Results from last week: The fans spoke, and the result was awfully clear, 44% of fans want mostly traditional uniforms with the occasional new combination. 31% of fans like a mix of traditional uniforms and new uniform combination. That would be 75% of fans think we should be using the traditional uniforms at least half of the time. It was also quite clear from the results and the comments that the helmets are off limits. Although some people are open to the rare use of a purple helmet, almost nobody liked the non patriotic white helmets. It was also very clear that fans might like the all white look, but they don't like the white pants with the purple tops at home games.
This Weekend's Debate: Who will get the most starts at Free Safety this season? After reading Cassino's story on Wednesday about the overall health of the safety positions, it seemed fitting to put this question to a vote. It's an age old dilemma, play the 5th year senior with experience and leadership or play the 5 star super recruit with all the talent in the world? Below are the leading candidates and my opinion on the subject, don't forget to voice your opinion in the comment's section!
#20 Justin Glenn: RS Senior, 5'11'', 209 lbs - Glenn redshirted his first year on campus in 2008, then played in 5 games in 2009 (started 4 of them) before missing the remainder of the season after breaking his leg against Notre Dame. In 2010 it took him a while to fully recover from his broken leg, but played sparingly in the final 8 games of the season. Last year he played in all 13 games, started 5 of those games and record 15 tackles in one game. Had a solid year of production with 28 solo tackles, 24 assisted tackles and showed blazing speed by catching Oregon's DeAnthony Thomas from behind, but has 0 interceptions in his career. Glenn has incredible speed, years of experience and will be a very capable free safety.
#13 Will Shamburger - RS Junior, 6'0", 193 lbs - Due to injury, Shamburger redshirted his freshmen season. Heplayed in 10 games in 2010, mostly on special teams, recording 4 tackles and 1 assisted tackle. In 2011 he played in 11 games before missing the final two games due to injury. He recorded 25 solo tackles and 11 assisted tackles, including one forced fumble. Shamburger adds flexibility to the position, he can play either free safety or strong safety. He came on strong last season and showed that he will be a factor on the field, so don't count him out.
#5 James Sample - RS Freshmen, 6'2'', 202 lbs - After playing in his first two games as a true freshmen, he missed the remainder of the year due to an injury that required surgery. Sample was also a highly touted recruit and can add a lot of flexibility to the safety positions. Unfortunately, he hasn't been on the field much and could be more of a strong safety.
Shaquille Thompson: True Freshmen, 6'2, 210 lbs (rumor is he is already up to 225 lbs) - Shaq is a highly athletic, elite level recruit. Similar to Kasen Williams and ASJ, he has way too much talent to not see a lot of playing time his freshmen season. Shaq has the prototypical size and speed to be an NFL free safety, but could also grow into a very high level linebacker. He has all the talent in the world, he will be a force to be reckoned with, but the question remains, can an elite freshmen beat out an experienced senior?
My opinion - The good news is that we have a lot of talented players at safety, no matter who wins the job, I expect to see everybody listed get significant playing time in one position or another. I think Glenn will have the most starts at free safety in 2012. I've always been impressed with Glenn, it's really unfortunate that his career was side tracked with the broken leg in 2009 and that it took so long to get back to full playing ability. Glenn has the speed and experience to be anchor the defense backfield. I expect Glenn to get the majority of the snaps early in the season, but as the season progresses I won't be surprised to see more of a rotation between him and Thompson. I expect Thompson, Sample and Shamburger to all be used liberally as nickle backs. No matter how it turns out, this is going to be a very fun position to watch!