Aug 19, 2013
BEAUMONT - After an impressive scrimmage and spending much of camp with the first team, Caleb Berry officially grabbed the top quarterback spot in the first depth chart of the season, as announced by head coach Ray Woodard on Monday.
Berry, who split time at the position with Ryan Mossakowski last season, was 19-of-24 passing this past Saturday with 210 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Mossakowski, who tossed 13 TDs a year ago, is in line to be the back-up.
"Caleb started off at the top and never really gave it up," Woodard said. "He's made a lot of progress, dating back to the spring and up to the fall drills. He's just done a little better job than the others here, but it's still very close. We have a lot of very talented quarterbacks."
Another big battle on offense has been at the receiving spots, with Jordan Edwards and Mike Handy grabbing the top lines on the outside and Reggie Begelton taking over the slot position. Due to the nature of the offense, back-ups Mark Roberts, Kevin Johnson and Gratian Gladney are all expected to contribute along with Barry Ford, who did not appear on the two-deep. Payden McVey is back as the top tight end, and former quarterback Dillon Barrett is set as his back-up.
"You're going to see all those receivers out there plus a couple more," Woodard said. "We're very deep at that position, and that's a good problem to have."
Defensively, there are a lot of familiar names on the chart for the defense as nine of the projected 11 starters are seniors. Jesse Dickson and Mark Murrill look to start on either side of the line with Joe Okafor in between, and the foursome of Jermaine Longino, Jestin White, James Washington and Will Jones will look to hold on to the tops spots at linebacker.
The secondary, a group that was part of the best past defense in the Southland Conference a year ago, features Branden Thomas and Tyrus McGlothen at the corner spots and the duo of Nashon Davis and Chad Allen at strong safety and free safety, respectively.
Despite having a depth chart set, Woodard stressed that there's more work to be done.
"This is just a starting point, and this would be the line-up if we played a game tonight," the fourth-year head coach explained. "There's still going to be some competitions for jobs going on, and I stressed that with the players beforehand. We had an idea of what it would look like this year with so many returning players, but there has been some changes the last two weeks due to performances in practice and scrimmage. We have 95 guys here looking for spots on the field, and I fully expect them to keep pressing as we get closer to the season."