Sleep Deprived, Brain Addled, But Back In The Saddle

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If I have any difficulties staying awake tonight during Rice-Sam Houston State at The Reck, all I need to do is take a glance at the Bearkats' socks. If I stare too long, I might go into seizure.

I'll chime in via The R tonight because that allows for some reader participation, unlike RiceOwlsdotcom. After missing Day 1 of Spring Football, I played a little catch-up with David Bailiff and Co. There will be plenty to cover in the coming weeks, but brief notes are in order:

No true read as of yet on how So. RB Sam McGuffie will be utilized, but the excitement is palpable whenever he touches the football. Twenty touches per game sounds like a reasonable benchmark, but how he generates those touches is key. Can't wait to see how that situation unfolds. ... Jr. DB Joe Leary has been moved to free safety, due in part to the staff's confidence in the young corners. If Leary can keep his cranky hamstring in check he'll be a huge asset, even with the position switch. He ran with fluidity on Tuesday afternoon. ...

The ball seems to explode out of the right hand of RS So. QB Taylor Cook, but it's far too early to determine a leader in the three-way battle at quarterback. Jr. QB Nick Fanuzzi has the clear edge in experience, but Cook and RS Fr. Taylor McHargue will challenge him for the starting role. Watching all three work, it's almost an embarrassment of riches at signal caller. ... The renewed energy on offense is obvious. David Beaty, John Reagan, David Sloan and Chase Clement will undoubtedly make a difference. How much remains to be seen. ...

Just like last spring, there are a ton of options at receivers to sort through, but it's good to see RS So. Denzel Wells back in action. The hands looked as sure today as they did last fall before he was lost to a shoulder injury. The depth at receiver will manifest positively as long as the tight ends are properly utilized. Sophomores Vance McDonald and Luke Willson are far too talented to play bit parts in the offense like they did last season. ... Writing of Willson, he is one of a half-dozen or so Owls who were unavailable: Jr. P Kyle Martens, Jr. DB Travis Bradshaw, Sr. OL Scott Mitchell, Sr. WR Patrick Randolph, Jr. S David Falgout and RS. So. RB Shane Turner. ... P Mark Brundage is no longer with the program. Position changes include Jr. Brian Stacey to OL, RS Fr. Nic Hammett to TE and RS Fr. Turner Petersen to RB.

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Welcome back MK! I hope mom and baby are doing wonderfully.

The Baseball Owls seem to be on the right track...hopefully they can keep it up.

Welcome back MK. Always good to have some football news!

Welcome back indeed!

You hit on a few of the players I'm most interested in this spring: Cook, McGuffie, Wells. Good to hear that about Leary. If he's truly over his recurring hamstring issues it could be a huge get for the secondary.

Regarding utilization of McGuffie, I expect we'll see him both in the slot and at RB. I also am hoping that we'll see a full blown (think Arkansas circa 2006-2007) "Wilcat" package finally utilized as an upgrade to the simplification that was the "Thor" package. McGuffie (along with Shane Turner and Denzel Wells) would make ideal sweep runners (think Felix Jones) to pair with Charles Ross and incoming Wildcat Jeremy Eddington working as operators (think Darren McFadden). Could be awfully hard to stop with the simultaneous run threats of Ross, Eddington and McGuffie. Obviously we'll have to wait for the fall to see how Eddington fits in.

How did Corbin Smiter look (I know it's just shorts and helmets)? Someone needs to take the reigns of that WR corps and demand better than the mediocrity of last season.

I assume Scott Solomon will be seeing some more work at DT now that he's pushing 280lbs and can power clean a small car.

Talon: Your idea on the Wildcat sounds beautiful in theory, but the blocking has to improve dramatically for that advantageous scenario to unfold. The Owls certainly have the weapons to make it work. And like you, I want Smiter to be that guy fronting the receivers. He has the talent, and he's certainly been around long enough to be the experienced leader. He had a few nice grabs today and looks to be in excellent shape. I'll keep a close eye out on Smiter. With their quality depth at end, Solomon should be able to play tackle more often this season. - MK

Here's a video of what I was talking about re: enhancing the "Thor" package to make it a true "Wildcat" and involving McGuffie.

Perhaps forward to David Beaty? ;)

Congrats, and glad to have you back in the saddle, MK. Having been to that dance four times in my life (not counting grandkids), it's a wonderful and special experience. I'm happy for you.

bigoldtackle: Thank you. These are halcyon days for your humbled blogger. - MK

Welcome back MK! Every time I see a cute baby, I want another. Every time I read or talk with someone about the sleep deprivation, I am happy with 2:-)

Out of curiosity, do you have any insight into the AD search that you can't share, or are you totally out of that loop? Other than the head AD, are their any other openings within the AD that need to be filled (obviously if Sayler is promoted, his old position would be vacant)? Thanks and get some rest!

p.s. - the 2 words I had to type for Captcha to post my comment were "Madonna bonar". Seriously, that is just wrong.

mrbig: I'm purposely staying out of the fray on the AD search. I have my ear to the street and have heard some things, but as far as reporting those facts I feel as though I am in a precarious position that requires my remaining quiet on the sidelines. To my knowledge, there aren't any pressing vacancies within the athletic department that would require immediate action for a newly named AD. - MK

Mark Brundage has left the program? At least there won't be a punter controversy this fall....

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