Kind of odd that there’s no press conference video of head coach Matt Wells’ meeting with the press. Normally, this sort of thing is pretty much released the same day. Luckily for you, there’s ASAP Sports, where it’s all been neatly transcribed.
Wells opened the press conference talking about Montana State and what they do, which is essentially that they are going to be a bit unpredictable with a new quarterback and not really sure what they’ll do on offense. I don’t know how much was really there in terms of learning anything new about where things currently sit other than Wells affirming that Terrence Steele is a game-time decision and also discussing what Tyrique Matthews did to earn a starting linebacker spot as well as Erik Ezukanma at wide receiver.
Q. What did Tyrique show you in practice to slot him number one?
MATT WELLS: Tyrique, first of all is a maybe a little bit beyond his years mature for a freshman. Smart, picked up our schemes well. Very durable, training camp available, I think that’s your best availability is sometimes is your durability. He was there every day, he made plays and he’s matured enough to handle it. So he’s going to be right there in the mix.
Q. Seems like every receiver has, nothing has been totally set except for Eric as a starter. What have you seen from him in the off-season that you were so confident in him?
MATT WELLS: Eric is another one that’s available every single day at practice and I respect that. He’s very durable, he’s taken more live snaps than anyone at receiver in spring as well as training camp. So the amount of reps that he’s taken is a lot. Made play after play in the spring, was an improved receiver throughout all three scrimmages, finishing up there in Frisco for the spring game. And then he’s kind of done that, he’s kind of picked up right where he left off, literally practice one was practice 16 for Eric. Again, another young guy, although he played in a few games last year, a red shirt freshman that is mature, practices mature, makes good decisions, the kind of the young man that he is, Eric is going to have a bright future here at Tech and I’m excited to watch in the next four years with that kid in this offense.
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As you all have already noted, Erik Ezukanma is starting over RJ Turner, who had a good camp himself. I get the feeling that Ezukanma has come to work since the spring and he’s popped ever since. I think he’s going to be just great. And Caden Leggett is an “or” with Turner and I’d expect the coaches to go 3-deep on Saturday, especially at receiver.
Speaking of receiver, at the other outside spot, T.J. Vasher and KeSean Carter are listed as co-starters and I’m not surprised by that necessarily, they’re both so different in what they bring to the field and I’ll be interested to see how that works, especially for opposing defenses that may attempt to match-up with Vasher and then have to adjust to Carter.
At the inside spot, all three inside receivers, Dalton Rigdon, McLane Mannis, and Xavier White, all are listed as an “or”. I wouldn’t be surprised if all three players received significant playing time.
Biggest roster surprises are here, led by Tyrique Matthews getting the starting nod at the “Raider” linebacker spot along with Riko Jeffers. So leading up to the depth chart release, I was under the presumption that Xavier Benson was leading the way at the Raider spot with Matthews as the back-up. I had personally thought that Jeffers is probably the most talented stand-up pass rusher on the team, he’s a freak, and I’d maybe guess that the coaches tried out Benson and maybe just wasn’t getting enough of a push? I’m not sure, I’d love to know what led to that change.
And I think that linebacker is a position that’s very top heavy, Jeffers and Brooks we know can play, but don’t know about some of the other guys. We’re about to find out.
At the Spur linebacker/safety spot, Cal transfer Evan Rambo gets the starting nod with Adam Beck as the back-up. I have no idea what to expect from Beck, but I’m glad he’s in the rotation. Fellow transfer Zech McPhearson also gets the starting nod at cornerback and Wells has mentioned that he’s happy with five cornerbacks, that’s probably Desmon Smith, DaMarcus Fields, McPhearson, John Davis, Jr., and Adrian Frye, who is listed as a starter at safety. And Ja’Marcus Ingram, the brand-spanking new transfer (like from last week) from Utah State is listed as second-team behind Frye.
Wells said that they’ll let the special teams play out the rest of this week, which I’m fine with. We do get an idea who will be at returner. At kick returner it will be between KeSean Carter, Douglas Coleman, and Dadrion Taylor. At punt returner is Adrian Frye, Zech McPhearson, and Chux Nwabuko.