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Locked and loaded

I will finish up our wading through by depth chart looking at possibly the deepest position in the teams - receivers and tight ends.

We got some bad news in Cowan's injury that may sideline him for few weeks (at least 2 per the LA Times). But no fear. As Ben Olson said in this interview last week there is no shortage of talent in this group:

From Spring Ball 2005: Baumgartner (18) and Everett (9) Taking Off
Photo: Courtesy of adakbruin

Here is our current depth chart.

9 Marcus Everett (6-1, 203, Jr.)(6) 26 Joe Cowan (6-4, 220, Sr.)(12) 81 J. J. Hair (6-6, 256, Sr.*)
10 Gavin Ketchum (6-4, 210, So.)(3) 1 Brandon Breazell (6-0, 170, Jr.) 86 Logan Paulsen (6-5, 250, So.)
88 Matt Willis (6-0, 195, Sr.*)^ 18 Andrew Baumgartner (6-1, 202, Sr.*)(2) 15 Ryan Moya (6-2, 245, So.)
8 Junior Taylor (6-2, 212, Sr.*) 6 Jamil Turner (6-1, 203, So.*) 83 Adam Heater (6-5, 260, Fr*)
2 Ryan Graves (6-1, 180, So*) 29 Bobby Whithorne (6-1, 200, Jr.*)^ 87 Tyler Holland (6-5, 247, So.*)^
92 Travis Martin (6-4, 245, So.*)^

*noted red-shirt and ^ denotes walkon

So Cowan is injured. But Breazell is right behind him in the depth chart. Note also Taylor is listed at no. 4 at Split End (this is the chart right before camp started). So you can bet he is working his way up. These guys got in a lot of action last year:

Rec Yds YPR Long TD
Joe Cowan 35 469 13.4 91 (td) 3
Marcus Everett 32 390 12.2 44 2
Brandon Breazell 24 297 12.4 48 4
Gavin Ketchum 11 153 13.9 60 1
Ryan Moya 10 153 15.3 58 (td) 2
Andrew Baumgartner 6 111 18.5 38 1
Junior Taylor 6 109 18.2 39 (td) 2
Logan Paulsen 2 33 16.5 29 0
Matt Willis 3 29 9.7 16 1
J.J. Hair 1 5 5.0 5 0

Going into last season the receiver position was a question mark. These group of guys however really came through last season as few solid play makers emerged from the group.

Starting with Marcus Everett and Brandon Breazell. Everett emerged as a reliable weapon last season. The former two sport star (there was even talk at one point of him trying out for the hoops team) is an exceptional athlete who has the speed and athleticism to make those difficult catches in the traffic, often during crunch time:

Breazell also had some huge games. He had few game breakers last season. And if he has further developed during the off-season, gotten stronger, then you can expect him to substantially increase the output of 24 catches from last season.

The kid that could be interesting to watch is Gavin Ketchum. You could see the potential in few plays he made last year. He was only a true freshmen last year. So he may still need some time to get in sync with the system, especially now that there is a new QB. However, at 6?4, 210 this kid gives Olson a solid target. He has the potential to emerge as another Danny Farmer or Sean La Chappelle this season, provided that he is in complete sync with the offense. Also a kid who get in action this year is Jamil Turner, the 6-1, 203 flanker who may turn out as decent possession type of receiver.

Then there is Terrence Austin, the true freshmen who was one of the most highly recruited WR (offers includes Miami and ND) in the entire country last year. Per Dorrell he looked like a veteran in the first day of practice. Dohn had a little more measured praise in his over the weekend:

It seems like no receiver is getting more passes thrown his way in 7-on-7 and scrimmage situations than freshman Terrence Austin. He's quick, is picking up the offense and has speed. His problem late this week has been with dropped balls. He let a few touch the ground Thursday, and again Friday, but he also made a couple of big plays. But nothings stands out more than dropped passes. Still, he has jumped out during practice more than any other freshman in the first week.
So who knows this kid may just burst into the scene this upcoming season.

As far the TE position is concerned Dohn mentioned how the role of this position may be impacted by the departure of Marcedes Lewis. No one is going to be another Marcedes Lewis. However, we have stockpiled a number of highly talented recruits from last three years that BO will have options. This is one position Dorrell and his staff have recruited really well.

J.J. Hair was recovering from his motor-cycle injury last season. He should be ready to go this season. His specialty is in blocking. Ryan Moya had some huge games last season. And yet he is no. 3 in the depth chart behind another talented TE in Logan Paulsen. Paulsen may get the nod over Moya because of his size. Throw in yet another talented youngster Heater in the mix, look for big Ben to throw to his TEs quiet a bit this year.

Looking through our receivers, TEs, and running back positions, make it very clear that South Paw Jesus is going to have an assortment of weapons to chose from when the offense takes the field this season.

Given how Coach Svoboda has been saying we are going to open up the offense, use shot guns, while keeping the basic framework of WCO intact (which has been installed over last three years), I think it is safe to expect from this team to put 30-35 pts a game this season, even with a new QB. Now if Walker can keep his end of the bargain, and give us a defense that will not embarrass us anymore, and perhaps contain other high powered Pac-10 teams within 24 points, I don?t see how coaches will not be able to meet the minimum expectations of 9 win and beating SC.

We can?t wait to find out.