The most pointlessly talked about position "battle," complete with wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth, was of course the quarterback position, as is the tradition at CU. But Coach MacIntyre has finally released the white smoke via this BG Brooks article, and confirmed what every rational person already knew - Connor Wood will be lining up under center to receive the first snap of the season. Or slightly behind center if we're in the pistol. Or perhaps farther behind center if we're in the shotgun. Whatever, you get the point.
Behind Wood (in the depth chart sense, not the running back sense), is likely to be a minor point of consternation among Buff fans, and that is the fact that the #2 spot is occupied by true freshman Sefo Liufau rather than JC transfer Jordan Gehrke. Many would have preferred that Gehrke man the backup spot in order to preserve Liufau's redshirt, but I am not among them. Now, we might very well see Gehrke or Dorman in garbage time with an eye toward an extra year of eligibility for Liufau, but I would tend to doubt it. It's simply unrealistic to expect a major college football team to go through an entire season without needing at least one backup QB to perform in a high leverage situation, particularly one with more than a few questions up front, attempting to execute an all new blocking scheme. Further, I never quite understood the desire to retain an extra year of eligibility vs. letting the kid earn his rightful backup spot. What happens if Cade Apsay comes in next year and lights the world on fire? Then what was the point of an extra year of Liufau? Or the guy after that? I've liked everything I've seen from Liufau, and I've talked with numerous recruiting analysts who rave about the kid, but the bottom line is that we're going to bring in a new QB every year, and in order to maintain an upward trajectory, it remains in our get our best players prepared to play, regardless of eligibility status.
Next up is the running backs, with no real surprise save for perhaps Michael Adkins slotting into the spot vacated by an injury to Josh Ford. One of the notable moves from late in camp was George Frazier moving from oversized linebacker to oversized fullback, when many expected an eventual move to the defensive line, or "pulling a Pericak" as absolutely no one calls it (note, this means moving to the DL, not getting into bar fights)
Moving on to the wide receivers, I'm a bit surprised to see Keenan Canty ahead of one of the freshman, as he's been so overwhelmingly underwhelming throughout his career. Perhaps a change in scheme has benefited him, as he does seem more suited to a quick passing offense. I still wouldn't be surprised to see him moved to the slot or overtaken by a freshman (Jeffrey Thomas if he can kick the injury bug) before long.
Tight end is just... gross. Let's move quietly along, as I don't really see a ton of positives out of that spot right now. One notable omission is Austin Ray.
The offensive line is another area for concern, as there are numerous injury risks, little depth, and not a lot of experience. those are things we look for in an offensive line, right? RIGHT.
Moving onto the other side of the ball, I'm a bit surprised to see where Samson Kofavalu is placed. Much was made about how he slimmed down to become more of a true defensive end rather than a tweener, but now there he is, a 245 pound true defensive end listed as a 3rd string defensive tackle. This tactic seems... questionable. Nate Bonsu is starting at that position, and a healthy season from him would be huge from a leadership stand point (and also perhaps something of a minor miracle, given his history). It would be especially nice if we could redshirt one of the sophomore just to gain some class separation there. Juda Parker and Chidera Uzo-Diribe are your starting ends. Jimmie Gilbert and Derek McCartney, two skinny freshmen, are also on the depth chart, which is concerning if they're forced to see any significant time. Outside of Chiddy, I don't see a ton of pass rush there, so let's hope Baer can get creative.
On to the linebackers, again with few surprises save perhaps Kenneth Olugbode slotted at the #2 weak side spot. Again, this is a troubling trend- there's just not a lot of size there, so those guys had better be fast, and be very sound tacklers. There's also nothing particularly unexpected in the secondary, particularly with Josh Moten out for the year with an injury.
Among the specialists, I was surprised to see Paul Richardson as the #2 punt returner, particularly because the staff has basically kept him wrapped in bubble wrap all spring and fall. Is it worth putting far and away are best play maker in such harm's way? I guess we shall see (or hopefully we won't). We've also got a true freshman linebacker as the #2 kick returner, which is always a recipe for success.
Among the true freshmen who are on the depth chart, Ross, Liufao, Gilbert, McCartney, Gillam, and Awuzie were all guys whose names were often mentioned as impressing, so it's no real surprise there. Others, like Olugbode, Thompson, and Severson seem to be there more out of necessity than anything else, and Kronshage and Kough are among several freshmen who could've been slotted in for depth along the offensive line.
So there are the few requisite head scratchers and eye openers that always come with a new fall depth chart, and the season begins. What do you think? Post your thoughts down yonder, in the comments!