Thursday, February 12, 2009

Jamie Graham: 100% football player — but where?

So Jamie Graham is no longer a basketball player. But where's he going to be on the football field?

Yesterday, the voice of the Commodores, Joe Fisher, reminded the guys on Nashville's 104.5 The Zone that Jamie's departure from the hoops squad will enable him to participate in spring football practice, where a bunch of wide receivers will be competing for future playing time.

Then Joe mentioned how good Jamie looked at running back in the Wake Forest game, and how he could have a future there.

I'm not so sure about that. Sure, he might run the ball a lot — you know how much Ted Cain loves reverses. And he's a playmaker, the only guy on the team last season to catch a pass, throw a pass, carry the ball and return the ball. But as far as Jamie lining up at tailback on a consistent basis, I hope it doesn't come to that.

Sure, we've got Jared Hawkins, a nice all-purpose back who gained slightly less than 600 yards last season, returning for his senior year. But after that we've got:
• Kennard Reeves, who showed some flashes against Wake Forest.
• Gaston Miller, who got some chances but had trouble holding onto the ball.
• Jermaine Doster, who's sat out the past two seasons.
• Ryan van Rensburg, a redshirt freshman last year and natural fullback who didn't get on the field.

But take away quarterback Chris Nickson, who was our leading rusher.

But add three promising recruits:
• Wesley Tate, a tall, fast back who could be an every down guy.
• Zac Stacy, a shifty, stout little fire plug who had stupendous stats in high school and knew how to find the end zone.
• Warren Norman, an all-purpose back with home-run potential and good pass-catching skills.

So maybe Jamie does make some cameo appearances behind the quarterback, especially if Hawkins gets injured and none of the freshmen make an immediate contribution in the fall. And with John Cole, Akeem Dunham, Terrance Jeffers, Tray Herndon and Brady Brown being added to the active-duty receiving corps, you can expect Graham to indeed have plenty of competition at receiver.

But he'll be on the field somewhere.

Where do you think he'll be?


Anonymous said...

I wish that they would put him back in the defensive backfield. They could still use him for offensive sets every now and then (like they did with DJ), but he seems to have a knack for defense.


Great, great point, and it was an oversight on my part not to mention Jamie's ability as a defensive back. Like Eric Samuels this year, Jamie was listed as an "athlete" when we recruited him, and we listed him from the start as a DB.

After a full redshirt year of playing Jamie at DB in practice, we lost Earl Bennett to the NFL and moved Jamie to receiver. This turned out to be a nice move, especially with John Cole's injury in the first game, George Smith's lack of production, and our reticence to take the wraps off Larry Smith, the only QB we have who can throw the long ball (maybe Funk can too but he's below Larry on the depth chart). And all TEN defensive backs returned on our two-deep depth chart.

Jamie's still a playmaker. But this season we return 60 percent of our two-deep secondary instead of 100 percent. Of our recruits, Eric Samuels and Trey Wilson can probably do what Casey Hayward and Sean Richardson did last season. But we still need at least two other guys to play major roles for us.

You're right, if Jamie got moved to the secondary, he'd certainly have the ability and experience to jump right into our offensive sets.

Thanks for the post.