Five things observed in Nile C. Kinnick football camp
Another in a series of looks at football camps around the Pacific.
Five things learned during Tuesday’s visit to Nile C. Kinnick football camp:
-- Last year’s Pacific rushing leader Dre Paylor (2002 yards, 250 carries, second ever in Pacific history to reach 2000 yards) was ticketed to return stateside and play his junior season in Houston. Kyle O’Brien was to follow, and play in Corpus Christi. But they’re back in Red Devil country, and Paylor in particular has grown. Muscle mass and height. He’ll be something to see.
-- And he’ll have some very heavy, athletic escorts to lead him to paydirt (or in Berkey Field’s case, payturf). From tackle to tackle, Kinnick’s offensive line very much resembles the ones Yokota fielded in its 2011 and 2012 Far East Division I title seasons, about 240 pounds across. The Red Devils won their first title of any sort last year since 1997, and their first DODDS Japan title, but didn’t qualify for the D-I title game.
-- The biggest camp battle looms under center, for coach Dan Joley must make do without his starting quarterback the last three seasons, Dustin Wilson. He’d become like a coach/offensive coordinator on the field and Joley had complete, total faith in Wilson to run the offense. Now, O’Brien, George Calbert, Joshua Thompson and Greg Bacon – each of whom have played the position – will vie for the spot.
-- But while each of the four are qualified for the position, Joley says the four are more valuable at other positions. Still, in case of an injury, there’s no shortage of backups who each understand the offense; just that none possess Wilson’s total feel for the offense.
-- Aside from that issue, Joley says for the first time in his five seasons that there are no significant needs on the roster. It features great balance at all positions and could signal the Red Devils are ready to take the next step.