January 3, 2008

Offense-Defense: Thursday Rewind

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla - Rivals.com looks at the top five news items from the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl in San Antonio in the Daily Rewind. Each day Rivals.com will breakdown the biggest news, player injuries and updated recruiting news in a compact and easy to digest format. The game will be played Friday night at 7 p.m.

1. Most starting positions get locked up for the East

Most of the positions on both sides of the ball for the East are getting locked up and the East Notebook has that covered. However, there are at least a few positions that'll see players battle for playing time tomorrow night. These include quarterback with D.C. Jefferson likely being the starter, although Justin Tuggle should see significant time as a change of pace quarterback due to his mobility. The other position still unclear is the tight end spot where FSU pledge Jabaris Little has the edge with his athleticism, but will likely be spelled frequently by Travis Dungee, a bigger body.

2. Most starting positions get locked up for the West

Just like in the East, many positions are getting solidified. There are however a few battles up in the air starting with linebacker where Kyle Mangan and Reuben Willis will go down to the wire. Mangan got beat a bit on Thursday. Meanwhile, right guard has Kermit Tyler and Andrew Sampson pushing for the spot. Two other spots to watch are safety and tight end. At safety, Keon Furtch and Victor Johnson appear to be the starters, but are still in a battle with Michael Dhooge and Corbin Brown. Finally, the tight end spot is heating up as Matt Branch and Steven Figueroa had impressive days. Both will likely see significant time. The West even used a double tight end formation at times.

3. Armstead slows down

Yesterday we spoke very highly of West defensive tackle Armond Armstead who dominated the West offensive line. Today was a different story as he was kept in check, sometimes getting contained by an individual lineman, but more often getting stopped by the double-team or chip. Armstead still held his own, but struggled to get a real push.

4. The East line dominates

The East defensive line continues to impress with talent off the edges including Earl Okine, Keith Wells and Glenn Harbin with their outstanding speed and explosion to get around the offensive line. In addition, the defensive tackles played very well with Micanor Regis and Corey Luiget. Regis in particular showed good quickness and penetration today. They are going to be a steep task for the West tomorrow.

5. Matt Brown impresses

Defensive back Matt Brown came into the O-D Bowl as an unknown to Rivals. The undersized 5-foot-5, 160-pounder has made a name for himself this week and caught the eye of the East coaching staff. Brown has a very good chance of starting tomorrow night as he saw significant time today in the walkthrough. Due to his height, Brown has given up a few throws, but he has also kept up with some of the very tall receivers on the East like DeJuan Miller and Melvin Ray. He has also shown an impressive ability on special teams and earned the starting job there.

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