Juan Day

Insiders do you think that J-Day is healthy enough and good enough to pick up some of the slack for Rawleigh this season?

That’s a good question. He seems better, but he didn’t hold up for the entire spring. I don’t think anything was seriously wrong at the end, but he didn’t practice down the stretch. How those knees hold up is still a concern for most. I’m not sure anyone feels like he’s one to count on to make it through a season. He had at least one scrimmage where he looked like a solid running back with capabilities to play in the SEC. Was he the best out there? No. Could he make more progress this summer and fit in that category of an SEC back? There is hope for that now. But I don’t know that hope is the same thing is knowing you can count on him.

So it looks like the two Freshmen backs will be our depth behind Devwah. Gonna be tough to get through a season without losing another back or two. I’m getting a little nervous and feeling slightly vindicated in my posts advocating the recruiting of more RB’s a couple of years ago.

Ah but I forgot about TJ Hammonds. Seems we do have another quality back on campus right now.

Yes, I mentioned TJ in my story about Rawleigh two days ago, going through the remaining depth at running back.

Which fullbacks or H-backs could pick up additional carries?

I think Day will get his chance to be the relief “heavy work” back in some of these non-conference games, with some spot duty in conference depending on how he develops/holds up.

I would think Whaley and M. Williams get the big work, with Hammonds and Hayden as the change of pace/special package guys. Day starts getting reps when Whaley is done for the day, and moves up to the heavy work slot in blow outs. With that kind of load he won’t be getting those knees heavily stressed two weeks in a row, and is unlikely to ever get more than 10 carries in a game.

If one of the top two heavy work backs gets a minor injury and is out a week, Day could probably take an increased load for one or maybe two games. Any injury which keeps Whaley/Williams out longer will probably require an adjustment in the offense with more speed stuff for Hammond/Williams and maybe even a little sugar for the fullbacks.

Whaley, Williams, Hammonds and Hayden…all highly recruited tailbacks should be more than enough to power the Hogs this season. We don’t have 4 quality players at most positions, so this position is actually pretty well manned, in my view.

The big concern to me is what happens if Austin Allen can’t play. Are any of the backup quarterbacks capable of playing quality SEC quarterback? I surely don’t know…I am just asking. Clay, you are the quarterback whisperer…what is your feeling?

Juan actually looked really good the few times we got to see him carry the ball live. Granted, it was against backups, but it was still impressive given everything he’s been through. But they held him out of practices toward the end of spring ball. I don’t know that you can count on a lot from him.

They’ll have to roll with Devwah and then a combination of Hammonds, Williams and Hayden behind him. Lot of inexperience, but that is a versatile group, which is nice.

I didn’t see any consistency from any of the backup quarterbacks. Yes, Cole Kelley has the big arm. But I haven’t seen him handle all of the little stuff correct just yet. Too many mistakes. You have to keep reminding that he’s a true freshman. I am guessing he makes a jump in the fall after a summer of polish. I would guess that he’ll pull away from Ty Storey but he hasn’t just yet. There is dazzle with Kelley. He may be the backup eventually. That’s what I suspect will happen, but until it does that spot is still in doubt.

I agree that Cole will be the backup. He has the most physical talent of them all. Still immature and tries to play like Brett Favre, but as he (theoretically) gets older, you’d think he would pull ahead for the No. 2 job.