Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Caldwell's Conundrum: To Star(t) or Not to Star(t)

OK, so Warren Norman's knee is on everybody's mind this week. He's practiced in shorts and shoulder pads the past couple days, but there is no doubt in my mind that on Saturday the carries will be split among the backs, including Wesley Tate (also coming off injury but apparently ready to go), Zac Stacy (coming off the MCL tear), and maybe Kennard Reeves. My money is on Stacy seeing at least a plurality of the snaps on Saturday. Nor-War has to be given a lot of credit for his toughness given some initial predictions that he might miss half the season or so.

The running game is an important concern against Northwestern, no doubt. But to me a potentially more interesting question is whether CRC decides to start Sean Richardson. Richardson is a punishing safety whose experience and center-field leadership could go a long way to stifling a Wildcat offense that returns 8 starters (admittedly not including the QB that made the whole thing go) from a squad that put up the #13 passing offense in the country and posted 621 yards in the Outback Bowl. Richardson has returned to practice, but at this point he's playing with a broken toe. It's still not entirely clear whether he'll play Saturday.

So the question is this: How important is Saturday? Important enough to start Sean Richardson even if he's not 100%? To call upon one of the two returning starters (along with Casey Heyward) from a secondary that -- for reasons some will dispute -- was the the nation's #9 ranked pass defense in 2009? Against a Northwestern team that many think will provide a litmus test for how the Commodores' season will go? When CB Jamie Graham is probable but likely not 100% coming off a groin injury? You tell me.

1 comment:

Chuck Heston said...

Warren may see limited game time on Saturday. IMO, it would be worthwhile just to put him in the backfield as a decoy for a couple of plays.

Make no mistake, as this Saturday's game goes, so goes the season. In all likelihood, a win would be followed by 2 losses against LSU and @ Ole Miss. Then the bye. Then at least the possbility of 2 more wins vs. Uconn and EMU. We're not beating UGA, so that's another loss. So we'd be 3-3. Then a home game against USC becomes the next bellweather. I think a win at home is entirely possible. In all likelihood losing @ Fayetteville and obviously in the Swamp. As always a win against UK is the key to the season. If that happens, we'd be 5-5 going into the final 2 home games. We split them, beating Wake; and end up in Memphis for the Liberty Bowl.