News: Wide receiver Julio Jones played the X position during the 2008 season. This is the easiest position to learn, but it is also the easiest to double cover. Alabama plans to move Jones around in multiple wide receiver positions for 2009 in order to keep defenses from keying double coverage on their star wide receiver.
CFG Analysis: This is good news for Jones owners. However, we’re still concerned about the new quarterback under center, and the rebuilt offensive line. These factors will make Jones’ price on draft day too high for us to recommend drafting him.
News: Arizona running back Nic Grigsby left practice Friday on crutches after spraining his ankle, according to Ryan Finley of the Arizona Daily Star. It’s unclear how severe the sprain is.
CFG Analysis: Keola Antolin waits in the wings in the event that this injury is serious.
News: Running back Darrell Scott has put on 10 pounds of muscle over the course of the summer. He enters fall camp “…miles ahead of where he was last year,” according to Head Coach Dan Hawkins.
CFG Analysis: There’s going to be a battle for carries in the Buffs’ backfield. Scott coming into camp bigger-stronger-faster will definitely help his chances. This is a position battle we will monitor.
News: The Honolulu Advertiser reports that wide receiver Malcolm Lane has missed the first two days of camp due to undisclosed “personal” issues.
CFG Analysis: This is not good for Lane. There are a bunch of wide receivers that are battling for playing time this year. We have Lane as the fourth starting wide receiver. It would be best to look for a different wide receiver come draft day.
News: ESPN.com’s Adam Rittenburg states that Hawkeyes sophomore running back Jewel Hampton is recovering well from a knee injury he sustained in summer workouts.
Hampton lists himself at 90-95 percent and participated in Iowa’s first preseason practice Friday morning. He also mentioned that Coach Ferentz has hinted that the Hawkeyes likely will use a rotation at running back.
CFG Analysis: We fully expect Jeff Brinson to be in the mix here with Hampton.
News: From ESPN.com’ s Joe Schad…Kansas Jayhawks receiver Dezmon Briscoe was academically eligible to participate Friday when the team opened practice. Jayhawks coach Mark Mangino said his star needed to complete some summer classwork to be eligible for the fall.
CFG Analysis: Good news here. Let’s hope Briscoe can keep his head on straight. If he can, he’s worth a very high draft pick.
News: Coach Bill Snyder calls Daniel Thomas a running back. Thomas, 6'2" and 227 pounds, played quarterback at Northwest Mississippi Community College. He can run and throw well enough to present a threat for the Wildcats as a surprise weapon.
“I’m a running back, but I can play receiver or quarterback,” Thomas said. “They can line me up anywhere and I can be successful.”
CFG Analysis: Daniel Thomas is someone to keep an eye on as he could wind up beating out Keithen Valentine for the starting running back job. And if you remember back in Coach Snyder’s hey-day, the KSU running back has the potential to rack up lots of stats.
News: C.J. Brown of the Courier-Journal reports that 5’9” 183-pound wide receiver Doug Beaumont is beginning to emerge as the main receiving target of the Cardinal pass attack.
CFG Analysis: Beaumont should only be considered in deep leagues as a sleeper pick. The problem is that the Louisville coaches don’t know who’s going to throw him the ball.
News: Coach Tim Brewster reiterated that although prized recruit MarQueis Gray has joined the team, Adam Weber’s job is safe while the Gophers find other ways to incorporate Gray’s athleticism into the offense.
CFG Analysis: The Gophers are blessed to have to solid quarterback options. We really think Gray is going to take the Big Ten by storm when it’s his turn under center.
News: The Dallas Morning News reports that UNT appears likely to lean heavily on running back Cam Montgomery early in the season while its wide receivers settle in.
CFG Analysis: Montgomery is a nice option in the later rounds of an All-120 format.
News: The Dallas Morning News reports that North Texas is not ready to give up on its pursuit of including wide receiver Tyler Stradford in its lineup this season.
NCAA rules dictate that Stradford will have to sit out the upcoming season as a transfer (from Oklahoma), but UNT filed a request for a waiver of the transfer rule based on the New Orleans native’s family circumstances that dictated that he move closer to relatives in the Dallas area. That waiver request was denied.
UNT’s next option is to appeal the NCAA’s decision on the waiver. “We have not given up on Tyler playing this season,” UNT athletic director Rick Villarreal said. “We will appeal the NCAA’s decision.”
CFG Analysis: Stradford has been selected in the late rounds of early drafts. This is a story worth monitoring.
News: Oklahoma tailback DeMarco Murray will miss some drills during the next several days as he recovers from another hamstring injury.
CFG Analysis: This guy just can’t stay healthy. Look for him to slide down our player rankings a bit.
News: OU’s running back depth is such a luxury that Mossis Madu is expected to work solely as a slot receiver during training camp.
CFG Analysis: The Sooners coaching staff really likes what they have seen from freshman Jermie Calhoun, which allows them the flexibility to get Madu onto the field more in the slot. With Murray’s injuries always a concern, the No. 3 running back on the OU depth chart is always someone to keep an eye on.
News: Bill Haisten of the Tulsa World reports that All-American junior Dez Bryant appears to be unaffected by his Holiday Bowl knee injury. Also, redshirt freshman Justin Blackmon seems capable of becoming Zac Robinson’s No. 2 passing-game target.
CFG Analysis: This is what we expected to hear regarding Bryant. His surgery was relatively minor in nature (for a knee injury) and he should be ready to dominate this fall.
News: The Oregonian reports that running back LeGarrette Blount looked considerably slimmer than the 260 pounds with which he rumbled through the spring. Blount, who said he’s at 240, left the practice field early but did not appear injured.
CFG Analysis: This is good news for Blount owners. Gotta love the Blount Weight Watch.
News: Rob Moseley reports that wide receivers Jamere Holland, Jeff Maehl and D.J. Davis are the starters heading into camp. Andre Crenshaw is listed at the No. 2 running back.
CFG Analysis: It’s obviously still very early in the game, but this is interesting nonetheless.
News: Rob Moseley reports that running back LaMichael James and wide receiver Diante Jackson both had some impressive moments at practice on Friday.
CFG Analysis: We expect the speedy James to see the field this year and make an instant impact.
News: Oregon Ducks beat writer Rob Moseley (The Register-Guard) believes the offensive line is the primary question mark heading into fall camp.
CFG Analysis: The offensive line needs to gel if Blount is going to live up to his lofty expectations.
San Diego State
News: According to the official San Diego State team site, coach Brady Hoke spoke up regarding their running back situation, stating, “Ideally, you’d always like to have a lead back….at the end of the day we would like to have a guy who is going to carry it 20-25 times a game and a few others who can provide a different skill set to rest the other guy a bit.”
Offensive coordinator Al Borges chimed in, “We’re going to try to feed the ball to guys like Brandon Sullivan, Atiyyah (Henderson) and those guys to see what they can do...we have to find a guy who is going to be our feature back and just play off of him.”
CFG Analysis: We like the idea that Hoke prefers a feature back approach. It’ll be interesting to see whether Sullivan or Henderson emerges to become that go-to guy.
News: ESPN’s Graham Watson reports that wide receiver DeAndre Brown has been participating in light receiver drills, but will be held out of one-on-ones, seven-on-sevens and full-squad scrimmages for the start of fall camp.
Brown also will continue to wear a protective boot when he is not on the practice field.
“If I could have him back on the field today, I would,” head coach Larry Fedora said.
“And he’s upset because he wants to be out there participating. I still think he’s on track to be ready for the start of the season from everything I’ve been told.”
CFG Analysis: We will be keeping a very close eye on things. It's good to hear Brown is doing light drill work, but it is still difficult to see if he will be ready for the season opener against Alcorn State.
News: The Tulsa World reports that Jamad Williams and Charles Clay will get the first crack at the starting running back spot. Coaches want to get Clay more involved in carrying the ball.
CFG Analysis: Williams has been flying under the radar a bit this offseason. He has been the second leading rusher for TU the past two years and will certainly play a big role in the offense. In fact, he could be the one that prohibits Clay from elite running back status.
News: The three players who received the most interviews on media day were the three quarterbacks vying for the starting job—Jacob Bower, G.J. Kinne and Shavodrick Beaver.
“I’m just going to do the best I can and leave it up to the coaches, leave it up to God and try not to lose any sleep over it,” said Bower, who backed up David Johnson last year.
CFG Analysis: Smart move by Coach Graham to give the media access to all three quarterbacks. Keeps the mystery building. We likely won’t know the winner of this quarterback derby until late in August, if not later.
News: Offensive line coach Bob Connelly stated that this might be the deepest, most experienced group he’s seen at UTEP in the last five years.
CFG Analysis: This is very good news for Vittatoe fantasy owners as it will give Connelly more time to pick apart defenses.
News: Coach Mike Price commented on how strong kicker Logan Barrett has looked thus far in practice.
CFG Analysis: If you’re in a deep league and need another kicker, Barrett could be a nice final draft pick. UTEP figures to be scoring lots of points this fall.
Todd DeVries is the founder of CollegeFootballGeek.com, your premier resource for college fantasy football information.