (RG), J.J. Denman (RT).
I also expect to see Darius Hamilton continue to be dominant. He has supposedly bulked up nearly 20 pounds (he says he is up to 274 from 255 in 2014). Quanzell Lambert and Kemoko Turay should be able to show how improved they are with Turay's refined technique and Lambert's position change. The pads offer a great platform for the biggest players on the team to prove their worth to the coaching staff.
Although Kaiwan Lewis is a day behind, he should be able to really push Isaiah Johnson beginning Thursday. This position battle in incredibly intriguing and could last for the entirety of training camp. With the pads on, Lewis should be able to display the physicality and mean streak he inherited from starting on an SEC defense.
James is coming off a torn ACL and has been recovering very well. The real test, however, is when he faces a live defense and gets hit for the first time. The coaches have been raving about his recovery and he should be able to put his fancy new ACL on display while taking hits again for the first time since the injury.
The first player to knock someone out
Okay, not literally knocked out unconscious but every training camp has the first big hit and it could be delivered by anyone. Will it be a no-name walk-on who earns himself a spot on kickoff team from a practice hit? You never know and that is the glory of it. My pick: Anthony Cioffi.
Who do you think lays the first big hit of camp? Who else has the most to gain from pads?