Depth Chart Engineering 101

With recruiting winding down, the number of posts on the message board complaining about missing out on the likes of Martez Wilson, Ben Martin, Lorenzo Edwards, and Justin Trattou will start to dwindle. The number of positions proposing position changes, however, will sky rocket.

To get a jump start on that, here’s a look at a lot of the proposed position changes you will see posted on the board over the next few months.

Luke Schmidt to LB
Schmidt has the size for linebacker (6’3’, 230), but I think Weis will want to keep him on the offensive side of the ball. Schmidt’s got all the tools to be a very dangerous weapon at fullback/h-back. Notre Dame hasn’t had a fullback that you could consider a weapon since Marc Edwards. Schmidt has the potential to be that kind of fullback.

asaph-schwapp.jpgAsaph Schwapp to LB
Speaking of fullbacks, there’s been some clamoring for Schwapp to get a look at defense this spring as well. Schwapp is a big kid (6’0”, 250) and would be a massive inside linebacker. He might be too short to play an outside linebacker/pass rusher position Schwapp is going to be coming off a serious injury that cost him 10 games in 2006. Because the injury happened in the 2nd game of the season, though, Schwapp will still have three years of eligibility left. The thought if Schwapp lining up as an inside linebacker is certainly intriguing since he has the strength to be able to take on guards.

Chris Stewart to NT
Because of his massive size, he has become an obvious choice to be DCE’ed to nose tackle this off-season. While being huge is one of the characteristics to being a nose tackle in a 3-4, Stewart might be a little too tall. Interrior offensive linemen may be able to get under him at 6’5”. Still, Stewart could definitely take up some space at nose tackle and if he can keep adding strength this off-season, this is one position switch I would not be surprised seeing happen.

Greg Little to LB
Little hasn’t even signed a letter of intent yet, but he is already being DCE’ed all over the field because of his freakish athletic ability. Little is one of the most physically gifted athletes Notre Dame has gotten over the last several years and brings a lot of versatility. That said, I hope he doesn’t end up anywhere but wide receiver. I’m sure he would be a fine linebacker, but I think he could really flourish in this offense.

Demetrius Jones to WR
Everyone who is penciling Jimmy Clausen in as the starter is already penciling Jones in as a wide receiver. You’ll hear plenty of Arnaz Battle and Carlyle Holiday success stories as proof this move will work, but I’d really like to see what he’s got a quarterback. Having an elusive quarterback is a very dangerous weapon in an offense and you have to think that Weis would find ways to utilize his abilities very well.

Eric Olsen to DT
Olsen was one of the most impressive freshmen offensive linemen last year and cracked the two deep. With both starting guards graduating, Olsen will have a chance to start on offense, so this move just doesn’t make much sense to me. He’s got the kind of mean streak in him that the offensive line has been missing at Notre Dame over the last few years and I think his talents will best be suited on offense.

Chris Little to DT
Little is one of three incoming freshman offensive linemen whose name has popped up as a possible defensive lineman. Like Stewart, Little takes up a lot of space so people are obviously going to suggest that Little move to NT. Little’s current size might be more of a result of him not being in great playing shape due to some injuries. Little did have 40 tackles (20 for loss, and 4 sacks on defense during his senior year. Little’s height, however, could be a drawback as a nose tackle.

Emeka Nwankwo to DT
Nwankwo has recently said he’ll get a look at defense, but no matter where he ends up he will need to add some strength. Nwankwo is more suited as the second tackle on the outside in a 3-4, but doesn’t have ideal speed for the position. Still Nwankwo, has the size and desire to play defense and attitude is a big part of playing on the defensive line.

Andrew Nuss to DT
Nuss is another offensive line prospect who has said he’d like to play defense. Nuss wants to play on the defensive side of the ball and has the size to do it. Like Nwankwo, Nuss would probably be an outside defensive tackle because he doesn’t really have the size to be a nose tackle in a 3-4.

I think that about covers it for now. If you think of any others feel free to add them in the comments below and update this post with the better or more entertaining ones.

[tags]Notre Dame Football, Asaph Schwapp, Chris Little, Greg Little, Andrew Nuss, Emeka Nwankwo, Eric Olsen, Demetrius Jones, Luke Schmidt[/tags]

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  1. As long as we are DCEing, we might as well have some DCE “certified” speeds, to put down on our depth charts…..You know, just for fun.

    So here is what I think is a “fairly” accurate “Top 40” forties, for our 2007 football team:

    T. Lambert (1) 4.30
    A. Allen (2) 4.31
    A. Wooden (3) 4.38
    M. Prince (4) 4.40
    D.J. Hord (5) 4.41*
    G. Tate (6) 4.42
    R. McNeil (7) 4.43
    D. Walls (8) 4.44
    H. Smith (9) 4.45
    G. Gray (10) 4.47
    B. Gallup (11) 4.49
    T. Zbikowski (t12) 4.50**
    J. Aldridge (t12) 4.50
    D. Bruton (14) 4.51
    S. Brown (15) 4.52
    D. Grimes (t16) 4.53
    T. Thomas (t16) 4.53
    G. Little (t18) 4.54
    R. Jackson (t18) 4.54
    G. West (t20) 4.55
    R. Parris (t20) 4.55
    L. Gordon (t22) 4.56
    R. Herring (t22) 4.56
    L. Ferrine (t24) 4.57
    K. McCarthy (t24) 4.57
    M. Ragone (26) 4.58
    A. Nagel (t27) 4.59
    D. Bragg (t27) 4.59
    R. Hughes (t29) 4.60
    J. Jabbie (t29) 4.60
    D. Kamara (t29) 4.60
    D. Jones (t29) 4.60
    M. Richardson (t29) 4.60
    J. Gaines (t34) 4.61
    S. Paskorz (t34) 4.61
    K. Wade (t36) 4.62
    M. Crum (t36) 4.62
    T. Smith (t38) 4.63
    A. Vernaglia (t38) 4.63
    K. Washington (40) 4.64

    *estimated speed prior to Achilles Tendon rupture
    **estimated speed at current/2006 playing weight

  2. I 2nd Ron’s idea: Zibby at LB. He is big and physical, and we know he won’t hesitate from putting on a big hit. It may have been blown coverages this past year (heck, the last few years), but the FS and SS always seemed to allow the WR behind them (rule #1 for safeties). Zibby, in my opinion, doesn’t have what it takes to be a safety in the pros.

  3. I like the idea of ND switching to the 3-4. Actually, I like the idea of the defense playing any kind of scheme that works after that bowl debacle against LSU.

    I think that Schwapp and Zbikowski would both be great fits at MLB and WLB, respectively. Tommy would need to add maybe 10lbs, tops. Imagine the kind of terror that he would bring as a solid hitter, pass rusher and in coverage at that position. He has the speed and tenacity to make a great linebacker. Schwapp might be a little bit more of a stretch at MLB. From what I’ve seen of him in games, he’s a battering ram who isn’t at all afraid of contact and his squat build is very Sam Mills-ish. But, he does appear to have short arms, which would make it hard for him to shed blockers.
    I also wholeheartedly agree with the idea to move Lambert to Safety, which Zibby’s move to LB would make very easy.

  4. Transcript from Brown’s intro: I don’t claim to know what was said to Trattou behind closed doors though.

    Q. Corwin, over here, maybe this is getting too much into game planning, is there a style you feel more comfortable with being a 4-3 or a 3-4, or is that going to be dictated by the spring?

    CORWIN BROWN: I have a background in both, both the 3-4 and the 4-3, and what we’ll do is look at our personnel. When we get into the game plan, we will see what’s the best way for us to be successful as a defense and as a team and we’re going to go from there

  5. I understood the 3-4 was chosen & then a reason that Trattou decided to visit & eventually commit to Florida. That being said, I think Schwapp would be better suited on the Defensive side of the ball. I agree w/ Frank in that Schmidt has been billed as a Mark Edwards-type FB which we haven’t had in awhile.

  6. Frank, I don’t recall hearing Brown say that the Def was converting to a 3-4 and yet there is a lot of speculation. If he is a Belichek disciple, he’ll play what fits his roster (with a better supply of DL than LBs) it only makes since the 3-4 will be used sparingly. What say you on this?

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