In case you are just rolling out of bed this morning, redshirt freshman wide out, Chance Blackmon, has decided to leave the team to pursue opportunities closer to his home in Texas. It sounds like both parties parted on good terms. Although the timing of a kid leaving a program never seems logical, Chance leaving the program at this time is a head scratcher. He put on about 15 - 20 pounds of weight this offseason to really get people talking that he might be able to contribute early on in his career. He has gone through a little more than a week of spring ball and a full offseason of conditioning. Whether he added the weight or not, the Buffs are extremely thin at wide receiver and acceptable to think that Blackmon was one injury away from being in a starting role. Further, just last week, WR Coach Kiesau said that developing Chance Blackmon was his #1 priority this offseason, to see "how far he can push him." Either he pushed him to the point of leaving or this is a complete shock to the coaching staff. I wish Chance Blackmon luck in whatever he decides to do and now that topic of wide receiver next year becomes prevalent once again.
Sure, Blackmon may not have been a prominent part of the team this year but depth is depth and if we learned anything from last year, injuries are a big part of the game. Having Blackmon as the fourth or fifth option would have been nice going into the season. Now, we are currently slotting Scotty McKnight, Josh Smith and Markques Simas as the top three. It looks good on paper but Smith has been inconsistent and Simas still needs to prove that he is mature enough to take the next step. Still, the potential of Smith and Simas initially calm your nerves. After those three, who knows. You probably have Jason Espinoza and Ryan Maxwell in the next two spots, who are both lucky to reach the 5'9" height mark. Something about a 5'10" quarterback looking threw "throwing lanes" trying to find a 5'9" receiver doesn't make me feel too warm and fuzzy.
So what are our options? Hope, pray, buy rabbits feet, get out your lucky coin, or whatever makes good things happen so that the 6'3" 201 pound Andre Simmons qualifies academically. 6'3" 201 coupled with a qualified Simas and always consistent McKnight...now that makes you fuzzy. RB Brian Lockridge has caught everyone's eye and with a surplus at running back and holes at wide receiver, Lockridge may be the top candidate to make the transition to slot in multiple wideout situations. Also hope that incoming freshman Terdema Ussery and Jarrod Darden outperform the odds and can step in on four or five wide sets. But the last thing we want to rely on is freshmen, especially when both missed extend time last year due to injury and need to still develop. Their is also a rumor that the Buffs are pursuing another 2009 commit at wide receiver, maybe two now but their is always a question mark that follows when recruiting a kid after signing day. Not saying their aren't talented guys out their now (whatever happened to JUCO Jewel Hardy?) but at the same time, the perception will be why did it take him so long to get signed? That is right Buff fans, the wide receiver position still rests in the hands of Andre Simmons. It did before the departure of Chance Blackmon but with this news, the topic once again rings fresh.
more news after the jump...
Two things that we like to hear around here regarding the defensive is the combination of "3-4" and "aggressive." Kyle Ringo of the BDC notes that defensive coordinator Ron Collins is all about getting his 11 best players on the field and if that means playing the 3-4 exclusively, so be it. Fine with me as long as the word "aggressive" is attached to it. Last year, we saw glimpses of a 3-4 or 3-3-5 and it was anything but aggressive, more of a slow prevent that saw Kansas QB Todd Reesing just buy time and make plays. B.J. Beatty and Doug Rippy coming off of the edge sounds like the right kind of defense to me.
The BDC is also mentioning the report that Jeff Bzdelik and Buffs basketball team landed G Shannon Sharpe. For more on him, check out our earlier post. We are trying to get some more information on Sharpe but he was a 2008 recruit, sounds like he went to a prep school last year and besides that, their isn't that much information available.
B.G. Brooks of INDenverTimes has a good peice on a variety of topics from RB Brian Lockridge, the other trio of running backs, Max Tuioti-Mariner and Aric Goodman. Lockridge is still learning the game as coach Hagan points out but he is 100% all the time. I think with the departure of Blackmon and the need for explosive playmakers on offense, you are going to see more and more of Lockridge in the slot position. According to Hagan, Sumler, Lockridge and Stewart all have "wiggle" but Scott has "no wiggle." "He either "he ran over or away from people."