Depth chart shows experience at key positions, competition at others

Aug. 8, 2007

Depth Chart | Read the coverage from the Times-Union

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville football team hit the field for the first time on Tuesday, opening fall camp with 19 returning starters from last year's team.

The offense returns 11 of the possible 12 starters, with the running back position being the lone spot missing a player that has starting experience. On defense, JU returns eight starters, three on the defensive line, two linebackers and three defensive backs.

"We have a lot of experience on this squad, but we've also got some holes to fill," said JU head coach Kerwin Bell. "We also need to create some depth. I like it that our new guys are hungry and want to play, which will push our returning guys to get better."

Preseason Notebook

Aug. 6 - Dolphins report for camp
Aug. 7 - First practice report
Aug. 8 - Inside the depth chart

Upcoming Schedule

Aug. 9 - Season tickets on sale
Aug. 10 - Ready for scrimmage?
Aug. 11 - Scrimmage #1 Report
Aug. 13 - chat

The front five for the offense returns healthy and in tact, but developing the second team is going to be crucial for the Dolphins' success. As camp begins, there will be a lot of competition for spots in the playing rotation.

The biggest battle will be at running back. The loss of the school's all-time leading rusher Jerry Brandt to graduation leaves a gaping hole for the Dolphins. Cecil Coltrane is the most experienced of the returning players, but Ron Harris and Ashley Jones also figure to compete along with a talented group of freshmen.

The defensive side of the ball has some holes to fill. Nose guard and defensive tackle are open, as well as the strong side linebacker and strong safety.

Sean Davis and Nixon Maitre are the returning candidates at nose guard with Jude Leconte and Heywood Range battling for the open defensive end job.

After an impressive spring camp, redshirt freshman Jarvis Williams is the starter at strong side linebacker with Quintan Salary pushing Williams for playing time.

The other opening on defense, strong safety, is being patrolled by junior transfer James Mills with David Onorato battling for the spot.

Once camp gets underway, the newcomers will be working their way into the depth chart which will be updated next Monday after the first scrimmage.

PRACTICE REPORT: The Dolphins went out in shorts, helmets and shells for two hours on Wednesday as both sides of the ball continued to implement the new systems.

One of the impressive debuts in the first two practices has been from the freshmen running backs - Tommie Rogers and Rudell Small.

Rogers, a native of Tampa, has shown flashes of his quickness to the hole and his speed to blow past the defense once he finds an opening. Small, one of Bell's recruits from Trinity Catholic in Ocala, brings a brute force to complement his speed in the backfield.

"I've really been impressed with our freshmen running backs," Bell said. "Tommie has explosive speed and is a dynamic player. We've got to find ways to get him the ball and the best ways we can utilize him.

"Rudell has proven so far that he's everything I thought he was. He is a physical player who does everything right."

The defense showed signs of progress as well, working on their blitz and cover packages. The team effort on that side of the ball has been on display in practice as they have made a lot of plays in the live part of practice.

"We've got a lot of athletes on defense," Bell said. "All 11 guys are committed to giving a great effort on each play. I like the look in their eyes as they realize the responsibility they have to step up and make plays with their teammates."

Aug. 6 - Team reports
Aug. 7 - First practice
Aug. 11 - Scrimmage #1
Aug. 16 - Media Day
Aug. 18 - Scrimmage #2
Aug. 25 - Scrimmage #3
Aug. 27 - First day of classes
Sept. 1 - Season begins: JU at Bethune- Cookman, 4 p.m.