Injuries in the Spring are a double-edged sword to begin with and Mike Leach’s policy on reporting injuries to the outer world makes it a little frustrating as a fan to not know where everybody stands (no pun intended) on the depth chart. If you don’t remember the policy (and I know you do so sorry about the formality of this statement) it’s that reporting injuries won’t happen. Even more important to Leach is the perceived notion that everybody is in some way or other doing “exactly what we want them to”, from the sidelines, crutches, ice pack or otherwise. It’s a little humorous but mostly just frustrating.
I guess regardless of what a guy has, however, it’s important to understand that Leach or anybody involved in the program explaining or talking about the injury won’t change the length of the healing process. Pointing out that a guy will be back in two weeks and not having him come back for four can have a negative impact, so the literal pronunciation of what is “not” said goes something like this; “He’ll be back when he gets back and when he’s ready you’ll see him.” Well OK then, I can’t argue with that.
Talking specifically on this Springs’ injuries, the question is whether the numerous injuries suffered by the team right now is a positive or negative for the squad. Guys like Deone Buccanon and Justin Sagote missing time probably isn’t as impactful for them, but it gives guys like Tana Pritchard and Taylor Taliulu a real chance at getting a lot of reps for backup duty if the game strikes one of them in such a way that they would have to miss time this Fall. That’s valuable to no end with the youth of the football team, even though you don’t want to see those guys hurt, ever.
Meanwhile, guys like Demante Horton and Nolan Washington need all the reps they can get for their future opportunity to “buy” some playing time. They were running with the 1’s yesterday before they had to leave, but it’s looking like Rahmel Dockery and Anthony Carpenter might be the front-runners anyway, so the additional time on the field actually gives them a chance to bag more reps for themselves to eventually take with them when they try and lock up the positions during Fall camp.
But that’s not even the beginning. There are a several others, here’s the basic rundown:
- Chester Su’a (linebacker)
- Ioane Guata (nose tackle)
- Isiah Myers (receiver)
- Tone Poli (nose tackle)
- Logan Mayes (buck/d-end)
- Jake Rodgers (o-line)
- Feddie Davey (safety)
- Robert Barber (d-line)
- Destiny Vaeao (d-line)
- Ryan Saparto (long snapper)
The current hypothesis is that no matter how much youth is getting to see the field, that’s a huge chunk of playing time that’s missing reps. In all that’s 7 or 8 guys that have a chance to start that are missing relatively major amounts of time this Spring, so there’s no way to spin it completely positive for the Cougars so far. It is good for the younger guys trying to earn their stripes, but bad overall for a team that is nowhere near ready to compete without these guys. Certainly missing time does nothing for those positions as far as strengthening them for next season at this point.
It should be noted that the offensive line has stayed extremely healthy to this point and is looking in good shape to take a large stride forward in 2013. There are even a couple intense position battles going on this season, which was far from the case last year at this time. At least that’s a little good in this barrage of bad.