The story goes that during the Revolutionary War that American militia were called upon regularly because they could be ready at a "minute's notice". Which Yellow Jackets need to be minutemen for the Institute's cause?
Many times we talk about the starters and forget about the second and third string players who are waiting for their turn. Sometimes, the backups work their way up the depth chart while other times they're called upon to play in the National Championship against Alabama. Today, I want to talk about the second-stringers and who we need to depend on the most should our leaders go down unexpectedly. Fortunately for us this is a very very deep team.
Tevin Washington - Quarterback
I am a huge Tevin fan. In my amateur eye, it seems that he has improved his passing and decision making over the spring practices. I would like to see him get the chance to put it on the field in mop up duty first, however. Naturally, we depend on his abilities hugely as he stands behind Joshua Nesbitt and a majority of our hope rests on #9's shoulders next season. Washington's passing game is decent and he has really improved his running game, which will be huge if called upon. The biggest question will be his decision making under live fire. We've heard and seen Paul Johnson put more and more responsibility on Nesbitt as the seasons have progressed. This year we will see Nesbitt take the keys and drive but can Tevin Washington steer us straight in an emergency?
Steven Sylvester - Inside Linebacker
He's both Brad Jefferson's and Brandon Watts' backup at the inside linebacker positions. Jefferson has picked up on the defensive scheming extremely well and has emerged as the leader after Spring ball. When Sylvester goes in, how quickly will he adjust to Al Groh's in game strategy and philosophy?
Phil Smith/Nick Claytor/Mike Johnson - Left Tackle
The battle between these three is a dogfight but word from the horse's mouth is that it's mostly a battle between Phil Smith and Nick Claytor. What you lose in a starter you gain in a quality back up. And having a quality backup at tackle means he can make a positive impact in both the right and left tackle positions should he be called upon. The responsibilities are big in this position as the expectations of CPJ and the foundation of the offense have already been laid out. Now, it's time to show up and reap the rewards of winning a major position battle.
Jay Finch - Center
Finch has supposedly been dubbed "country strong" and is giving Sean Bedford the competition he needs. Bedford is one of only a few that started the entire season in 2009, which naturally makes Finch's role that much more important. Should Bedford falter, Finch must step in immediately for one of Tech's best players.
The offensive line should be one of our deepest and most critical areas on the field. On paper, this is CPJ's best O line since he came to The Flats. In summary, the offensive line has the experience and the competition necessary to be successful. And with crucial positions like center and tackle on a run first team, how can one argue that the backups aren't some of the most important players on the team?
Tyler Melton - Wide Receiver
We will call him a backup because of history's sake. Demaryius Thomas caught 56% of all the receptions from 2008-2009. Stephen Hill looks to be the feature receiver in CPJ's offense in 2010 so this makes me ask, "Is Tyler Melton a starter or in reality a backup?" Tyler Melton is important to this offense in the fact that it will be his absolute duty to lead block for edge run plays and to help alleviate pressure on Stephen Hill. With rumor spreading that the passing game is going to open up this year, can we expect anything less out of him?
What are your thoughts?