As we entered fall practice, there were quite a few position battles brewing - actually, I counted ten - and while some have yet to be settled, progress has been made in all of them. As we're now only a week away from kickoff (one week!), all position battles - minus kicker - will probably be solved within the next few days. Here's an overview, to see how they turned out:
Backup QB: Redshirt sophomore Jamarr Robinson entered camp defending his #2 spot from true freshmen C.J. Brown and Danny O'Brien. But the position battle ended after just a couple days of practice, as Robinson proved he's come a long way since the start of spring. O'Brien and Brown fought it out for #3, and O'Brien has a slight lead, but neither should burn their shirts. Winner: Jamarr Robinson.
RB: This wasn't a position battle before camp, but Davin Meggett has challenged All-ACC performer Da'Rel Scott for the top spot. And Gary Douglas has probably surpassed Morgan Green for the #3 spot. Oh, and there's the two high-octane freshmen RBs, D.J. Adams and Caleb Porzel. There's a ridiculous amount of talent here, so the position battle is a good thing. Winners: Meggett has pulled even with Scott, but Scott will still start. Gary Douglas' great camp has moved him past Morgan Green. The freshmen will probably redshirt.
Z WR: At first, there was a huge glut of very similar players fighting for the Z spot, with not a lot of separation. But after Torrey Smith - former starter at X - moved over to the position, the problem was solved. Smith will start at Z, Adrian Cannon will take his spot at X, and Ronnie Tyler will man the slot. Former Z leader Tony Logan was passed by Quintin McCree at the position, while Kevin Dorsey - another contender at the position - moved up to X. Winner: Torrey Smith
TE: One of the few positions without a lot of clarification. There hasn't been much news on where guys stand right now. All of the major contenders - Tommy Galt, Lansford Watson, Matt Furstenburg, and Devonte Campbell - have improved in camp, but none have separated themselves. Winner: Probably Tommy Galt, with Lansford a close second
LG: Originally given to Lamar Young, the position delved into battle after a very strong showing from former walk-on Andrew Gonnella. Gonnella and Young have been tied for most of camp, but after Young's been less than 100% due to a shoulder injury, Gonnella probably wrapped the position up. Winner: Gonnella.
RT: RT has been one of the fiercer battles in camp, but it's probably done now. R.J. Dill and Tyler Bowen appeared to be the frontrunners at the start of camp, but another former walk-on - Paul Pinegar - outlasted both and seems to have locked the spot up. Bowen might've been a contender, but has been injured for most of camp, and Dill is a close second to Pinegar right now. Winner: Pinegar.
DE: I still don't know what happened here. It's confusing, to say the least. It started out with Derek Drummond, DeOnte Arnett, and Masengo Kabongo fighting for playing time. Then former anchor Jared Harrell and Masengo Kabongo switched spots; Harrell is now tied with (probably leading, actually) Drummond, while Kabongo is neck and neck with Deege Galt at anchor. Then there's the possibility to Tony Tucker, whose addition would mess up the whole equation even more. Winners: Probably Harrell and Kabongo, but only because I haven't heard much of Deege Galt.
Nickel CB: Corner was, initially, a bit of a crapshoot. But after a couple weeks, it's been pretty well narrowed down to just two contenders: Cam Chism and Trenton Hughes (Richard Taylor, Brandon Jackson-Mills, and Michael Carter are fighting for the fifth corner spot). While I don't know exactly which one is leading, and I haven't really heard much about either lately, I wouldn't feel uncomfortable wagering on Chism. Winner: Don't really know, but I'd be surprised if it wasn't Chism.
S: One of the good position battles, safety is an issue because there's too much talent. Jamari McCollough might've been the defensive MVP last year. Kenny Tate might be the most exciting, naturally gifted player on the defense, if not on the team. Antwine Perez is a former five star, and just as talented as Tate. Terrell Skinner was great last year, and is a huge playmaker. So, how do you solve this? Play them all. Winner: Maryland - you can expect a lot of three or even four safety sets.
Punt Returner: Really, it's been more of Tony Logan vs. himself than Tony Logan vs. anyone else, because there is no other legitimate contender at the moment. While I'd like to see Caleb Porzel back there, there's the issue with burning his redshirt. As it stands, unless Logan does really poorly - and there's no indication that he will - the spot is his. Winner: Logan.
Kicker: Your guess is as good as mine. Mike Barbour and Nick Ferrara are completely tied right now - you can't even really argue for one being ahead of the other. My gut is telling me Ferrara, but I have no idea what the coaches think. Winner: ?