Got Help? Non-BCS teams that found depth this spring
Spring football isn't just about finding new starters, it's also about finding depth. Several teams among the Independents and Others found a lot of depth some coaches didn't even know existed. My blogging counterparts released their teams that received the most help last week, but since I was recovering from surgery, I didn't get to post it. However, I didn't want to leave several deserving teams out of the loop. Below is a list of a couple teams that found much needed depth this spring.
Running game: The Nevada running game ranked third behind the efforts of Vai Taua and Colin Kaepernick and the reserve running of Courtney Randall, but add Luke Lippincott, who was approved for a sixth year and the Nevada running game could be the best in the country.
Wide receiver: After losing the top three receivers from a year ago, the Utes gained some confidence this spring with the emergence of Aiona Key, David Reed and Jereme Brooks. The Utes also should get help from freshman Luke Matthews and DeVonte Christopher, who was a quarterback.
Running back: With Damion Fletcher sitting out because of a suspension, coach Larry Fedora realized his running back depth with the strong play of players such as V.J. Floyd, Tory Harrison and redshirt freshman Desmond Johnson. Fletcher might still be the starter, but those guys will see time.
Offensive line: Last season, the Broncos played 11 different offensive line combinations and a dozen different players. While it was a big problem last year, it made for quite a bit of depth this year, anchored by center Thomas Byrd.
Wide receiver: The Knights didn't have much of a passing game last year, but that should change this season with more experience at quarterback and the return of A.J. Guyton and Rocky Ross from injury. They'll complement Brian Watters, who led the team in receiving yards last season.
Wide receivers: UNLV returns three of its top four receivers, including Ryan Wolfe, who caught passes for more than 1,000 yards last season. But coach Mike Sanford is also hoping for production out of Michael Johnson and incoming freshmen Marcus Sullivan and Mark Barefield.
Wide receiver: Aaron Bain and Malcolm Lane are the team's top returning receivers, but the team found multiple weapons this spring, including Jovonte Taylor, who missed last season with injury. The Warriors also got spring production out of Dustin Blount, Rodney Bradley, Greg Salas, Jon Medeiros, and Ryan Henry.
Tight end: Replacing James Casey is a tall order considering he was the most versatile player in the Rice lineup. But Taylor Wardlow had a great spring and freshman Vance McDonald, who signed with the 2008 class but missed the season with shoulder surgery, should be a great duo to replace him.
Running back: The Pirates had a running back by committee last season, but with Dominique Lindsay, who missed last season with a knee injury, back in the mix and Brandon Jackson emerging, the Pirates have nice depth regardless of whether Jonathan Williams and Norman Whitley, who both missed spring football after being suspended, are allowed back.
Wide receiver: Austin Collie is gone, but the return of McKay Jacobson from his two-year mission should make up for that. Dennis Pitta will be the premier target in the fall, but players such as O'Neill Chambers and Luke Ashworth came into their own this spring. Tight end Andrew George also should make a strong contribution.