Our buddy Will Shelton over at the old stomping grounds is asking scary questions today: Where would injuries be most costly to the football team this fall?
It’s a good, if frightening, question in light of the impact that injuries had on last year’s team. So where are we most vulnerable in 2017? Will identifies three positions: Tight end, running back, and wide receivers.
With Butch Jones’ recruiting prowess slowing down a bit after killing it for a couple of years, the depth behind the starters this year is not only inexperienced and unproven, much of it is not quite as anticipated as some of the depth was the last couple of years. We’re feeling good about Ethan Wolf at tight end and John Kelly at running back and Jajuan Jennings at wide receiver, but behind them is a bunch of questions. Running back especially is concerning. Carlin Fils-aime and Ty Chandler may well figure to be the same kind of surprise Kelly was for us last year, and perhaps the wide receivers will be everything we’ve been hoping they can be. But that’s just it. We just don’t know.
I’d add defensive line to the list of depth concerns as well because as much as I am excited about seeing Kendal Vickers, Shy Tuttle, Khalil McKenzie, Kyle Phillips, and Jonathan Kongbo keeping each other fresh, I have this uncontrollable twitching when I remember what happened when we had no defensive tackles left last season.
Hopefully, we’ve now been inoculated against the injury bug and the new strength and conditioning guy will help as well. It sure would be nice to have all of our main guys plan almost all of our key games this season.