After talking about storylines to watch during spring practice, but now we take a look at the players. There won’t be a shortage in competition this spring at any position, and everyone should be given a fair chance to win a starting spot. Houston’s new coaching staff inherits plenty of talent, but who will stand out? Today, we take a look at five players to keep an eye on during spring ball.
I love Smith’s length for a cornerback, but he could also get moved to safety. He didn’t see the field much last year, but he can change that in 2019. Both cornerback spots are open with Isaiah Johnson Nick Watkins, and Alexander Myres gone. Smith gives the Cougars a defensive back with great length that can make an impact during the spring. With Houston’s pass defense being one of the worst in the country last year, this group needs to get better. Smith has the tools, and now it’s his time to show what he can do.
Switching to a four man front produces another interior lineman spot, where Charles-Pierre fits. He’s a big body in the middle who knows how to use his strong arms to keep blockers away from him. One thing that also jumps out on film is his quick burst. At 305 pounds, he can cause issues in the middle, but also can chase down ball carriers if needed. With Aymiel Fleming, Willie Smith III, and Blake Young as the only players with returning production, the interior spots are wide open.
We know Godfrey can play, so it’s not a matter of if he wins a starting spot. The question is what his transition to a new position looks like. After playing outside linebacker most of his career, the new scheme figures to slide him inside. Godfrey has the strength and athleticism to make the move, but his leadership will also be tested. With Austin Robinson and Roman Brown gone, a new signal caller is needed in 2018.
The biggest question with Stuard is what position will he play? Last year, he played nickel back, safety, and running back. His effort makes him successful at any position, but it remains to be seen what the new coaching staff will do with him. How many positions does he play? Stuard’s flexibility gives the defensive coaches an option at multiple positions, but they’ll have to find where he’s most effective. He’ll contribute on special teams once again, and it seems that nickel or safety will be where he plays this year.
D’Eriq King’s limitation in spring ball gives Tune a chance to show what he can do to the new coaches. He presumably must fend off Logan Holgorsen for the backup spot, but his game experience last year gives him the edge. Tune’s skillset is a great fit for Dana Holgorsen’s offense, so learning the playbook as quickly as possible bodes well for him. He should take most of the first team reps during spring ball, and that experience develops his skills even more.