Maybe “finalized” isn’t the right word, since the depth chart will constantly change over the course of the season. Still, it’s final in the sense that the time for motivational shenanigans is over. We have a pretty good idea now of who will be getting on the bus for Indiana.
On the surface it’s a somewhat drastic change, rising from #3 on the chart to supplant last year’s starter. Then again, I’m a firm believer that depth charts are published to give people like us something to talk about, and that the real depth chart exists only in the coach’s head. Maybe this spot was more up for grabs than we realized.
Anyway, some thoughts:
— The offensive line is mostly what we thought it’d be with the exception of Thomas Stone replacing E.K. Binns at left guard. Binns was the only projected starter to have participated in spring camp, but has sat out practice recently with a concussion. I don’t know if it means anything, but I’m hoping that that fact that he’s still listed on the depth chart is a good sign that he’ll be ready to play soon if not this week. Fortunately, Stone is probably the most experienced of all the reserves and might have won the starting job anyway. With Wags’ report that Tanner Fleming and Jake Zuzek are healthy and practicing again, the offensive line should be ready to go.
So that’s good news if it means Binns is healthy enough to play. My guess is that the two will rotate.
— Also regarding Wags’ notes from last night: I know the coaches are being understandably cautious with Keenan, but I don’t have a warm and fuzzy knowing that he’s being held out of practice in full pads until tomorrow or Thursday.
— Seniority has risen to the top with the slotbacks, which tells me that those who block the best will play the most. I’m sure we’ll see some of the younger guys rotated in on a few plays, but the bulk of the snaps will be going to those who know where to run when they don’t have the ball. As usual.
— We already knew how the outside linebacker situation was going to play out, although A.K. Akpunku has been moved to defensive end.
— DJ Sargenti will be starting opposite Cody Peterson at inside linebacker, which makes for an interesting combination in that neither was recruited as a linebacker. Peterson was originally a fullback, while Sargenti was a strong-armed quarterback. Both were too athletic to remained buried on the depth chart at those positions, though, and have found a home on the defense. Peterson is the team captain who played well last year, so we have a pretty good idea of what he brings to the table. Sargenti is more of a nomad. He was initially moved to outside linebacker, and even led all defenders with 10 tackles in last year’s spring game. Now that Chris Johnson is healthy again, he was moved inside this fall where he quickly played his way to the top of the depth chart. Gap discipline has been an issue for Navy’s ILBs at times over the last couple of seasons, so there’s always that concern when someone has changed positions as often as Sargenti has. There’s certainly no denying his determination to get onto the field, though.