Matt Rhule’s response to Baylor’s 0-2 start (and a few injuries we’ve had along the way) has been swift and decisive; this week against Duke, the Bears will start 9 new players including a new QB, LG, C, DE, DT, rush end, free safety, strong safety, corner, and defensive end. Here’s the depth chart as presented this morning:
To put this into perspective, you only start 22 players at a given time (obviously), and from the Liberty game to now, we’ve turned over 10 of them due either to injury or (I presume) ineffectiveness. And that number doesn’t even include switches made between weeks 1 and 2 (like Xavier Jones to Greg Robert at DE) that have now been undone. Suffice to say our staff is working hard to figure things out, and the most we can do is hope that they did.
Looking at the specific changes themselves, this week will have the following players in starting roles that were not there against UTSA:
- QB Zach Smith — Anu Solomon is actually out for Saturday’s game due to the concussion protocol, meaning true freshman Charlie Brewer will be the backup.
- LG Ishmael Wilson — Wilson has already seen significant time at LG in the first two games, but this will be his first start. Wilson at LG means we get ...
- C Sam Tecklenburg — Again, we’ve already seen a lot of Tecklenburg at center, but this will be his first true start. With these two changes, the OL is now back where people probably expected it to be coming into this season.
- DE Xavier Jones — Jones was listed as an OR with Greg Roberts in the first game; now he’s all by himself (with Roberts as his backup).
- DT Micheal Johnson — I was pretty impressed with Johnson in last week’s game, where he was the starter in everything but name due to KJ Smith’s absence.
- RUSH Deonte Williams — So this one came somewhat of nowhere given the Brian Nance hype coming into the season. Now it’s Williams.
- FS Davion Hall — Hall played in his first game last week; he’ll start his first game this week. Jairon McVea started the first two games, I believe.
- SS Henry Black — Ditto for Black (except at SS, obviously). Chris Miller had this spot previously.
- CB Blake Lynch — Jameson Houston came back last week and earned the start, but now Lynch has usurped him, I guess?
So yeah, that’s a lot of changes, including the biggest one at QB. The fact that Solomon won’t even play this week due to a concussion could be something to watch if it means we have to burn Charlie Brewer’s redshirt in relief of Zach. I have no idea what to expect if that happens, and Brewer actually plays well as a true freshman.