Listened to Franklin’s weekly press conference and looked at the depth chart for the Georgia game. Here are some highlights:
1. Larry Smith and Jordan Rodgers are listed as co-starters at quarterback on the depth chart, which was released after Franklin fielded numerous questions about whether Smith would remain as a starter.
Franklin has repeatedly said that Larry gives the team the best chance to win – which of course drives a certain percentage of our fan base crazy – and he also likes to keep opponents in the dark as to the status of injured players. Today he said two or three times that nothing has changed. He said something about competition determining the starter this week and also something about injuries being announced on Wednesday and something again about nothing changing. Franklin said Rodgers played “extremely well” in the first half but that he wasn’t pleased with his performance in the second half.
Everybody's wondering who the starter will be and acting like there's a big controversy. I think it plays itself out without much drama. If Larry's healthy enough to play this week, he'll be the starter. If he's not, Jordan Rodgers will get the nod. But if Larry's reasonably healthy, I think he'll start until Rodgers proves himself without a doubt our best option at quarterback. Franklin's not going to bench Larry just for a change of pace, but he is going to continue to increase Rodger's playing time.
In case you were wondering, Franklin tends to list injured starters as co-starters. For example, he listed Brandon Barden the past two weeks as a co-starter with Austin Monahan. Barden missed the South Carolina game with injury, played in the Alabama game, and is now listed once again as the sole starter at tight end.
2. Carey Spear, who missed two field goals in the first half against Bama, is still listed as the starting kicker. Franklin said he had “no concerns” about Spear and likened a kicker’s mechanics to a golfer’s swing.
3. For yet another week, Jordan Matthews is listed as a co-starter with Chris Boyd at the X-receiver position.
Matthews has started five games this season to Boyd’s one. When asked about Matthew’s struggles at receiver – he has five catches for 63 yards in five games – Franklin said it was a combination of poor play from the offensive line, the plays being called, and the fact the quarterbacks were throwing for a high percentage. He said he expects Matthews to start making some big plays soon and he said the challenge now was keeping him from listening to family members, friends and the media saying that he wasn’t getting enough touches.
4. Archibald Barnes remains a starter at outside linebacker, where he’s filling in for the injured Tristan Strong, whom Franklin actually said he hopes to get back “soon.” DeAndre Jones, listed as Marve’s backup in the middle, is still getting snaps in both halves of every game, and Al Owens, who had a tackle for loss against Bama, is listed as the backup at both outside positions.
5. Redshirt junior Josh Jelesky, who moved to the offensive line from defensive end in the preseason, is listed as a co-starter at guard along with Mylon Brown, who’s started every game this season. Franklin said he wanted Brown to face some competition. He's the most inexperienced of the current starters.
6. Sophomore Logan Stewart will start his second game of the season at center after taking several months to recuperate and gain the weight he lost while battling mononucleosis over the summer. He started the last half of last season. To accommodate Stewart, Wesley Johnson moved back to left tackle, Ryan Seymour moved from left tackle to left guard, and Ryan Fischer remains at right tackle.
7. Chase White has returned to second team, where he’s listed as a backup guard. Other reserves include tackles Caleb Welchans and Andrew Bridges and true freshman center Joe Townsend. True freshman guard Spencer Pulley has dropped off the depth chart after being listed at second team since the Elon game.
8.Another player who’s dropped off the depth chart this week is tight end/fullback Mason Johnston, who was injured against Bama. He's replaced by walk-on fullback Marc Panu. Another walk-on, receiver Jamison Sackey, returns to the depth chart for the second straight week as a backup.
9. Warren Norman, who’s been listed at second team since the start of the season, has been finally removed from the depth chart. It appears likely he will redshirt.
10. True freshman Mitchell Hester, who made his debut on the depth chart last week as a punt returner, did not play against Alabama and is still eligible to redshirt. He’s been replaced this week by Eric Samuels, who’s now listed as a punt returner backing up Jonathan Krause. Sophomore Steven Clarke is now listed as a co-starter at kick returner with Andre Hall, replacing Samuels in that role.
11. Junior Johnell Thomas is still listed as a starter at defensive end after suffering an injury against Bama.
12. Kenny Ladler is now listed as the sole starter at free safety, after being listed as a co-starter with Javon Marshall on every pregame depth chart before today. He’s started two games this season while Marshall has started three.