Spring Report Card: Defensive Ends
With returning starters Gaines Adams and Charles Bennett, the only question at defensive end was who would play behind them. Defensive coordinator Vic Koenning moved two redshirt freshmen over to defensive end. Rashaad Jackson moved out from defensive tackle, and Courtney Vincent moved down from linebacker.
Rashaad Jackson looks like a natural fit at end under Koenning. Jackson can eat up blocks and free up linebackers coming on the blitz. Last season, Jackson suffered a broken foot in fall camp, or else he likely would have avoided the redshirt. This move will likely be a permanent move considering the current depth at defensive tackle, plus Jackson played well at end.
Vincent made the move over rather nicely. He looked more comfortable playing with a hand down than I originally thought he would. He definitely has the ability to play in space. Despite the fact Vincent played well, this is still a move that I am not convinced will last. With Xavier Littleberry and Phillip Merling being factors in the fall, Vincent could answer the call to provide depth at linebacker.
Charles Bennett and Gaines Adams gave you everything you would expect from returning starters. Adams really adjusted well to playing bandit. In the O&W game, Adams really teed off on Barry Richardson the entire game. More than likely, it was a message being sent from the staff to Richardson, nevertheless Richardson's only chance was the few times the referees allowed him to hold Adams.
Bennett is Mr. Consistency. He continues to go out and play hard every single play. This could be a very special year for Bennett. He always works extremely hard, and he could have his best season yet. There was nothing negative to say about his play this spring. During the summer, as a senior it is his responsibility to become a leader and make others follow him.
This is still a position where depth is a concern. Kwam Williams, Brandon Cannon, and Elsmore Gabriel did not look ready to play. If everyone stays healthy, defensive end may be one of the biggest strengths on this team, but one injury could really put this unit in a bind.