The four Huskie Outsider football pundits are back for the Western pre-game edition of 3 Downs.
First down: To wrap up training camp, what was the storyline that you followed the most?
Jon: I’ve been watching kickers Stephen MacDonald and Denton Kolodzinski closely to see if either of them will be an adequate replacement for Shaw. I figured at the start of camp that by the end, one of them would win the job outright. But it has been a close battle and both have performed well.
Tom: I’ve followed the cornerback situation. It looks as though Cody Halseth has secured one of the starting positions, and there is still an open competition to settle the other spot. This should be settled during the non-conference game.
Ryan: I’ve spent the past few days watching the OLine and the left guard spot. Brandon Myre, Dale Furber, Craig Wolyshyn have all been getting reps there. Also in the hunt for traveling are Brad Nehring, Burton Haig and Darcy Hinds. A lot of good talent, but only a few spots available.
Dallas: It was hard to ignore injuries when Dathan Thomas broke his ankle in the first practice. Subsequent practices started with an injury rundown and the hope that there were no others as serious as Dathan’s (thankfully, there weren’t).
Second down: Which Huskie will you be watching to see if he performs well enough to step into the starting line-up?
Dallas: On defense, I’ll be watching Luke Thiel in the game against Western. His play throughout camp was tremendous, and I expect he will cement himself in the wideside corner spot. On offense, I’m excited to see Mitch Stevens in game action.
Ryan: I’ll be watching the corner battle between Luke Thiel, Andrew Abbs and Gregg Woytowich on defense. On offense, who will be the back-up QB? Trent Petersen and Parker Siemens both fit the bill, so the one who stars tonight could move themselves up the depth chart.
Jon: Like you two, I can’t wait to see receiver Mitch Stevens. He’s an exciting player to watch with great speed and good hands. Based on his performance so far, he should be good enough to be named a starter.
Tom: I’m on the same page as Dallas and Ryan. Luke Thiel. He’s had a good camp so far, but he’s up against stiff competition from Gregg Woytowich and Andrew Abbs.
Third down: Which “young guy” has the most to gain with a good performance during the game?
Jon: Looks like all hands are on deck for Dane Bishop. BT has made it clear from the moment he recruited Bishop that he had a good shot at stepping in and making an impact immediately. A good performance on Saturday would give Towriss one more good reason to put him into the lineup permanently.
Dallas: I agree Jon, but want to add another name. I think the coaches will be watching the play of linebackers Ron Mwamba and Dane Bishop closely. The defensive coaches have been impressed with their play during camp and a strong game could land one or both on the travel roster.
Tom: Three for three! I’ll give you two names, and go with Dane Bishop and Ronald Mwamba. Coach Carleton has said that they look good and will see the field tomorrow night. The linebacking corps is deep with younger talent, but perhaps one of these two can make their case for more playing time in the conference season.
Ryan: I agree with you guys, but will toss out another name to spice things up. How about quarterback Jhalani Gilbert-Knorren? He looks like a great athlete and I think the coaches will try to find a way to get him into a few games this year. He has speed and strength. Once he gets some reps, could we see a Huskies version of Slash?