Friday, October 13, 2006

Eight is Not Enough | by Pat

At this stage it's probably unfair to speculate on why Ron Talley left. But we can speculate about the thinning depth chart at defensive end.

As for the immediate impact of Talley leaving, Chris Frome has looked pretty good after returning from his knee injury, so thankfully we have a quality starter already in place. I would guess that we will see a lot more of Morrice Richardson on passing downs. Hopefully Justin Brown will start to make some appearances as well. It would also be great if ND can get some of the backups like Ryan, Kuntz, and Hand (assuming he's healthy) into games like they did against Stanford.

Looking ahead to 2007, it's not a pretty sight.

Position5th yearSeniorJuniorSophomoreFreshman
DE-Justin Brown
-Kallen Wade
John Ryan
Mo Richardson
Justin Trattou
Kerry Neal
DTTrevor Laws
D. Stephenson
-Pat Kuntz
Derrell Hand
Paddy Mullen

Lots of blank space, especially in the upperclassmen ranks. Next year Trevor Laws could turn pro, even though he has a potential 5th year option. Even worse, Stephenson and Justin Brown haven't even played in a game yet this season. The same goes for Hand, Wade, and Mullen. Mo Richardson is still listed as a linebacker on the roster, but I think with Talley's departure he's going to stay at defensive end.

Not all is lost, and I don't mean to be too doom and gloom. I think that the younger players, like Morrice Richardson and John Ryan, are pretty talented and can quickly develop into quality players. And the incoming recruiting class is still a work in process, with multiple talented defensive ends and defensive tackles still interested in the Irish.

As for Talley's recruiting classmates, there are only 8 left on the team out of an original class of 17. Ten players have actually left the team, but Junior Jabbie did return for this season. Two players, Darius Walker (RB) and Maurice Crum (LB), are full time starters and three are part-time starters and quality backups, Terrail Lambert (CB), Anthony Vernaglia (LB), Leo Ferrine (CB). The final three, Darrin Bragg (WR), Junior Jabbie (RB), and Justin Brown (DE), have not played in a game yet this year.