June 11, 2008

Mailbag: Who starts oppostie of Jamar Wall?

RedRaiderSports.com subscribers are not only some of the best informed, most sports-savvy individuals on the Internet, they are also some of the most curious. Subscribers constantly level questions at the staff, some of which, regrettably, do not get answered. With this series, we attempt to partially remedy that situation by answering some of the most interesting questions submitted to us. We can only hope that the answers do justice to the questions.

Obviously there's something Mike Leach doesn't like about Mossakowski or he would have offered a long time ago. I noticed his stats are nothing to do back flips over. What are your thoughts of him, and do you think he fits this offense?

Mike Leach's primary qualm about Mossakowski is the 1-9 record of Frisco Centennial last year. The quarterback is the single player on any team who is most responsible for a team's success or failure, and a 1-9 record just cannot reflect well on the quarterback.

That said, other programs have decided to give Mossakowski a free pass regarding Centennial's dismal record and it's hardly out of the question that Leach could eventually do the same. If Mossakowski camps in Lubbock in June and performs well, Leach could extend an offer to him. Mossakowski certainly has the measureables and the character to make him a tempting prospect.

Besides Fisher, are you surprised that the staff is looking more outside the state for wide receivers? Is it because the in-state wide receivers aren't interested in Tech?

Frankly, it's a down year for wideouts in the Lone Star State, and that's the primary reason the Red Raiders are focusing heavily on out-of-state prospects to fill the lone remaining receiver vacancy. Emory Blake, who is not the most polished high school wide receiver to ever come down the pike, may be the best of the bunch, and clearly the Red Raiders have an interest in him. But beyond Blake, the pickins are pretty slim.

Would you expect Kobey Lewis to be in on most of the 2 back sets, or could we see combinations like Batch/Crawford or Crawford/Woods, etc.?

I would expect to see every conceivable combination insofar as varied combinations cause defenses headaches. That said, I would expect Lewis to figure heavily in two-back sets because he is the best receiver coming out of the backfield and his presence, combined with that of Crawford, Batch or Woods would force defenses to be even more concerned with the pass than they already are. Lewis in a two-back set should be pretty lethal.

Could you briefly go through the 3 linebacker spots and how secure the starter is at each going into summer workouts? Do any of the second stringers have a legitimate shot to overtake the starter by the start of the season?

I have not seen a post-spring depth chart, but I'll do my best here. Bront Bird is the starter at SAM and freshman Tyrone Sonier is running second string. Bird looks very good, particularly in pass coverage. He is smart, fast, big and athletic. He could develop into a prototype eventually. Sonier had been quiet for most of the spring, but came on toward the end of workouts and started making some plays. Still, Bird's position is secure.

Your current starter at MIKE is Brian Duncan. He is a very sound linebacker. Like Bird, he's got a high football IQ, does not make mistakes, and is a very good leader. An important thing for a middle linebacker. But he'll have a challenge on his hands in holding off freshman Sam Fehoko who plays like his big, old mane is on fire. Duncan knows the scheme better and that's his advantage. But that advantage will eventually disappear, and then it's on.

Marlon Williams starts at WILL and Blake Collier is his understudy. Williams was inconsistent last year as a starter, but I believe he'll surprise some people this go-round. He is capable of making some big plays and that's what this defense needs. I don't think Collier is ready to push Williams for playing time at this juncture.

Who is going to start at corner opposite Jamar Wall?

Well, that's really the 64-dollar question, isn't it? LaRon Moore seems to be Coach Brian Mitchell's choice at this point. Much like Anthony Hines, Moore has been banged up seemingly ever since he arrived in Lubbock, so it's hard to get much of a fix on him. But again like Hines, Moore is blessed with most of the physical traits you'd want at the position. Moore is probably the fastest corner on the team, he is solidly put together, and he's quick. But there's competition aplenty.

Brent Nickerson began spring workouts like a house a-fire, and although he tailed off, could be a factor because of his superb knowledge of the defense.

DeShon Sanders is probably the most physical corner on the team and his raw physical ability is almost the equal of Moore's.

My dark horse, however is freshman Taylor Charbonnet. He's woefully inexperienced and looks like he should passing around water bottles rather than playing defense in the Big 12, but the kid can play. Charbonnet is speedy, gritty, and far more physical than his size would suggest. I think he'll make the two-deep-or better-at some point next season.

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