This room is a lot smaller than it was last year, but the important parts are here (in my opinion). Gone are Parker McNeil a walk-on from Troy, Maverick McIvor, the signal-caller from San Angelo, and Henry Colombi, the transfer from Utah State. The Colombi and McIvor transfers are not surprising as they had both been passed up on the depth chart and were likely not going to see playing time.
Returning, this room is small, but stacked. Smith is likely the unquestioned starter, but I’m not willing to concede that Shough won’t get an opportunity to start. I have this sense that it’s an open competition despite how well Smith played last year. Smith completed 61% of his passes for 8.5 yards per attempt with 7 touchdowns and 2 picks. Shough in limited time early before his injury completed 70% of his passes for 9.5 yards an attempt with 6 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.
Regardless as to how this shakes out, and I don’t think it shakes out until preseason workouts, these three will see a ton of reps this spring.
It’s difficult not to love the depth and players who are available. Kittley will have a ton of options as to what he wants. For my money, Brooks is a better player over Thompson, but that’s sort of splitting hairs because I enjoy watching them both play. Brooks averaged 6.53 yards a carry with 7 touchdowns last year, but only played in 9 games, while Thompson averaged 4.67 yards a game with 10 touchdowns. Brooks is definitely more productive, but Thompson has been a workhose.
When White was first introduced as a running back I thought for sure that he would be more of a scat back, catching the ball out of the backfield and I think he became that last year. White had 18 receptions for 7.39 yards a catch, while running 68 times for 4.56 a rush. I would like to see more of Townsend, but I think he needs to be healthy.
Valdez is an unknown, but was incredibly highly rated and he’ll get his opportunity, but he’ll have to be patient. Donnell was another guy that I think is going to be very good and he’ll definitely have to be patient this year, but that’s a good problem to have.