Key Positions in Depth Chart being Determined

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Key Positions in Depth Chart being Determined

Edwin Delgado, Sports Editor

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Some position battles have began to be settled, as the real preparation begins with just over a week before the Miners kick-off their 2013 campaign.

On Aug. 21, head coach Sean Kugler stated that Jameill Showers was going to be the starting quarterback for the Miners.

“He is truly a leader on and off the field,” said freshman running back Aaron Jones. “He even invites us to his room to study and go over plays.”

Senior Jordan Leslie will be one of two starting wide receivers. The second spot seems to be a battle between juniors, Ian Hamilton and Jim Jones. In the meantime, junior wide receiver Devin Patterson will most likely have to come in as a second stringer.

“Throughout the summer we have been working, whether on the field or studying the playbook. I have tried to learn as much from guys like Jordan and Ian and that has helped me a lot, getting better,” Jones said. “I just have to work extra hard, Ian and Devin are really good. We are going to have a great receiving core. I’m just looking forward to helping out, whether it is as a starter or coming in during games.”

At tight end, with the position change of senior Kevin Perry from tight end to tackle, senior Craig Wenrick looms as the favorite to start, and juniors Eric Tomlinson and Katrae Ford will be the back-ups.

Meanwhile, junior Nathan Jeffery is expected to continue as the starting running back. However, sophomore Autrey Golden has seen an increase on his participation and should be the number two behind Jeffery, while junior Josh Bell will be the third-string running back.

The defense has had less time to prepare for the season, and new defensive coordinator Scott Stoker came from Sam Houston State in mid-April after Jeff Choate left to Florida.

“It has been a tremendous challenge, I never had to do it before, putting in a new scheme in camp just a couple of weeks before the start of the season. It has been a challenge, but all our coaches have done a tremendous job in getting our guys prepared,” Stoker said. “It’s a process, obviously when you put in something new it takes time, but the guys have done a good job of picking up the new system at the moment. We only have two weeks before our first game and hopefully we can get things ironed out before then.”

The Miners secondary positions are up for grabs. Stoker stated that two freshmen could start for the team, and Devin Cockrell is expected to have major playing time as a safety, while one more will see plenty of playing time as a cornerback. So far, Quinton Tezeno and Da’Carlos Renfro are the two freshmen who have had the most reps.

“We got some young true freshman that are going to play,” Stoker said.“Our defensive line has been working pretty good. We got some pieces, we just have to stay healthy and get the system down.”

Defensive backs coach Gabe Franklin is pleased with the progression from his players, but there are a couple of things that he wants the players to improve on before the first game.

“The tackling, that’s the main aspect we need to improve on. The players got great eyes and are very good, we just need to make sure to tackle,” Franklin said. “The players came in during the summer and started studying the new scheme and started working on it on their own and got some plays down. Overall, they are doing very well.”

The linebackers will be led by seniors Horace Miller, A.J. Ropati and junior DeAndre Little.

The Miners will get to rest in week one of the season before hosting the New Mexico Lobos on Sept. 7 at the Sun Bowl.

 

Edwin Delgado may be reached at theprospectordaily.sports@gmail.com.

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